Trip Options

Trip Preparations

This section provides you with information that you will need to get ready for your Taglit-Birthright Israel

General Flight Information

Please carefully read the following flight rules

  • You are responsible for arranging your own transportation to the gateway airport.
  • You must depart for Israel with your group from the scheduled gateway airport.
  • You can extend your return ticket up to 90 days from the date of departure for Israel.
  • If you remain in Israel past the date of your return ticket, your ticket will be void, and you will be responsible for arranging your own flight arrangements back to the US.
  • You cannot pay extra for a stop-over or to change your return flight destination.
  • You cannot receive frequent flier miles for your ticket.​

Seating Arrangements

Special seating arrangements cannot be arranged in advance, however some airlines allow passenger to select their seats during check-in. If an airline does not allow passengers to choose their seats, you will need to personally ask the passenger sitting next to you to switch seats.

Special Meal Requests

For participants requesting special meals such as vegetarian, diabetic meal etc on the flight, the request must be submitted by email to [email protected] at least 3 weeks before the departure date. After that time, your request cannot be guaranteed. Taglit-Birthright Israel requests kosher meals for all participant and staff. If your group flies El-AL airlines, you can request Glatt Kosher. We still suggest you to take along some kosher food with (no liquids) in case airlines misplaces your glatt kosher meal.

Baggage Limits

Most airports in the world have adopted the model implemented in the United States and the European Union regarding liquids permitted aboard in hand baggage. It is recommended to follow the regulations carefully so that you do not have to dispose of prohibited items in your baggage.

Suggested Packing Lists

Do I need an umbrella? Will it be too hot? Should I bring my bunny slippers?

The trip is ten days long, and packing can be a challenge.

On the one hand, you don’t want to get bogged down by a heavy suitcase full of knickknacks. On the other hand, you want to make sure you pack enough socks to get you to closing session. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. We’ve prepared packing lists for our Summer and Winter  trips to help you get through the packing process.

You can expect the weather in Israel will vary from 30 degrees in winter to  80’s-90’s in the summer. Click here before your trip to check current weather at Ben Gurion Airport, Israel.

Medical & Travel Insurance

DO NOT BUY THE INSURANCE UNTIL YOU GET A CONFIRMATION EMAIL WITH YOUR GROUP ASSIGNMENT

Nobody plans to get sick or hurt, but accidents do happen. That’s why Taglit-Birthright Israel requires all trip participants and staff to be covered by international health insurance for the entire duration of the program. We partner with Chai Travel Assistance Services (CTAS), to offer our participants a comprehensive plan, tailor-made for Taglit-Birthright Israel participants for an affordable price. CTAS’s policy offers full medical and travel insurance and access to professional, English speaking doctors in Israel. Furthermore, holders of a CTAS policy will pay no co-pays or deductibles for treatment. Please note, the insurance fee is not refundable after the trip, or if you decide to cancel before the trip.

Getting to the airport

Please carefully read the following flight rules

  • You are responsible for arranging your own travel to and from the gateway airport in the USA or Canada.
  • You are required to arrive at the departure airport at least 4 – 4 1/2 hours before your flight to Israel is scheduled to depart.
  • You will be met at the airline check-in area by Ezra representatives who give you instructions on how to proceed through the security screening and check-in processes.
  • When you arrive at the airline check-in area, locate the Ezra staff members. They will be wearing Ezra t-shirts and will be holding Ezra sign, and they will be looking for you too! If you need a domestic flight to NY, it is your responsibility to book and pay for the roundtrip tickets.
  • Please book a flight that arrives to NY at least 6 hours before the scheduled departure to Israel in case there are any delays or cancellations on your domestic flight.
  • For the return flight, if you are scheduling a domestic connection, plan for at least four hours between flights to allow for passage through customs/baggage claim, etc.

Passport Guide

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PASSPORTS WHEN PREPARING FOR A TAGLIT-BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL TRIP

General info

The first rule is that if you want to go on the trip, you should be in the possession of a valid passport. But that is not all. If you plan to go on let’s say a May trip, it is not enough that your passport should be valid till end May. It actually has to be valid another 6 whole months after the planned date of return. If you are scheduled for a June 15-25 trip for example, that would mean that your passport has to be valid till December 25! Renewing a passport takes 6-8 weeks, and getting your first passport may take even longer. Therefore, everybody who plans to go on a Birthright Israel trip should not wait till the registration date. You should take care of your passport now!

Registration

Come registration day you should have your passport available to you when you go online to fill out your registration. On the pre-registration page (or in the first section of the registration for returning applicants) you should enter your name as it is written in your passport. This includes that you should make sure you write your middle name if you have one. Please also check if your passport mentions you whole middle name or just the initial. If you are a married woman and your passport is still on your maiden name, you should use your maiden name. The rule is you should give your name precisely as it is in your passport. For USA and Israeli passports the expiration date is one day less than 5 or 10 years from the date the passport was issued, while for Canadian passports it is the same day of the year. An American passport issued on June 16, 2010 for example will typically be valid till June 15, 2020, while a Canadian passport issued on the same day will be valid till June 16, 2020. 

 Please be careful with this when you fill out the expiration date. What should you do if you do not have your passport with you on the day of registration, or, worse, you don’t have a valid passport at all? So, first of all, I repeat, you should already start worrying about this now. But you will have the option of choosing “NO/Not with me – will enter later”. If you choose that option, please don’t forget to log in to your registration and add your passport information as soon as you can! This avoids receiving alarming emails from Birthright Israel and us about missing passport information and how this will reduce your chances of being accepted for the trip… When you have successfully completed your registration, we will send you a link to the Ezra enrollment forms within a few days. 

Those forms give us the opportunity to come to know you in a slightly more personal way than the general Birthright Israel registration allows for. Among other things we will ask you to send us a picture of your passport. This is essential for us to verify your passport information and order your ticket. Please fill out all form completely and accurately, and if you skipped the upload page, come back to it as soon as you can.

Visas

If you are not (yet) an American citizen you can participate in the Birthright Israel trip, provided you are a resident of the US. In that case you can use the passport of the country you are a citizen of. All the rules mentioned above apply to foreign passports as well, including that you must spell your name the way it is written in your passport, even if you are used to Americanizing it. Likewise, the foreign passport has to be valid for 6 months after the expected date of return from Israel. American citizens do not need a visa for entry into Israel, and neither do citizens of the European Union countries, Russia, the Ukraine and numerous other countries. If you need a visa or not can be easily checked on the Internet, or you can ask us. If you have a US travel document and no other valid passport, you will need a visa. But if you have an American travel document and a valid passport of a country from which you do not need a visa, you will be able to enter Israel with that passport and do not need a visa for your US travel document. If you do need a visa, obtaining one is easy.

After you are assigned to a group, please ask us for a “visa letter”, which we will happily make for you usually within 5-30 minutes, together with a preliminary itinerary for your trip. With that visa letter and itinerary you can go to the Israeli consulate and you will usually receive your visa within 1-2 weeks. You should also bring your passport, GreenCard or US visa, 2 passport photos (2”x2”, white background) and a credit card (the visa costs $26). Please Google “Israeli Consulate” to find the location of the Israeli consulate closest to you.

General info

If you are Israeli and not also an American citizen, you can use your Israeli passport for travel. All the rules mentioned above apply to Israeli passports as well, including that you must spell your name the way it is written in your passport, even if you are used to Americanising it. Likewise, your Israeli passport has to be valid for 6 months after the expected date of return from Israel. Israelis should also take care to obtain from the Israeli consulate an army exempt letter. This letter has to come from the Israeli army in Israel, and that make take up to 2 months. Also note that the Israeli consulate will not renew any Israeli passport before it receives this letter from the Israeli army for the person seeking to renew his passport. 

In short, you should take care to request this letter in time! You must have a GreenCard to be able to return to the US. If you have dual American and Israeli citizenship, you must take care that both passports should be valid for 6 months after the expected date of return from Israel. You must enter and leave the US with your American passport, and Israel with your Israeli passport. You will also need an army exempt letter from the Israeli consulate. This letter has to come from the Israeli army in Israel, and that make take up to 2 months, so take care to request this letter in time! When filling out the Taglit-Birthright registration you should spell your name according to your American passport, and you should fill out the passport information of your American passport. Likewise, the passport you should upload in the Ezra enrolment forms is the American passport.

Last minute

GoEzra reserves the right to give preference to people who have shown that they are in possession of a valid passport… Nevertheless, sometimes there are unexpected cancellations, and then we need to assign people who may not be prepared.

 If after all our warnings you suddenly find yourself assigned to a trip without a valid passport, there exist offices that specialise in making expedited passports. This will cost some extra money, but the trip is worth it. These offices ask you to provide them with proof of the urgency of your expedited passport request. Please ask us for a “passport letter”, which we will happily make for you usually within 5-30 minutes. We can render this service only to people who are already assigned to a trip.

Be a part of a beautiful experience

Throughout the program, you will travel the country, exploring sites of historical, cultural, and religious significance. As you hike through Israel's panoramic landscape and natural reserves, you will discover a deep connection with the land and its beauty. Your Israeli peers will join you on your journey and introduce you to Israeli pop culture, music, and food. Talk to them. Learn what it’s like to live in Israel. And maybe, make a lifelong friend.