Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Country Affected:


Advisory Issued: 

March 27, 2020

Reconsider travel to Israel and the West Bank due to travel restrictions and quarantine procedures instituted by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority in response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). U.S. citizens who live in or seek travel to the United States are encouraged to depart Israel, the West Bank, or Gaza immediately while commercial flights are still available, unless they are prepared to remain in place for an indefinite period. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions related to COVID-19 to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Flights into or out of Israel may be cancelled with little or no notice.

The Embassy is not able to assist with arranging commercial travel options. If your travel has been disrupted or to make travel arrangements, please contact your airline.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

On March 18, the Government of Israel announced that foreigners, including U.S. citizens, who are not Israeli citizens or permanent residents, would not be allowed to enter Israel. Exceptions may be made only for non-nationals whose lives are based in Israel. Such individuals who wish to travel to Israel should contact the consular department of the closest Israeli embassy or consulate for further information. We recommend travelers not board flights to Israel without a pre-clearance letter from the Israeli government, as there is otherwise no assurance they will be admitted into the country. The Government of Israel is continually updating its travel restrictions and quarantine policies.

As of March 6, 2020, the Palestinian Authority has restricted all foreigners from entering areas of the West Bank under Palestinian Authority control until further notice. Movement and travel between Palestinian districts, including Bethlehem, are restricted to emergencies only.

The Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority have announced restrictions and guidelines, including on movements, gatherings, and public transportation, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. For a full list of guidelines in Israel, please visit the Israeli Ministry of Health website . For information in the West Bank and Gaza, further information is available here but may not always be up to date.

Border crossings may be closed with little or no advance notice. As of March 18, the Government of Israel announced the closure of its borders with Egypt and Jordan. As of March 17 and until further notice, the Government of Jordan suspended all international flights and closed all land borders to passenger traffic. Similarly, as of March 19 and until further notice, the Government of Egypt suspended all international flights.

Most checkpoints between Jerusalem and Bethlehem and Bethlehem’s surrounding suburbs in the West Bank have been closed until further notice. Additional checkpoints might be closed on short notice. All U.S. citizens, including those traveling to Ben Gurion airport for onward departure or passing through any open checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank may be subject to increased scrutiny and significant delays.

Visit the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem COVID-19 website, the Israeli Ministry of Health website, and the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health website  (in Arabic only) for additional information.

Please read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Israel and/or the West Bank:

  • Have a plan to depart Israel and the West Bank, which does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Carry additional supplies of necessary medication in carry-on luggage due to quarantine restrictions. 
  • See CDC for additional guidance.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.  Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Additionally, Gaza is Level 4 – do not travel – due to the following additional reasons: terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict.

Last Updated: Reissued to include new information regarding entry requirements and advice to arrange departure to the United States.

See the full advisory at the U.S. Department of State Website. 

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