Presently, Misrad HaPnim is in the midst of a ‘Passport Marathon’ aimed to eliminate the passport backup in Israel. As reported previously by Chaim V’Chessed, the exclusive focus on passports has caused significant difficulties for those seeking other services at Misrad HaPnim. This is especially pressing for those seeking to obtain or extend student visas, as the Jerusalem Visa Department is totally inoperative until mid-June.

To address this concern, the Misrad HaPnim has announced a sweeping extension of all A-class visas. Visas which expire prior to September 30 will automatically be extended by an additional six months. 

Chaim V’Chessed has liaised with Bituach Leumi over this topic, as it is vital for non-citizens to hold valid visas in order to maintain medical coverage through Bituach Leumi. Obligingly, Bituach Leumi has agreed to extend the medical coverage of anyone whose visa has expired, provided they are included in this visa extension.

However, the Misrad HaPnim announcement does not specify a start date from when one’s visas must have expired in order to be included in this extension. Chaim V’Chessed has learned that, disappointingly, only those visas which expired from May 14 and on are included in the extension. Hence, people whose visas expired in recent months, but who did not have an opportunity to renew their visas for whatever reason, will not benefit from the extension. 

Chaim V’Chessed is in the midst of dialogue with senior government officials  in an attempt to change the start date of the visa extension.

Furthermore, Chaim V’Chessed recalls that during previous visa extensions, other government offices, such as the Transportation Ministry and Arnona were not familiar with the extension. This caused numerous headaches, as valid visas are required to receive service from these offices. Chaim V’Chessed is in contact with various government offices to find a viable solution.