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How long to clear immigration?

Adelaide
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72 posts
43 reviews
26 helpful votes
How long to clear immigration?
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I have read on a travel site that it 'can take a very long time' to pass through customs and immigration at Tel Aviv, especially for non-Israelis. How much time should I allow, both entering and leaving?

Cincinnati, Ohio
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for Israel
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1. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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Coming in, it has never taken me longer than 20 minutes. Leaving -- just be sure to arrive at the airport no less than three hours before your flight.

Douglas Duckett

Adelaide
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2. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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I kinda expected that it would take a long time to enter, not to leave. What takes 3 hours for a departure?

NYC/Israel
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for Israel
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3. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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As Douglas said it is required that you be at the airport 3 hours before your flight. ( unless you fly business or first class) This is to allow time for security.

Entering the country is usually no more than 30 minutes ( then you wait for your baggage) This can be more if a number of planes arrived at the same time or less if the airport is more quiet.

Israel
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for Israel
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4. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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As said, entering the country, immigration should take no longer than 30 minutes. After you collect your luggage customs should take only a few minutes.

You asked why it takes longer to leave. As you may have heard Ben Gurion airport is the considered the safest airport to fly through. The pre-check-in security procedure is very thorough and can be lengthy. That is the reason for the request to arrive 3 hours before your flight. The lines for pre-flight screening can be very lengthy and in order to allow enough time to make your flight you need to arrive at the airport early.

Israel
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5. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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As a matter of fact the arrival in Israel is very quick, quicker than most countries I arrive at. I am used to standing an hour in line in many U.S. airports, London is the pits etc. Ben Gurion is quick and efficient.

Sandown, New...
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for Israel
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6. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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None of those come close to LAX! Foreign tourists entering the US through LAX can expect lengthy delays, surly immigration officers, and general aggravation.

Israeli procedures for entering and exiting the country should be a model for other countries!

Dr. Z

Israel
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1,947 posts
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7. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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I totally agree with you, Dr. Z. Maybe you should come and enjoy the Israeli immigration and customs soon again...

Tel Aviv, Israel
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for Tel Aviv
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8. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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Also check whether your airline has advance online check in. If you have access to a computer most airlines now allow you to "check-in" and print your boarding pass 24 hrs in advance and they may advise you to come only 2.5 hrs in advance.

The procedure is to do security, then go to the airline desk and check your luggage, then go through immigration and walk down to the departure lounge. When the airport is crowded and there is a line at each of these station this can easily take two hours (and boarding starts 30-40 minutes prior to the departure time).

Having often gone through airports like Heathrow at busy hours, I can say that Ben-Gurion is as efficient as any major airport.

Sandown, New...
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for Israel
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9. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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erirya -

Thanks. i'm trying my best to get over there but my new work venture is top priority right now. I will be in NY in November and may try to hop the pond from there for a quick trip.

Dr. Z

Calgary, Canada
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296 posts
7 reviews
8 helpful votes
10. Re: How long to clear immigration?
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Depending on your name, where you are going in Israel, where your parents are from, and if its your first time to Israel, it could take 2-3 hours to clear immigration. I have experienced this and met other people in immigration who were experiencing it with me.