Israel Travel Guide for Philippine passport holders

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos 2020: visas, entry/exit requirements, and more!

Reader Mail: Hi Miss Trisha! I am so jealous that you are living in Israel! I love Israel and I want to travel there. Do you have an Israel travel guide for Filipinos only? I really want to go to Israel soon and I need your guidance. You’re the only Filipina I know who lives in Israel. Thank you so much!

June Avila, Philippines

This post was last updated on April 29, 2020

Welcome to Part II of No Visa? No Problem! series: a collection of articles on visa-free countries for Filipinos. This series aims to give another perspective to Filipinos about the other countries they can visit, if they are rejected with a US or Schengen visa. This Israel travel guide for Filipinos will answer all your questions about visas, arrival, entry/exit requirements, and more about Israel. I lived here for a year and can share lots of tips!

Wow, it’s been a while since I updated this series! For you to have a wider view and endless horizon on your travel options, I vowed to myself that I will try my best to update this every month.

Hmmm… Israel. Sounds pretty dangerous to you, right? Let me tell you that it’s not! I am currently based here (in Tel Aviv) and I am sure that if you are one of the avid readers of this blog, you will understand my love for Tel Aviv and Israel as a whole.

Israel is one of the countries I know that has everything all at once. Every zone in this country is a different world – start from Tel Aviv and you will see a bustling city life like Berlin and Hong Kong; drive a little to the South and you will experience the best of the deserts and a rich historical culture that dates thousands of years (old medieval towns, Arab districts, etc); head down to the South and see the best of the Red Sea. Everything is here!

Editor’s Note: This Israel travel guide for Filipinos does not include places to visit, things to do, etc. This is only a guide for entering/exiting, formal visa requirements, etc. You can go to my generic Israel travel guide for travel tips.

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos

Getting to Israel from Manila

Israel Travel for Philippine passport

Coming to Israel from any part of Asia can be really painful but I was able to pull off a few tricks that got me through it. I was in a series of press trips in Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Dubai so the flight sailed smoothly (sort of).

The last leg (UAE to Israel) was the most grueling because you know, these two countries don’t have diplomatic relationships. Meaning, there are no direct flights even if they are just close to each other. All flights going to Israel from UAE should take the long way because of the air territory constraints.

Anyway, you can read about my fun, tiring, crazy-almost-never-made-it flight here.

Meanwhile, let’s go back to flights from Manila to Tel Aviv…

The Philippines have one of the highest overseas workers in the Middle East so flights to and from Manila are very frequent. However, this is the bad news folks – you cannot fly with a Middle Eastern Airline to Israel because they don’t fly there at all. I love flying with Qatar and Emirates but when I went to Israel, I was juggled by 2-3 different airlines just because it’s not possible to fly with one.

But here’s the good news: starting 26 March 2017, Cathay Pacific will have a direct flight to Tel Aviv from Manila!

In the recent Philippine tourism surveys, the Israelis beat the Germans as the highest number of visitors in the country. Israel will be the major source of tourists for the Philippines this year hence the decision of a big airline to open a direct flight.

Okay, it’s not entirely direct – it’s via Hong Kong because (1) Cathay Pacific is an HK airline; (2) there are a lot of HK flights from Manila, Cebu and Clark. While these are still myths and hearsays, let’s be realistic and see how much the flight will cost.

Israel travel for Filipinos

Flight options from Manila to Tel Aviv

Via Dubai/Oman or Qatar: Dubai is a flying hub however, there are no direct flights to Israel from the United Arab Emirates. Their air traffic does not exist – you always have to go through Europe. However, in one of my flights, I flew via Qatar Airways from Manila to Doha then Larnaca. From Larnaca to Tel Aviv, Qatar will transfer you to their sister company as Qatari flights don’t go to Israel. Don’t worry, you don’t need to book multiple flights for this. Your reservation with Qatar will be enough – they will take care of the rest. This could cost up to ₱100,000 (est) from Manila and back.

Israel travel philippine passport
My usual advice? Add Israel to your European Itinerary

I also gave this advice in my Morocco travel guide for Filipinos article. Like Morocco, Israel is very close to Europe. If you have a valid Schengen visa with multiple entries, flying to Europe will be cheaper. Flights from major European cities like Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, especially Berlin is super cheap. You can get a Tel Aviv flight from these cities for ₱7,500 (two-way). Many European budget airlines fly to Tel Aviv.

This will require more work as you need to book the tickets independently. In the end, it’s always cheaper. For example, book a 2-way flight from Manila to Berlin via Cebu Pacific or Manila to Madrid/London via Philippine Airlines. From there, you can find any flight going to Tel Aviv for cheap. Remember that you can choose to fly from any European cities if you have a valid, multiple-entry Schengen visa. It’s always more fun to check all flights from European cities and see what’s the cheapest option for you.

Important: This is only advisable if you are granted multiple entries in Europe. You can never do this if you’re on a single-entry visa. Remember that Israel is an extra itinerary for your EuroTrip so your flight back to the Philippines departs in Europe. You have to go back.

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos

Visa Regulations for Filipinos entering as a tourist

israel guide for filipinos

Israel will not stamp your passport. You will be given an entry card (like Hong Kong). Don’t lose it!

Philippine passport holders can stay in Israel for a total of 90 days, visa-free. However, be warned. Since there are many illegal Filipino workers in Israel, be prepared to be interrogated but it’s normal procedure. Just answer their questions and you will be fine. They will only deport you if they find your answers suspicious.

What do they ask Filipino travelers when entering Israel?

A lot of questions. Please take note they are not just doing this to Philippine passport holders. Israel has security issues and all the questions are for security purposes only – nothing personal. They will not question your race or your nationality. You could be asked about your travel history.

israel guide for filipinos

The immigration interview can take up to 15 minutes. If they are not satisfied with your answers, you will be asked to go to the holding room and wait for further instructions. But please don’t worry – they will not deport you. Just answer all the questions with honesty. I’m sure you’re not trying to hide anything! Additionally, Israel immigration is fond of Filipinos. Many Philippine passport holders travel here for pilgrimage. You can read about my experience with I first entered Israel here.

If you are a backpacker and you want to stay longer than 90 days in Israel, you have to apply for a visa extension at the Misrad Hapnim before your visa expires. In my experience, this wasn’t an easy procedure and I only know one Filipino who got granted a tourist visa extension in Israel.

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos

As a Philippine passport holder, what do I need to present to Israeli Immigration upon arrival?

I entered Israel 4 times in a year and I wasn’t asked about this. They don’t actually care what you are going to do in the country but they are concerned if you are a threat to their national security. This is the reason why everyone entering Israel is heavily interrogated. Remember that this country is at war and they need to protect their territories from all foreign and domestic threats. But I do have the following documents ready:

Is Israel visa free for Filipinos

@psimonmyway / Instagram

Proof of accommodation

In all my travels, I always make sure that I have a hotel reservation when entering another country. I use Booking.com for this because they won’t charge you for reserving. You can always opt to pay at the property. When I entered Israel the first time, I booked through Airbnb since the Immigration officer can always call my host to confirm if I have a reservation. Airbnb reservations are paid right away so your local host will be willing to vouch for you even if you don’t know them. If you are new to Airbnb, you can sign up using this link to get a ₱2,000 discount on your first stay!

If you’re staying with friends or family in Israel, make sure you know their address, phone numbers, and all the necessary information. Sometimes, you will be asked some ridiculous questions about your hosts. They are just making sure you know your host so please get in touch with them before your trip!

Israel travel Filipinos

Bartender for a night in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Outbound Flight ticket

This is a hit and miss. In my experience entering Israel four times, they only asked for this twice. Good thing I always have proof that I will leave the country before the 90-day visa expires! It’s always better to have this, after all, if you’re flying through Europe, it’s cheap to book a dummy ticket.

Travel Guide for Filipinos Israel
Itinerary

Immigration officers are used to Filipinos traveling Israel. After all, Jerusalem is like our mecca. Many Filipinos travel to Israel for pilgrimage so before your flight, make sure you did research on places to visit in Israel. Itemize them by date or day. Include the accommodations and things to do. You can use this sample itinerary below.

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos

What is the ideal budget to travel to Israel?

We’ve already calculated the first part but here’s a good way to show the general cost of living in Israel. The cost of living in Israel is 50% higher than in the Philippines. Israel’s currency is called the New Israeli shekel (NIS). As of April 29, 2020, 1 NIS is equivalent to ₱14.39 PHP. If you are traveling with US dollars, $1 USD is equivalent to 3.50 NIS.

Unlike other countries, Israel prices don’t have a big difference per city. The price estimate below is based on the cost of living in Tel Aviv, where Filipinos often start their journey.

Item
Price in the Philippines
Price in the Israel
Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the business district
₱270
₱869
Combo meal in fast food restaurant (big mac meal or similar)
₱167
₱690
1 bottle of red wine, good quality (supermarket)
₱459
₱906
500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese (market)
₱180
₱322
2 liters of coca-cola
₱91
₱115
Airbnb per day (2 pax)
from ₱700
from ₱5,000
Hostel per day (dorm, 1 pax)
from ₱500
from ₱2,000
Taxi trip on a business day, basic tariff, 8 km
from ₱224
from ₱987

Prices below are in Philippine peso and are just estimates based on the time I lived in Tel Aviv for one year. This is just to give you an idea on how your daily travel budget in Israel should look like.

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do I need a transit visa if I have a layover?

Philippine passport holders need a transit visa when stopping in any US airports. If you are flying with a European airline, you don’t need a visa to stop in Europe. It’s always smarter to ask the airline you are booking your flight with. They can answer your transit visas queries better.

When is the best time to visit Israel?

Israel is a four-season country though I can say that it has always been sunny here! The sun never goes away!

  • January to March: not snowing but cold (up to 9° C)
  • April to June: Not too cold, not too hot (24° C)
  • July to September: very hot especially the beginning of July
  • October to December: definitely jacket weather (up to 16° C)

For detailed information including monthly events in Israel, please see the article when is the best time to visit Israel?

Travel Guide for Filipinos Israel
What should I pack/wear for my Israel trip?

Israel may be religious per se but they are very used to Western tourists. In Tel Aviv, you can wear anything you want, there is really no restriction but when you visit religious landmarks like Jerusalem, make sure your shoulders and knees are covered. This also applies to men.

I have a resident visa in Dubai (or other Muslim countries). Will I have troubles going back after my travels to Israel?

No. Israel only gives you an entry card. They will not stamp your passport. I have lots of friends from Dubai who already tried this and they didn’t have a problem going back.

israel visa free for filipinos
Will I be allowed to enter Muslim countries if I have an Israeli stamp?

Lebanon and Iran will not allow you to enter. It’s kind of a non-negotiable thing for these two countries. Other Muslim countries are okay with the stamp as long as you are not an Israeli citizen. Again, please take note that if you enter Israel through Ben Gurion International Airport, you will only be given an entry card – they will not stamp your passport.

If you cross the border to Egypt and Jordan, they will stamp you (like what they did to me). However, you can request not to be stamped in both gates. Take note that even if you don’t have the Israel stamp in the border and you have the Egypt and Jordan stamp, it is very easy to determine that you entered these countries through Israel because stamps have border names. If you really don’t want to have records of these in your passport, ask the Israel, Jordan, and Egypt immigration officers at the Wadi Araba border not to stamp your passport. They can put a stamp on your entry/exit cards instead.

Will I be allowed to enter Israel if I have stamps from Middle Eastern countries?

Yes. I had stamps from Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar but I was allowed to enter. I was interrogated heavily but they still let me in.

Jerusalem travel for Filipinos

Do I need to show financial capability when entering Israel?

No, but it is better to have it in hand. If you have a mobile banking app, then that should suffice. No need to print anything. You do not need a formal bank statement signed by the bank.

Are there any reasons I will be denied entry to Israel?

Yes. If Israel finds you a threat to their national security, then you will be sent to your flight of origin at your own expense.

jordan itinerary

I crossed Jordan from Israel (southern border).

Can I include Jordan and Egypt in my Israel itinerary?

Yes, this is also possible. When you exit to the neighboring countries (Jordan and Egypt), your visa will reset to another 90 days or depending on the mood of the border control officer. Egypt visa for Filipinos is easier to apply than Jordan visa for Filipinos.

Should you have any more questions that weren’t answered above, please leave a comment below or send me a message via Instagram or Facebook.

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • April 25, 2017

    This is a great guide for Filipinos who want to travel to Israel. I have never been there but I don’t think I would need a visa, as an European Union citizen. Your price guide is very good, to know what to expect a trip there will cost you. I would like to travel to Israel one day and discover its history (and also take a dip in the Dead Sea, to see how it is to float on it).

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  • April 25, 2017

    I think I choked on my coffee when I saw the airfare hahaha… Oh my god it’s so expensive. But it’s good to know that there is now a direct flight from Manila to Tel Aviv. Maybe I can go and visit you there in the near future! Thanks for sharing these useful information.

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  • April 25, 2017

    This is a very informative article!

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  • April 25, 2017

    I’ve been reading your Tel Aviv journey and Its really inspire me a lot. Anyway, I didn’t know that UAE doesn’t have a direct flight going to Israel even they’re just so close to each other, and all this time I didn’t know that Israel and UAE has this territory issues. Where I’ve been? I really don’t know about all these things. I truly enjoy reading this blog post of yours cause I really learned a lot. I’m happy that Cathay Pacific has already a direct flight from Manila to Israel. Thank you so much for all the information.

    LaiAriel R. Samangka

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  • April 25, 2017

    Every piece and bit in this article are just informative. Having that Filipino Passport makes me want to travel the world even more. These tips come in handy and I will surely take note of it whenever I will be visiting Israel.

    P.S.: Host me in your pad, ate Trisha! But yeah, Couchsurfing would be a good idea, too! <3

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  • April 25, 2017

    I really want to visit Israel too because of its diverse culture. It’s a very interesting country but those numbers are so expensive! Maybe soon I’ll visit, and tell my own story about Israel. Thank you for sharing Trish!

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  • Indrani
    April 25, 2017

    Indeed a useful guide for Filipinos! I haven’t been to Israel yet and reading this I am thinking how the procedure is in my own country.

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  • April 25, 2017

    This is a highly useful and informative blog post for the filipinos! I am sure Israel is a great tourist destination!

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  • April 25, 2017

    A very helpful guide for the Filipino, who are looking for a trip to Israel. I liked the way you have described the pricing part too in your post. This will help one in getting the rough estimate of the whole trip. I will love to visit Israel one day for sure -have a fascination for the Dead Sea.

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  • April 25, 2017

    This is very informative and a great help for Filipinos looking for a travel escape outside the Philippines.

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  • cathy
    April 27, 2017

    Ahh, so expensive! It almost broke my pocket! Per meal is so mahal! hahaha And 3k per day at least for a budget traveler like me is 😮 ohemgee! But anyway, I’ll save money, Israel is <3

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  • Nenz
    July 24, 2017

    Very informative blog.I’m working in Saudi Arabia and planning for visit to Israel , is there any problem ?

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  • August 24, 2017

    HI TRISHA!! i plan to travel to israel on sept 13 to 17. just short 5 days. I currebt;y holding a philippine passport with a UAE (dubai) residence visa. would there be any problem when i enter the country?

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  • Arnel
    May 4, 2018

    Hi, Trish…presently, we are working at Qatar with a residence permit…we are planning to go to Jerusalem this last week of May 2018 through Jordan by land crossing the Allenby Border…we already applied for a Jordanian visa…how about Israel? Do we need to get an Israeli visa? Would you know the procedure in getting an Israeli Visa? Somebody here in Qatar told us that we need an Israeli visa and we can contact a travel agency in Jordan to fix our visa…we really do not know if this is true…Thank you so much.

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    • Romeo Jr Mijares
      November 15, 2018

      can you update us on your travel. thanks

      reply
  • Zen Cardenas
    July 4, 2019

    Hi Trish
    We are couple 70 yrs old first time traveler to Israel on our own . our travel date will be on August 18 to Sept 2 . we choose to do it ourselves because of too expensive organized tour being offered here in the Phil. . your blog is very helpful already but can i ask if it is possible to get a private guide that is not very expensive ? pls provide us the cost ? we already booked our 2 days stay in Jerusalem and will book also in Nazareth for 3 days and the rest will be in Telaviv till our flight back home Thank you in advance hoping to meet you in Tlv
    regards
    Zen Cardenas

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  • Merielle Santiago
    January 14, 2020

    Hi, your blog is really helpful. Though things troubling my mind when I read other blogs, they said hotel accommodation and tour is a must but I am visiting my Israeli boyfriend there thus I will stay at his residence. would it be safe to declare it or should I have real bookings for hotel and tour? thank you!

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