Furniture, books, clothing, linens, kitchen utensils, pictures, decorations, media, and general “personal effects”.
Congratulations on your decision to come home to Israel! This exciting experience is well worth it. We hope that the following guide, which has been specifically written for returning Israeli residents, will make your Toshav Hozer shipping experience as smooth as possible.
If you are an Israeli citizen who has been living outside of Israel more than two years, and have spent less than 120 days per year in Israel, you can qualify as a Toshav Hozer of six + years.
This allows you to bring in two “Toshav Hozer” shipments within nine months of your return. Before your shipment can be cleared, you must go to customs (“Meches”) with your Israeli passport, ID card (“Teudat Zehut”), foreign passports (if any) and rental contract or housing agreement. Meches will stamp your passport and enter you and the rights you are entitled to, into the computer system.
Furniture, books, clothing, linens, kitchen utensils, pictures, decorations, media, and general “personal effects”.
One of each type of appliance or electronic equipment plus 2 TVs and 2 computers. (These are for household use, not office equipment such as a fax).
Toshvim Hozerim are entitled to tax-discounted cars if they have been overseas more than 6 years. In any case, they can import a car up to four years old from date of manufacture.
All goods imported with rights must stay in your possession for six years from the date of import or depreciated taxes must be paid to Meches. (A car must stay in your possession for five years).
There has been a lot of news, and in fact, many reductions in the Israeli Import tax structure. The government estimates several hundred million NIS to be saved as a result of these reductions.
But what does this mean to an individual considering doing Aliya Shipping?
Sadly, very little.
The reductions for general household goods are applicable for a variety of items, and in the range of 1.5%-2%. While this will slightly lower store prices, it will be off-set by inflation or slightly higher profit margins for distributors and retailers. The difference is not enough to change the decision of importing furniture or appliances, or buying them locally in Israel.
– High Quality wood or leather furniture makes a lot of sense to import, so if you’re thinking Broyhill or Stickley, Lane or Barcalounger, the answer is: import.
– If you want a 30 inch wide (standard American size) freestanding range (GE JGBP), or a 30 inch built in oven (or larger), then by all means, import.
– If you want anything by Dacor, Viking, or Subzero, import.
– For a TV of over 40 inches, import. (Sony, Toshiba, Pioneer, Panasonic)
– Side-by-side refrigerators are still worth bringing in.
– Lastly, the full-sized US washer and Dryer are worth importing, for higher end models.
When planning your Toshav Hozer shipping, it helps to possess a general knowledge of the international shipping industry.
This list of terms will help you understand the estimate you receive, as well as some common Hebrew terms regarding Toshav Hozer shipping and procedures.
Americans and Canadians in Israel. A private organization which assist Olim in the pre- and post aliya process.
This refers to the pick-up and destination. There are limits on the allowed distance from the truck to the front door, and how many flights of steps are “free” before “long access” charges are applied.
A subcontractor working for another company. For example, Sonigo is based in Israel, however we have agents all over the world.
A solid wood box custom built to protect the contents (artwork, Plasma TV, Piano) during transit.
The process of submitting the paperwork to Meches, paying import duties, and receiving permission to remove the goods from the secure port facility or bonded warehouse.
A private organization which assists Olim with Aliya Shipping
Declaration for Customs Your declaration to Customs stating the contents of your shipment and its depreciated value.
The value of the goods you are shipping, after depreciation, as reported to Meches.
The rental charge for sea containers, past what is included in the cost of sea freight (4 days are included).
When Aliya Shipment container travels on only one boat.
English Speaking Residents Association. A private organization which assist English Speakers in Israel.
Estimated time of arrival (When the boat arrives at destination).
Estimated time of departure (When the boat leaves the origin port).
The most select group of international shipping companies. Companies must meet stringent requirements to be Fidi Faim and are regularly audited by Ernst and Young.
Events that can’t be controlled, such as war, strike, natural disaster.
Professional packers pack everything. This is the standard in international shipping.
Less than Container Load (also Consolidation).
A generic term for an import, regardless of size.
A wooden box, roughly 200 cubic feet used for LCL (Consolidated) shipments to secure goods for travel, and to keep one persons goods separate from other cargo in the same container.
The practice of loading goods into the sea container without first loading them into lift-vans or palletizing the goods. Standard for FCL Loads.
Value Added Tax (VAT). Similar to sales tax, this is applied to most goods and services in Israel.
The big metal box that gets loaded onto the ship. All household goods are loaded into sea containers before being shipped.
Insurance covering your goods in Transit. This should include the period from packing to unloading, with allowances for storage.
Both the Customs Authority and term used for import duties of any kind Nefesh B’Nefesh – A private organization which assists Olim in pre- and post aliya processes.
New Immigrant to Israel under the Law of Return.
Shrink Wrapping goods to a pallet. This is used for LCL (Consolidated) shipments to secure the goods for travel, and to keep one person’s goods separate from other cargo in the same container.
Professional packers pack only breakables. This can sometimes (rarely) save some money, but there are insurance limitations.
This free and vital service is when the shipping company sends a professional estimator to your home to check volume, access, and packing needs.
The person doing the Aliya Shipping.
This document shows that you have made Aliya, and is required for clearing your goods as a tax-free Aliya Shipment.
Israeli Identification card.
Also Destination Port Fees. Fees paid to the port facilities for services rendered.
The Jewish Agency. You must contact the Jewish Agency before making Aliya.
When your Aliya Shipment container travels on more than one boat.
The parent company of Mayflower and United Van Lines, with agents all over the globe
The size of your shipment. Aliya Shipping is primarily done by sea, and charges are based on volume.
We recommend that you start to plan your Toshav Hozer shipping 60-90 days in advance. Start by going through the house and determining the following:
– What you have to take with you
– What you will not take with you
– What would be nice to take along, but you aren’t sure.
Shipping is expensive, so don’t send something just because you own it. Many Toshavim Hozerim move to smaller apartments here in Israel than the ones in their country of origin, and many apartments in Israel have limited storage space. Many Israeli apartments don’t even have closets, although in newer housing, closets are more common.
Once you have a rough idea of what is being shipped, contact us, and we will give a very rough estimate based on your description. This will give you an idea of how much items will cost to ship based on their volume. Obviously, if you can buy an item in Israel for less than it costs to ship, don’t ship it.
The next step is to ask us for a free visual survey. This is the only way to get an accurate estimate. Ultimately, you will pay for the volume of what you are shipping.
When comparing estimates, we recommend that you read the entire estimate. Note that many companies not based in Israel will not include Terminal Handling Charges (Destination Port Charges) in the “Door-to-door” total. “Door-to-port” or “Port-to-port” estimates almost never include them, even though you will need to pay these fees.
If you are shipping an FCL (Full Container Load) you are only allowed two – four days of free storage and demurrage (container rental charges) before expensive daily charges start to accumulate. This means we must start the customs clearing process as soon as the ship arrives, and we must have your Toshav Hozer Shipping documents before the ship arrives. You also must be able to accept delivery on one day’s notice (as we try to deliver the day following customs clearance). If this is not practical, let your Toshav Hozer Shipping Specialist know before pick-up. It may make sense to ship as an LCL (less than container load) if you need storage.
International shipping is very competitive, so if you get an estimate based on a visual survey that is (or seems) less than our estimate, let us know and we may be able to point out why there seems to be a difference in cost. It could be because one estimate is indeed less than the other, or that one estimate is more inclusive of costs which you will need to pay.
One way or the other, Sonigo International will do everything within its powers to be competitive and ship your Toshav Hozer shipments!
Next, go and get references. Don’t only ask the company (although we can provide references on request); ask friends and colleagues that have shipped to Israel. All of the above groups mentioned in “Toshav Hozer Shipping Terms” are good sources of recommendations.
Now that you’ve chosen your pick-up date, it’s time to get ready for the crew to show up. Please follow these simple steps:
Notify us of any items you will be buying that will be shipped directly to our warehouse, BEFORE the store sends them. This way we will know to add them to your Aliya Shipment.
If you choose to insure your goods while shipping for aliya, make the itemized insurance list in advance. It is easier to make this list while the goods are visible and unpacked.
If you are packing your own goods, make sure boxes are packed before the crew arrives. For owner packed goods, number each box and write the contents of each box on a numbered packing list.
Before the crew arrives, separate and mark (ie. with a big X on a sheet of paper) what is staying from what is being shipped. You will not have time, while our crew is there, to sort the items. Make it as clear as possible, for example “Everything in this room goes, everything in that room stays” or “Everything on this side of the big rope goes, everything on that side of the big rope stays”.
Keep the entire day available. Even if you are only shipping a small amount of goods, it makes sense to be ready early. This is a good day to send pets and small children to a neighbor’s house. Have plenty of cold water and a bathroom available for the packing crew.
Before the packers leave, take a look around to make sure they packed everything they were supposed to, and nothing they were not supposed to. Once the crew has left, they can only come back for a fee.
Tips are never expected, always appreciated. As a rough guideline, figure 100-120 NIS per man (or the local currency equivalent). In New York City, tips are $6-$8 per man per hour.
If you have any questions or problems during pick-up, call your Sonigo Toshav Hozer Shipping Specialist while the crew is there. If it is after office hours, call our direct cell phone, and we will promptly call you back to save the phone charges.
If you are shipping a FCL (Full Container Load) you are only allowed 2 – 4 days of free storage and demurrage (container rental charges) before expensive daily charges start to accumulate. This means we must start the customs clearing process as soon as the ship arrives, and we must have your Toshav Hozer Shipping documents before the ship arrives. You also must be able to accept delivery on one day’s notice (as the day we clear customs is the day before we will want to deliver). If this is not practical, let your Toshav Hozer Shipping Specialist know before pick-up.
LCL loads receive thirty days of free storage. Port facilities are fine for short term storage, but not for storage of over 30-60 days. If your Toshav Hozer shipping needs require long-term storage, Sonigo suggests storing in our secure, clean, alarmed warehouse after clearing customs.
Go to “Meches” with the documents listed below and have them stamp your passport as “Toshav Hozer”.
• ID card (“Teudat Zehut”) for you and your spouse
• Israeli Passport for you and your spouse
• Foreign Passports (if applicable) for you and your spouse
With your stamped passport, you will need to meet with our representative in Ashdod, Haifa or Jerusalem to complete the Customs paperwork. Customs requires your original signature on their documents, so unfortunately we cannot do this process via fax or email.
1. Teudat Zehut for you and your spouse
2. Israel Passport picture page for you and your spouse
3. Toshav Hozer stamp
4. Foreign passport picture page (if applicable) for you and your spouse
6. Receipts for new items
5. Proof of residence – i.e. copy of your lease or housing agreement
1. Signed Limited Power of Attorney (we will supply this – you don’t need a lawyer for this, all you need to do is sign).
2. Signed and completed Customs Declaration Form (we will supply and help you fill it out).
3. Signed and completed delivery instruction sheet (we will supply and help you fill it out).
The Israel Tax Authority considers it very important to improve and streamline the service provided to its customers.
The online information and services center (NCO) of the Tax Authority is available to the public for a professional response,
Efficient and accessible.
Once your Toshav Hozer shipping has cleared customs, we receive the “Gate Pass” allowing us to remove the shipment from the port. Unless you tell your Sonigo Toshav Hozer Shipping Specialist otherwise, we will want to deliver your goods as soon as possible.
Keep the day clear, even if you have a small shipment. Once again, this is a good day to send the kids/pets to a neighbor’s house.
Before the crew arrives, number each room. While not everyone speaks every language, everyone understands 1, 2, 3. Tape a piece of paper to each door, or on an easily visible wall, with the room number on it.
Have plenty of cold water and a bathroom available for the delivery crew.
Have one person stand by the back of the truck and “tick” off each number (on the box) as it comes off the truck.
Have one person at the house entrance (not blocking the way, of course) telling the crew in which room number each piece goes.
Note any visible damage on the delivery receipt.
If you have any questions or problems during delivery, call your Sonigo Toshav Hozer Shipping Specialist while the crew is there. If it is after office hours, call our direct cell phone, and we will promptly call you back to save the phone charges.
Once the goods are delivered, you have 30 days to notify us of any damages in order to place an insurance claim.
Check all boxes and let us know if anything has been damaged. In the event more than one item was damaged, you may file only one claim for all items.
Even if you don’t have your exact flying date, we can perform the visual estimate.
We can pick up and even ship your goods without a final destination. Obviously we can’t deliver the goods without a final destination. Please ask your Toshav Hozer specialist for more details.
UTS Insurance specifies goods be insured for “Replacement Value at Destination” so you should insure your goods for what it would cost to buy a new one here in Israel. If you have no idea of prices here in Israel, ask your Toshav Hozer Specialist for online stores, or general guidelines for price differences.
Our terms are pretty strict, however please let your Toshav Hozer Specialist know which organization is supplying the grant or loan. Chances are good we can work with them to help you with shipping for Toshav Hozer. Ultimately, however, the final payment is due before delivery, so please make sure you have the ability to pay before you ship.
As part of Israel’s ongoing efforts to encourage more Israelis to return to Israel, the Ministries of Absorption and Finance announced a 10 year exemption from all taxes on foreign income, both passive and active. Furthermore, returning residents and new immigrants (“olim hadashim”) will not have to report foreign assets or income during this 10 year period.
This new allowance applies to returning residents (“Toshavim Hozrim”) who have been overseas for 10 years and new immigrants (“Olim Hadashim”). This change is designed to increase the financial incentives to relocate to Israel. Considered a revolutionary change, this joins other promotions directed to Toshvim Hozrim and Olim Hadashim.
In addition, Toshavim Hozrim may elect to receive a one year ‘settling in’ period in which they will remain classified as foreign residents and not be subject to Israeli taxation. At the end of the settling in year, they will be subject to Israeli taxation. The 10 year exemption will start from the date they arrived even if they elected to receive the one year settling in period.
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