Customs & Trade in Israel

12 November, 2023

Navigating Israeli Customs at the Airport: Green Lane Vs. Red Lane

When entering Israel after a trip abroad, travelers encounter two distinct lanes: the green lane and the red lane. These lanes are designed to streamline customs procedures and ensure compliance with customs regulations. Let’s delve into the key aspects of choosing the right lane and what you should know when leaving or entering Israel.

Understanding the Lanes: Green vs. Red

After landing in Israel, travelers must decide between two lanes: the green lanes and the red lanes. In both lanes, customs officers are present to conduct random checks or inspections based on specific criteria.

Departing Israel: What You Need to Know

Reporting Your Belongings: If you plan to bring items back into Israel that you took out with you and wish to avoid import taxes (including customs, sales tax, and VAT), it’s essential to report them to customs. For items valued at over $200, report them to a customs officer in the departure hall using a specialized customs form. When re-entering Israel, present this form to avoid taxes. This rule applies to various items, such as laptops, cameras, and other valuables exceeding $200.

Duty-Free Store Purchases: Products purchased from airport duty-free stores are treated as if bought abroad, subject to the same tax-exempt item regulations, including quantity limits.

Items Allowed in the Green Lane: The Israeli Tax Authority specifies items exempt from import duties that can be taken through the Green Lane. These include:

  1. Personal Belongings: This category covers clothing, footwear, and personal hygiene items typically carried in hand luggage.
  2. Alcoholic Drinks: Passengers aged 18 and above can bring up to 2 liters of wine, 1 liter of other intoxicating drinks, and up to 1/4 liter of spirits per person.
  3. Tobacco Products: Passengers aged 18 and above can carry tobacco products weighing no more than 250 grams (or up to 200 cigarettes, about one pack).
  4. E-Cigarette Liquid: For passengers aged 18 and above, up to 10 ml of e-cigarette liquid or up to 5 disposable e-cigarettes are allowed.
  5. Other Items: Travelers can bring additional personal-use items or gifts for others as long as their value does not exceed $200 per person aged two and older. This category may also include specific food items totaling up to 3 kg, provided that each food item does not weigh more than 1 kg.

Limits and Exemptions: The exemption for clothing and footwear is based on quantity, not value. As long as items are within typical hand luggage quantities, their value is not a determining factor. For instance, a single coat worth over $200 does not require using the red lane.

Additional Guidance:

Choosing the Right Lane: When in doubt about which lane to select, it’s advisable to opt for the red lane. This cautious approach ensures full compliance with customs regulations.

Declaration in the Absence of Red or Green Lanes: In places lacking red or green lanes, travelers with items subject to taxes must declare them to the customs officer on-site.

Penalties for Non-Declaration: Failure to declare items subject to taxes while using the green lane may result in administrative fines and potential prosecution. Customs may also seize such items, sometimes offering an option to pay a monetary fine for their release. The specific penalty varies based on the circumstances.

Respecting customs regulations is crucial for the integrity of a country’s borders and for travelers to enjoy a smooth return to their destination. Choosing the correct lane, accurately declaring items, and adhering to tax rules will make your journey to Israel or any other location hassle-free and pleasant.

The content in this communication is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be comprehensive. It does not serve to replace professional legal advice required on a case by case basis. The firm does not undertake to update the information in this communication or its recipients about any normative, legal or other changes that may impact the subject matter of this communication.

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