Driving on a foreign license in Israel
Driving in Israel without a valid driver’s license is illegal. Olim (new immigrants), temporary residents, returning residents and tourists are permitted to drive in Israel with a foreign or international driver’s license for one year following their date of entry into Israel.
- The category of vehicle driven must match the category stated on the valid license.
- The age requirement must comply with the Israeli requirements for that category (17 for a private car).
You need to make an appointment before you go to Misrad HaRishui (Bureau of Motor Vehicles) at myVisit. (https://myvisit.com/#!/home/signin/)
Getting an Israeli license
Converting an existing foreign license – immediate conversion
Misrad HaRishui allows olim and returning residents who have a valid foreign driver’s license that was valid for at least 5 years before the date of aliyah or return to receive an Israeli driver’s license without a theory or road test. Olim may do this within 3 years of their aliyah. Returning Residents may do this within their first year of returning to Israel.
Requirements – bring to Misrad HaRishui:
- teudat zehut (identity card) / passport
- teudat oleh (immigrant booklet)
- foreign driver’s license The driver’s license has to have an issue date of at least 5 years before aliyah, if it doesn’t, bring the previous driver’s license, as well, or bring a document from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles that gave you the license that states when you were first issued a driver’s license. Photocopy the documents.
- online form – https://govforms.gov.il/mw/forms/RishumTheory@mot.gov.il for a level B (private vehicle) license. This form is essentially a declaration of health. If you have health issues you must attach medical documentation.
- photograph and eye exam, if needed Taken at a Femi Premium optician’s store, listed HERE or a Memsi store listed at https://www.memsi.co.il/license-green-form/
For a list of Misrad HaRishui branches that process foreign license conversions, click this link. The branches usually take care of the conversions in the morning hours.
Converting an existing foreign license – general
Olim and returning residents who do not qualify for the above and temporary residents and tourists may convert their foreign license to an Israeli one using an abridged process. They are exempt from taking the written exam, although a short road test is compulsory.
Please note: you must be at least 17 years old.
- Olim may convert their license on condition that the foreign license was issued prior to their aliyah. They have 3 years to convert their license using the abridged process.
Documents required – foreign driver’s license with an issue date (or see above) + photocopy, teudat zehut, teudat oleh.
- Temporary Residents must convert their license within one year of their arrival.
Documents required – foreign driver’s license with an issue date (or see above) + photocopy, passport, the official permit for staying in Israel.
- Returning residents may convert their license on condition that the foreign license was issued at least six months prior to their return, and the applicant was abroad for at least six months prior to the request. They must convert their license within one year of their return.
Documents required – foreign driver’s license with an issue date (or see above) + photocopy, identification card, passport with the stamps specifying all the dates of existing and entering Israel.
- Tourists must convert their license after residing in Israel for one year. The license will be valid for six months / last date of your visa (whichever is earlier), but can be renewed immediately when it expires.
Documents required – foreign passport, foreign driver’s license (if not in English, must be translated), a valid 3-month tourist visa.
NOTE: Driving without a valid license invalidates both compulsory and comprehensive insurance.
General Procedure for obtaining your Driver’s License
- Online Form
Fill out online form at https://govforms.gov.il/mw/forms/RishumTheory@mot.gov.il If you have health issues, attach medical documentation. Take the online form and go to your local Femi Premium or Memsi store with your valid foreign license and a photocopy (both sides) of it, your teudat oleh and teudat zehut or passport. Femi Premium optician’s stores are listed at the bottom of this sheet, Memsi stores are listed at https://www.memsi.co.il/license-green-form/ . You will have your photograph taken and be given an eye test if needed.
- Applying in Misrad HaRishui
Take the online form with your other required documents to the Misrad HaRishui near you that processes olim. You will be issued with a referral (hafnaya) to a driving school in order to take your road test.
Note: If you have special medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive, see the AACI Information Sheet Driver’s Licenses for People with Health Problems.
- Taking a road test
Contact a driving instructor to schedule and take the road test. The instructor will give you a form to pay the registration fee for the road test. The instructor must schedule the test for you and the instructor’s car must be used for the test. You will be asked to take a minimum of one lesson and maybe several more lessons by the instructor.
The test may take place at any branch of the Misrad HaRishui. Note that if you take your test in an automatic transmission vehicle, you will be issued a license limiting you to drive only automatic vehicles. However, if you take the lesson and test using a standard you will be able to drive a standard or automatic vehicle.
Driving lessons cost approximately NIS 120 per lesson. Standard time for a driving lesson is 40 minutes. The driving test fee is NIS 400 which includes the practical examination (road test) and use of the car from the driving school. Please note prices are subject to change.
The road test is a control test, which lasts 15 minutes and tests your physical control of the car, knowledge of local traffic laws and safe driving practices. The instructor will bring your forms to the test.
Bring with you: teudat zehut, foreign passport, foreign driving license and a copy of the registration fee receipt. An examiner from the Misrad HaRishui conducts the road test.
Results from your road test will be given to you by your instructor later that day or the following day.
- Getting your Israeli driver’s license
If you do not pass the road test you may continue to take it until you pass. However, if you fail it 2x, you may be asked to take the written theory test. The theory test can be taken in many languages, including English.
Once you have passed your test, you will receive a temporary paper license either from your instructor or by returning to Misrad HaRishui. You must take this temporary paper license to the Post Office to pay the fee. Immediately after payment, your temporary license is valid when used with your teudat zehut or passport.
A driver’s license will be mailed to you. The license is valid for 10 years except for specific cases.
10 year license – The fee for a 10 year license is NIS 438 (fees subject to change).
5 year license. The fee for a 5 year license is NIS 227. (Fees subject to change)
- A 5-year license is issued following completion of the 2-year new driver period.
- A driver of: a public transport vehicle, a heavy goods vehicle, a security vehicle and a children transport vehicle.
- A driver 70 – 80 years old.
2 year license. The fee for a 2 year license is NIS 93. (Fees subject to change)
- A new driver.
- A driver 80 years old or older.
Renewing your driving license
The renewal date that appears on your license is identical to your date of birth.
- Getting a payment slip
Approximately one month before the renewal date, you will be sent a payment slip. If you do not receive it, notify the Ministry of Transport at telephone *5678 or 1-222-56-78 (from overseas: 972-3-5086905), or by coming to one of Misrad HaRishui branches with your ID.
- Paying the fee
There are several ways to pay your fee:
- Postal bank – go to any of the branches, and you will get your license on the spot. The payment will be updated in the Ministry of Transport within 14 days.
- Telephone – call *5678 or 1-222-5678 and pay using a computer answering machine. You will receive an approval number, and your payment will be updated immediately. A temporary license (signed “paid”) will be sent.
- Bank – you can pay the fee at any bank. It is updated immediately.
- Service stand – Self-service stands (RISHIOMAT) to pay your fee are available in Misrad HaRishui branches, shopping malls and super-pharm. Notice! You can only pay with a credit card owned by the person renewing his license. The payment will be updated immediately.
- Internet – Pay using a credit card in this link. The payment will be updated immediately.
- App – You can pay the fee using the government services app, available for both Android and I-phone.
- Temporary license
If you paid using the phone or online, a temporary license will be sent to your address within 2 weeks of payment.
- Driver’s license
Within 2 months of paying the fee, a new license (with a picture) will be sent to you.
If the Ministry of Transport does not have a current picture, a comment will be written on your payment slip. In this case, once you’ve paid your fee and received a temporary license you must go to a photo-stand with your temporary license to take your picture. A list of photo-stands is available HERE and https://www.memsi.co.il/license-green-form/ .
Comments: If your license is about to expire soon, it is recommended to pay the fee in the Bank/Postal bank. Drivers over the age of 70, and professional drivers (taxi, bus, truck etc.) over the age of 60 are required to get a medical check up before renewing their license. The medical form will be sent to them 6 months prior to the license renewal date.
Contact the Ministry of Transportation
Misrad HaRishui has a Central Information Service – Dial *5678 (or 1-222-5678). A computer answering machine is available 24/7. To talk to a representative call Sun-Thurs. 7:00-20:00, Fri 7:00-13:00. AACI recommends you call to confirm office hours. A list of all the Misrad HaRishui branches is available HERE (Hebrew only).
Addresses of some of the Misrad HaRishui branches that deal with olim:
17 HaTnufa Rd, Talpiot Industrial Area
Clal Building, 97 Yaffo
1 HaLochamim, Holon
1 HaOrazim, Hadarim Mall
2 Edison, Haifa Bay
5 Manof, Emek Sarah
Femi Premium and Memsi Branches
Optica Center, Rigosin 9
Mercaz Optica Ben Tzvi 1
Memsi, Henrietta Szold 8
Optica Halperin, Mercaz Big,
Yigal Allon 3
Opti C, Herzl 27
Optic Center, Israel Bar Yehuda 111
Ziggy Shaul, Lev HaMifratz
Optica Halperin, Malcha Mall
Agudat HaSport Betar 1
Optica Roim Shesh Shesh
King George 21
Memsi, Canion Hadar Talpiot
Opticanion, HaCharoshet 4804
Opticana Arim Mall
Memsi, City Center Giborei Yisrael 5 Poleg
Memsi, Ra’ananim Mall
Ital Optic, Ayalon Mall
Optica Halperin Dizengoff Center
Memsi, HaRakevet 20
The information presented in this article was accurate at the time of printing. Changes in procedures and in the law may occur. AACI does not take responsibility for changes and recommends you confirm the above information with an AACI counselor at the time of transfer.