Updated: April 2015
Everything You Always Wanted to Know
In order to enjoy your rights as a new immigrant when purchasing a vehicle, you must apply to the local Femi Premium or Teldor branch for an Israeli Drivers' License. Application may be made within three years of aliyah, one is permitted to drive in Israel with their foreign or international driver's license for one full (1) year following their date of entry into Israel after obtaining Oleh status. (See AACI Information sheet - “Driving in Israel”)
Please note that if you take your driving lesson and test in an automatic vehicle, you will be issued a license limiting you to drive only automatic vehicles. However, if you take the lesson and test using a stick shift vehicle, it will be valid for both types. Driving lessons cost approximately NIS 100.00 per lesson using a standard transmission (stick) vehicle, and NIS 120.00 using an automatic vehicle. The driving test fee is NIS 400.00 which includes the practical examination (road test) and use of the car from the driving school. Please note prices are subject to change.
Once you have received your license and are ready to purchase a car, this is the procedure:
FOR A NEW CAR:
- Contact the car dealer and describe exactly what you want. Be sure to specify what extras you want and make certain they are written into the sale agreement.
- Usually, you must pay the full purchase price in advance (including the additions you requested) plus a fee for taking the car out of the port and registering it with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Be sure that each sum is specified as there are set fees for some of these services and if you are overcharged you will be entitled to your money back.
- Be sure to ask how long you will have to wait to receive your car. If the dealer gives you some idea (one week, one month, etc.) you will be able to keep calling him to ask when it will arrive (but be prepared for it to take longer than expected).
- You will need to give the car dealer the following documents: Teudat Oleh, identity card (Teudat Zehut), passport, and a letter obtainable upon request when you apply for the driver's license, indicating that you received your Israeli Driver's license based on your foreign license. However, if you buy your car within the first year of aliyah, you do not have to have an Israeli driver’s license, only a valid foreign license from the last place you lived. Then you must acquire an Israeli license within that same first year and show it to Customs as soon as you do.
- When the vehicle has been cleared by the Tax Authorities at the port and has been registered, the dealer will contact you.
The car dealer will give you the Chassis No. (Mispar Shilda) and the license plate number (Mispar Rishum) of the vehicle. In order to pick up the car, you must bring a compulsory insurance certificate (Teudat Bituach Hova), which is issued by an insurance agent and paid for at the bank or post office. You must supply the insurance agent with the following information:
- Chassis number, plate number, manufacturer of car and model,
- Year of manufacture and engine size (cc).
You are required by law to carry compulsory insurance - bituach hova - (which protects against body injury) and your insurance agent will explain the various optional coverages, i.e., full comprehensive, fire and theft or third party only. You should also carry with you your Teudat Zehut, driver's license and car registration papers.
Olim – Who is permitted to drive your car?
A car purchased utilizing Oleh rights can only be driven by the oleh and spouse or live-in partner listed on the license for a period of four years following the purchase. Children of the oleh living in the same residence who have a valid Israeli license may also drive the car after receiving official permission from Customs. After this time the Customs Authority must be approached for permission to remove the clause on the vehicle license.
It is frequently the case that Olim are visited by parents and for convenience sake would like them to be able to drive whilst in Israel. The Customs Authority has the discretion to allow a parent who is not an Israeli citizen to be included on the license, for a period of up to 30 days per year. Please note that Customs also has the right to refuse such a request.
The following documents should be presented to the closest Customs Office:
Documents belonging to the Oleh:
- Letter of request from the oleh to whom the car is registered stating the reason they want their tourist parent to drive and the requested dates.
- Full details of the car owner, including address, phone numbers, Teudat Oleh and Teudat Zehut
Documents of the tourist parent:
- Driving License of the visitor
- Passport of the visitor
- Airline ticket
Either the oleh or the tourist must go to Customs with all of the documents (of both people).
The decision should be made immediately. In addition to the Customs Authority, it is suggested that you speak with your insurance agent in order to ensure the cover is extended appropriately.
SALE OF A CAR
When you sell the car, you and the prospective buyer together must take the transfer of ownership form (ha’averat ba'alut), which is attached to the car license to your local post office or bank. There, you must both sign the form and pay a small sum and have the form stamped. Do not hand over the transfer of ownership form without making sure it has been paid. Often, the buyer will avoid or forget about transferring ownership and you will find yourself getting parking tickets and other traffic violations long after you have sold the vehicle.
Do not accept a personal check in payment for the car. Suggest instead that they give you cash or a bank check, which can be cashed at the same time you transfer the car ownership.
SALE OF A CAR PURCHASED WITH OLIM RIGHTS
You may sell a vehicle purchased with Olim rights without paying outstanding taxes only after 4 years have elapsed from date of purchase, provided that the owner has been in Israel for the full four year period. Any vacations taken abroad during the time may or may not be added to the 4 years; this decision is made at the discretion of the Customs Authority.
When you are ready to sell the car you must fax the regional Customs Authority (see below*) a copy of your identity card (teudat zehut), car registration and your phone number and they will inform the Bureau of Motor Vehicles directly or send you a letter canceling the restriction. There is no longer a need to go to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
*Jerusalem 02 654-5616
Rishon LeZion 03 942-1716
Haifa: 04 862-8469
"PASSPORT TO PASSPORT"
There are two things to remember when purchasing a car from another new immigrant, i.e. passport to passport - Oleh to Oleh.
- The seller must open a file at Customs and be given permission by them to sell his car passport to passport, and the buyer should verify that this has been done before committing himself to purchase.
- When the vehicle is transferred by the Customs from seller's passport to buyer's passport, the same 4 year restriction begins again for the new owner.
When purchasing a used car, you will be required to pay the full Israeli market price. It is important to first check one of the local price books to get a general idea of the price and then have the car checked by a special checking station. For a reasonable fee they will check the car thoroughly and will advise if any repairs are necessary. You are then in a position to demand that the seller repair the car before you buy it or to reduce the selling price by the sum of the repairs.
Follow the transfer of ownership procedure above and keep the temporary ownership form signed by the previous owner until you get a permanent form in the mail.
ANNUAL INSPECTION AND RENEWAL
You are required to have the vehicle inspected and to renew the car license every year (except for a new car, which is after two years). If you do not receive a renewal notice in the mail shortly before renewal date, you should contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles in order to be sure your car is registered in their computer. Always notify the Bureau of Motor Vehicles of any address change.
When you get the annual inspection notice you must pay it in the bank or post office and take it with your driver's license, identity card, car license and compulsory insurance certificate to a local testing station where they will test the brakes, wheel alignment and lights and stamp your papers accordingly. A fine may be incurred if the vehicle is not tested by the date specified on the form. Again, if you do not receive your inspection notice, car license or other pertinent papers, contact your local Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Remember, buying and selling a car in Israel can be done with a minimum of fuss and discomfort if you follow the old adage let the buyer beware and are careful of what you are doing.
Check with your regional AACI counselor that the above information is up to date.