Two days ago (12th May 2023) at 17:00 PIBA started sending out the SMS notifications about visa extensions. As usual, the messages state the updated expiry date of an existing visa, and vaguely says “there’s no need to go to the office for the time being.”
In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about the latest round of visa extensions in response to the Israeli Passport Matharon. This is the third round of visa extension in recent history, with the last two happening in February 2022 and August 2022.
This round of visa extension is different, as it comes with the background of a complete shutdown of visa departments that has started today in various offices.
Why Are Visas Being Extended?
The minister of Interior and PIBA have decided on yet another sweeping extension of visas, as a way to combat the service backlog that they are facing. The backlog is caused due to severe manpower issues that PIBA has been facing, and a big demand from services, mainly passport issuing services for Israeli citizens.
In order to free-up working hands at PIBA, the minister has decided on a sweeping extension of visas by 6 months, to visa holders all around Israel. The intention behind the extension is to cancel and postpone scheduled appointment at the visa department, so the clerks will be able to handle other things (such as passport applications).
Which Visas Have Been Extended?
The following Visas with an expiry date on or before 30.9.23 that have been extended:
- B1 General (all sub-categories other than those related to Enforcement Administration and Foreign Workers Administration)
- A5 – General temporary residents
- A1 – Aliyah Eligible temporary resident
- A2 – Students (other than agriculture interns)
- A3 – Clerical
- A4 – Accompaniment to A2/A3
- DCL permits (west Bank)
Visas that were not extended: restricted working visas (caregiving, expert etc.), Intervisas (multiple entry visa that is attached to a main visa).
According to PIBA, B2 and B4 visa holders can apply for a visa extension in all offices (other than the 4 marathon offices) as “walk-in” appointment. Read more
What If I Have A Meeting Scheduled?
The extension notification does not necessarily mean your meeting has been cancelled.
We remind you that in the previous round of visa extension, we received a written confirmation from PIBA that upgrade meetings happen as usual regardless of the extension. We will try to get this confirmed again asap.
It is also possible that like last time, some of the offices will ignore the extension and will still take on extension meetings as usual. Please stay tuned for our update.
Status Upgrade Meetings
People who have a status upgrade meeting (document submission, interview before upgrade, or meeting to receive the new status) at one of the offices that haven’t shut down – GO TO THE MEETING AS SCHEDULED (unless you were explicitly told your meeting is cancelled. In this case, please contact us).
People who are scheduled to be serviced in TLV, JLM, BSH or Haifa during the shutdown (May 14th to June 29th) – your meeting is most probably cancelled and will have to be rescheduled.
How Can I Get A Valid Visa Sticker / New ID / Intervisa?
It depends when and where:
- Affected by the shutdown – in branches that are closing down their visa services completely, it is likely to be very hard to get a new visa sticker, Israeli ID or an intervisa. PIBA has not presented yet an official solution to the people who need to get visa services in these branches.
From personal testimonies we can tell that people have been given intervisa renewal services at non-marathon offices, even if their main file is handled elsewhere > Read more.
- Not affected by the shutdown – please go to your attending branch during the visa department opening hours and ask to receive an updated visa sticker (for free) and to renew your intervisa and/or Israeli ID.
In case you need the visa for your employer, please try showing them the extension text message and the official information online.
How Can I Help?
We are currently awaiting the legal warning we gave PIBA to expire. If they don’t respond to our final warning letter, a petition to the supreme court will be submitted.
We are doing everything in our power to combat these discriminative and harmful decisions. Hundreds of volunteer hours are put into legal work, protest activism, graphic identity, sharing information, and answering hundreds of messages and comments.
These things not only take a lot of time but they also cost money. A petition to the supreme court not only costs a fee of almost 2K shekels, it also puts our organization in the risk of being liable to pay legal expenses.
We won’t be able to go on if we don’t have a financial back to support these risks. If you support our cause and our actions -> please donate to the organization.