Unlimited sums of local and foreign money may be brought into Israel in forms of
cash, travelers’ checks, credit cards or State of Israel bonds. Foreign currency
of all kinds may be exchanged at the airport, banks, post offices, most hotels or
licensed exchange agencies in large cities. There are automatic cash machines from
which it is possible to withdraw money 24 hours a day. A passport is required when
exchanging travelers’ checks. The rates vary from place to place, and banks (except
of post office) charge a commission.
Payment in Israel is made in Israeli currency - New Israeli Shekel (or in short:
SHEKEL). However, some businesses accept other currencies i.e., Euro, US Dollar;
Japanese Yen; Pound Sterling and others. Shops and service providers cannot accept
foreign currency and others are required to give change in SHEKELS even if payment
was made in foreign currency.
Tourists who pay for goods and services in foreign currency are exempt, in certain
cases, from VAT (Value Added Tax). Please see separate paragraph.
Some businesses in Israel are registered with the Ministry of Tourism program for
refunding tourist VAT (Value Added Tax) payments. These merchants are required to
inform their customers of this arrangement, and to provide them with an invoice which
they must present at their point of departure from Israel together with their purchase
in a sealed package. The VAT, less a commission, will be returned on the spot.
Stores that offer VAT refund service have a special sign.
Value Added Tax in Israel stands at 15.5 %.
The minimum amount of purchase eligible for VAT refund is $100, including VAT. In
Eilat, where VAT is not collected, the minimum purchase for VAT refund is $200, including
VAT. The sale of jewelry whose shekel value equals $200, including VAT, will not
If the amount to be reimbursed exceeds $1,000, VAT refund will be sent after the
invoice is verified with the tax authorities.
To receive VAT refund, ensure that you get a receipt with a list of all the items
you have purchased and details of the purchaser. The receipt and purchases must be
put into a sealed transparent bag. Tourists must then go to the “Change Place” at
Ben Gurion airport. Those departing from Haifa, Ashdod or Eilat will have the VAT
returned to the address on the invoice. If you wish to send the items that you purchased
with your luggage, you must declare the purchase at the security check, and present
your passport, flight ticket, purchases and receipts at the counter. The attendant
will open the bag, examine the contents, sign the receipt, and refund the VAT in
any currency minus a commission. The VAT refund can also be sent to your address
abroad for an additional charge.
There is no VAT refund for the following items: food, drinks, tobacco products,
electrical appliances, cameras, film or other photographical equipment