Friday, January 1, 2010

How to Extend Your West Bank Visa

Most people I know who work or volunteer in the West Bank think it’s impossible to extend their visa after the first three months have come to an end. So they go to Jordan or to Egypt for a week, and come back. Some of them aren’t allowed back in. Others get a two-week visa. Some get another three months, and then have to go over the same procedure again in three months.

But there is another way, regardless of what Israeli or Palestinian authority people say. I got an extended visa for one year, and I’ll tell you exactly how:

I got papers from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Ramallah. On the fifth floor, there’s a small office for visa matters for foreigners. Go there and ask what you need to fill out. You will also have to pay a small fee—140 shekels at the Ministry, and 140 shekels in Amman Cairo Bank (be sure to get a receipt).

I got a work contract for one year from my employer—a Palestinian NGO working in the West Bank. In order not to get a West Bank Only visa, I made sure to write in my contract that my work includes frequent travels to Jerusalem.

Then, thinking it would help to have an international organization saying I work with them, I got a letter from one of our American donors in Jerusalem saying that they cooperate with my NGO, and that I work on projects with them.

Finally, my boss wrote a short letter stating that I’ve been offered this position, and I will work with this American partner organization, and I will have to travel to Jerusalem for work.

The Ministry of Interior sent all my papers, plus two recent photos of me, and my passport to the Israeli authorities in Beit-El.

It took me two days before I got my passport back, with a visa for one year for all of Palestine—both the West Bank and Israel.

I got a single-entry visa, but it is possible to apply for a multi-entry visa as well. You have to specify this when you apply. A multi-entry visa is a little more expensive to apply for, and I have no idea how easy or difficult it is to actually get it.

All I know is that it is possible to extend your visa without having to go through the hassle of going to Jordan and come back.


eva said...

Att det över huvud taget kan upprättas hinder för att besöka platser! Vilken galenskap.....

Pavithra Selvam said...

Nice post. I am taking up a job in Ramallah soon and would like to talk to someone who lives in the region. I have been speaking to people within the org. But, I would like to get an outsider's perspective on things.

Will you talk to me?

Ruby said...

Thanks. Sure, I'd be happy to help. Ask me anything you want to know.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ruby,

I'm currently sitting in a cafe in Ramallah trying to do exactly what you've described above. Could you tell me where the Palestinian Ministry is in Ramallah please. I cant see an adress anywhere on google.

many thanks,


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