Guide to Covid Tests in Israel – How to get tested and when a test is needed

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Wondering how and when you need to get a Covid Test if you are planning a trip to Israel? Currently getting tested while traveling to Israel is still important and required to keep track of the spread of Covid-19. This applies whether you are vaccinated or not. After a year and a half of social distancing, mask-wearing, and Zooming, life is slowly starting to seem a little more normal. But our health and safety are still as important as ever. Here’s an explanation on Covid Tests in Israel.

For a simple way to get a Covid test to your door in Israel before leaving Israel, check our Door to Door PCR Covid Test which is carried out at the location of your choice anywhere in Israel. Tests are also available at our Covid test center in Tel Aviv.

Updated on September 19, 2021

Who needs a Covid Test when travelling to Israel?

Israel has been closed to individual tourists since early 2020, however, as of September 19, 2021, entry will be allowed for families or groups of 5-30 visitors from non-red countries (any country except for Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, and Bulgaria – September 8, 2021), who are vaccinated, book their trip through an approved company, and carry out covid tests as required. For full details on the tourist group program, click here.

Currently, for Israeli passport holders and other visitors who have received special permission, a negative PCR test is necessary both upon arrival and departure. Continue reading for specific information about the regulations for arrival and departure.

Guide to Covid Tests in Israel

What is the difference between a Serological/Antigen and Molecular/PCR test?

There are three main different types of Covid tests in Israel, Serological, Antigen, and Molecular, and a PCR test. 

What’s needed to travel to Israel? How to get a Covid Test when arriving in Israel? 

  • The most reliable and common test method is the PCR test. This test detects the presence of the virus if you are infected at that time, and is done with a nasal swab.
  • Antigen and molecular tests are most commonly used for rapid testing, which can sometimes be a little less accurate.
  • The Serological test provides a way to see if someone has been infected or exposed to the disease in the past.

When flying to Israel, there are four important steps required:

  • A valid second or third vaccination (completed within the past 5 months) or covid recovery certificate. (Those who do not have this will be required to enter quarantine, however, for non-Israelis, entry is only permitted for those who have received a vaccine).
  • A negative PCR test carried out in the 72 hours prior to the flight. This is a requirement in order to board the flight regardless of vaccination status.
  • A Ministry of Interior entry form in the 24 hours before your flight. You should be prepared to show this at check-in or boarding of your flight.
  • Once landing in Israel, a covid test is required. Tourists are required to undergo a Serological test whilst Israeli passport holders are required to undergo a PCR test. Both tests can be carried out at the airport upon arrival. It is possible to schedule a test before arrival at Ben Gurion Airport via the airport website. Stay updated on flights to Israel for the latest information. Currently all travelers entering Israel must go into quarantine for 24h or until a negative test is received. Those entering from a limited list of red countries must enter a full 7-14 day quarantine cycle.
  • PCR tests at the airport can be arranged on the spot or pre-booked (pre-booking should result in a shorter waiting time).
  • A VIP Fast Track service at the airport (from $180 per group) can reduce queues in the terminal both on arrival and departure and make the experience far more relaxed. For those who would prefer to entirely avoid queues and relax in a private lounge with transfers to/from the aircraft by vip car, the Fattal Private Terminal (from $450 per group) can avoid the entire main passenger terminal and by its nature is entirely wait free.

How to get a Covid Test in Israel before leaving Israel?

A negative PCR covid test carried out in the 72 hours before your flight is necessary for all tourists to exit Israel regardless of vaccination status. Israeli passport holders who have a valid vaccination or recovery certificate do not need this test to exit Israel, however it might be required by the airline or country you are flying to. The process can be a little confusing. There are three main ways to do this test:

  • Private to-your-door PCR covid test. A representative arrives directly to where you are staying (home or hotel) and delivers the results to your email within 36 hours. This option is the most convenient, and avoiding standing in lines, visiting hospitals, or waiting for results. Cost is from $149 per person. More information
  • Covid test center in Tel Aviv. The tests are available at our central location in Tel Aviv every day from 2pm to 6pm (including Saturday). Results are delivered by email in English within 36 hours (48 hours on holidays and weekends). Cost is from $99 per person. More information.
  • Test at a hospital or a clinic. This is a private and often complicated process for non Israeli passport holders as many clinics are not able to provide the service to non Israeli citizens, and others are not able to provide the required documentation in English. Cost in a private hospital such as Assuta Medical Centers, is, as of May 2021, approx $220 (750 ILS) for Israeli citizens and $290 (950 ILS) for non-Israeli citizens.
  • PCR test at the Ben Gurion Airport lab. This requires you to go to the airport a day before your flight in order to do the test, and then return again a day later (so factor in an extra two-way airport transfer). Or you can arrive at the airport 7-8 hours before your flight and pay extra for a quick test. Due to a change in the operator of the laboratory on May 23, 2021, pricing is currently unclear.
  • Private to-your-door Serological Test. A representative arrives directly to you accomodation and test results will be delivered to your email in English 9h after the test was done (tests made between 7-11 am), or until 4 pm (tests made after 11am) the following day. Another option is to book a appointment at the test center in Lod, near Ben Gurion airport. The cost is from $279 per person/

Departing passengers over 16 are required to fill out the Ministry of Interior’s departure form, in the 24 hours before their flight. Those who travel to red countries could be fined 5,000 NIS.

There are many options for transport to Ben Gurion airport. It is also worth considering using a VIP fast-track service at Ben Gurion Airport when traveling to avoid crowds during the pandemic.

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