Schedule and Requirements
Volunteers for Israel offers 1- 2- and 3-week IDF Base Programs throughout the year. Volunteers wishing to arrange longer service should inquire in advance.
SAR-EL requires ALL volunteers on ALL programs to arrive at the Meeting Place in Ben-Gurion Airport no later than 12 noon on the Sunday program start date.
Volunteers who arrive late and miss their bus are responsible for making their own arrangements to get to the base, and at their own expense. If flights are missed or delayed, volunteers must immediately email the SAR-EL office at for assistance, and provide their new flight and arrival times.
NOTE: Bases do not accept arrivals after 6pm.
THEREFORE, TO AVOID ARRIVING LATE AT THE MEETING PLACE, VFI STRONGLY ADVISES YOU TO PLAN TO ARRIVE IN ISRAEL BEFORE THE SUNDAY START DATE.
On the program start date, SAR-EL meets and transports volunteers to their bases. See the Transportation Section of VFI’s Program Handbook for additional details.
Organized groups of 10 or more may start any Sunday and do a 1-, 2- or 3- week program.
Birthright extensions may start any Sunday immediately after the end of the Birthright trip.
Do not book your flights until you have been approved for a program, unless you plan to travel to Israel anyway.
After you are accepted to the program, you are responsible for booking your flight to Israel and filling out the Travel Form that is part of your Application package. If you want to compare airline prices, we recommend that you consult with a local travel agent or check online for a complete list of the airlines that fly into Ben-Gurion Airport.
Passport and Visa Requirements
If possible, you should renew your passport approximately nine (9) months before it expires. To enter Israel, you must have a passport valid for at least six months after your departure date. Therefore, for a typical 3-week program you should have 7+ months remaining on your passport. Some airlines will not allow you to board if this requirement is not met. For most U.S. citizens, a tourist visa is not required unless you plan to stay in Israel longer than 90 days.