In order to immigrate legally and legitimately to Israel one must meet the conditions defined by Israeli law (more precisely 3 main laws). Below we will present the options for immigrating to Israel according to the same laws and procedures as well as the options for staying in Israel that are granted through residence visas.
Immigration to Israel – Introduction:
The State of Israel does not actually have a regulated and methodical immigration policy, which sometimes creates difficulties in understanding, interpreting and applying the existing rules. The current situation is that in the State of Israel there are essentially three main immigration laws, and by virtue of those laws, there are many procedures designed to respond to various individual cases.
It must be remembered that the purpose of the immigration laws is to allow the State of Israel, as a sovereign state, the right to regulate the entry and exit from it, and as a result, the permanent stay. Every country in the world regulates by itself, through its internal laws, the immigration laws relevant to it. It is also important to note that the State of Israel is very unique, unlike most countries in the world. The State of Israel is the sovereign state of the Jewish people, therefore in the State of Israel there is a special law that allows every Jew in the world to immigrate to Israel, this is therefore the Law of Return which we will expand on later. Such laws do not necessarily exist in most countries.
The laws that regulate immigration to Israel:
There are three main immigration laws that regulate (or at least strive to regulate) the immigration procedures for the country:
– The Citizenship Law.
– Law of Return (“Shvut Law”).
– Law of entry into Israel.
These three laws, as a rule, are the relevant laws for those who want to immigrate to the State of Israel. It is important to emphasize that by virtue of those laws, there are many procedures that regulate the law regarding immigration in special cases, as we will explain below.
A central law that makes up the fabric of immigration to the State of Israel is the Citizenship Law. The law determines the ways in which a person can become a citizen of the State of Israel (and by virtue of this actually have the opportunity to live in Israel without hindrance).
The Citizenship Law states that citizenship in Israel is made only by virtue of this law. It lists the ways in which one can become a citizen in the State of Israel:
Naturalization by virtue of the Law of Return – Citizenship in Israel can be made by virtue of the Law of Return.
Naturalization by virtue of living in Israel – refers to those who lived in Israel even before the establishment of the state (section 3 of the law).
Naturalization by birth – a person who is born in the State of Israel, and one of his parents is an Israeli citizen, will become an Israeli. Likewise, citizenship is bought by virtue of adoption. That is, parents who adopt a minor as part of an international adoption become an Israeli citizen (section 4a of the law).
Naturalization by virtue of naturalization – citizenship in the State of Israel can be made by virtue of naturalization. Naturalization is a process in which, in most cases, the applicant for citizenship must stay in the country for a period of at least five years, of which he is physically present in the country, the applicant for citizenship must know the Hebrew language, and also be entitled to permanent residency in the country. The applicant for citizenship must also show that he has settled or intends to settle in the State of Israel. Citizenship is granted from the moment of a declaration by the applicant for citizenship, and of course after a very long process of examination by the Ministry of the Interior, an examination that includes a series of checks designed to verify that the applicant for citizenship is doing so for justified and decent reasons (and not trying to deceive the state just in order to settle in it and gain the rights it grants to its citizens).
It should be noted that the Minister of the Interior has the authority to grant citizenship and exempt the citizenship applicant from the conditions required for citizenship, in special cases such as for example – when it is a foreign resident who served in the IDF, and more.
Naturalization by virtue of marriage – Section 7 of the Citizenship Law allows the spouse of an Israeli citizen to become a naturalized citizen in the State of Israel, after a complex process, which we will explain later. The same is true for “known in public”, and not just formally married couples.
Naturalization by virtue of the grant on behalf of the Minister of the Interior – another way to obtain Israeli citizenship is by virtue of the grant. That is, the Minister of the Interior has the authority to grant citizenship in certain cases, as well as in cases where the applicant for citizenship is a person who identifies with the State of Israel or has carried out actions to promote the economy or security or another important matter of the State of Israel.
Obtaining Israeli citizenship by virtue of naturalization, by virtue of marriage or by law of return or grant on behalf of the Minister of the Interior – is more complex to perform from a material and technical point of view (requires compliance with procedures and ongoing checks on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior), and is therefore usually carried out under the representation of immigration lawyers to Israel.
Law of Return (Shvut Law) :
As mentioned – the Law of Return grants every Jew, wherever he is, the right to immigrate to Israel, and become a citizen of the State of Israel. Those who immigrate to Israel by virtue of the Law of Return, do so initially with an immigrant visa and are then granted citizenship almost automatically. The Law of Return gives every Jew the right to immigrate to Israel as well as his wife and children.
At the same time, Section 2 of the law gives the Minister of the Interior the option to prevent immigration to Israel under certain circumstances. For example, when there is a fear that the immigrant will harm public peace, security, or whether it is a person who has acted or is still acting against the Jewish people.
in fact, a Jew, in accordance with the Law of Return, in Section 4b, is defined as a person who converted or was born to a Jewish mother, and is not a member of another religion.
The Law of Entry into Israel:
The Law of Entry into Israel is a law that regulates the law regarding entering and leaving Israel. Moreover, the Law on Entry into Israel states as mentioned above that entry into Israel and stay shall be done by virtue of a residence visa, as stated in Section 1 of the Law on Entry into Israel: “(a) Anyone who is not an Israeli citizen, shall enter Israel on the basis of an immigrant visa or on the basis of a visa according to this law. (b) Anyone who is not an Israeli citizen or a holder of an immigrant visa or an immigrant certificate, will have his stay in Israel according to a staying license according to this law.”
Section 2 of the law determines what types of visas there are. there is a visa that gives a person the right to stay in Israel for three months, or a period of up to three years, and even for several days, depending on the interest and need. It is very important to note that the Minister of the Interior has the authority to extend residence permits in Israel, in accordance with his discretion and the criteria set forth in the Entry into Israel Law. The Minister of the Interior is given a fairly broad discretion, that broad discretion also received in the ruling of the Supreme Court.
The Minister of the Interior was also authorized and to prohibit entry into Israel, or in some cases also condition entry into Israel, with guarantees or other conditions. The Minister of the Interior also has the authority to cancel an entry visa to Israel. In accordance with Section 12 of the Law on Entry into Israel, entering Israel illegally or staying in Israel without a visa or after the expiration of the residence visa is a criminal offense.
Residence visas in Israel:
By virtue of the aforementioned laws, every person who comes to Israel and stays there, either permanently or temporarily, does so by virtue of a specific residence visa he received from the state. The rule of the subject concerning stay visas in Israel is fixed in the regulations for entry into Israel, 1974.
The residence visas in Israel consist of two groups. The first group includes the stay visas of the “visit” type, they are always marked with the letter “b”. The second group includes the temporary stay visas, these visas are marked with the letter “a”.
As for the first group, the residence visas are as follows – a visa that was one is a type B\1 visa, this visa is a visa that is granted to foreign workers, and it gives them the opportunity to work in the country and nothing more. This is a visa that is of course limited in time. A visa that was additional, is a visa that was type B/2, which is actually a tourist visa, as we as Israelis receive in foreign countries. This visa is usually limited to three months, during which a person can stay in the country. Another visa is a type B\3 visa. This visa is usually granted to people whose status in the country is complex. Such as, for example, people who seek to regulate their temporary status in Israel due to marriage, and more. Usually this visa is relatively time limited (usually a month). Another residence visa, of the visit type, is a visa B\4, this visa is granted to people who come to Israel to volunteer. Like for example, young people who come for a period to volunteer in kibbutzim or other places. We note that this visa gives the possibility only to volunteer, and certainly not to work in the country. Another visa, is a type B/5 visa, and it is granted to people who wish to invest money in Israel, come to Israel and stay there for a period of time. By virtue of this visa, the resident in the country can also allow his children to come to the country and stay in his presence, a visa that his children or his spouse will receive is called a type B\52 visa. So far, we have dealt with visit visas, that is, visas intended for a specific purpose, or for a limited visit.
“Temporary” type visas, i.e. visas that grant the right to stay in Israel for longer periods, are visas that are usually granted to people who wish to immigrate to Israel, and are in the midst of a phase of regularizing their status or checking their status or the citizenship process. It can be said that this visa is the milestone before completing the immigration process to Israel. And these are the types of visas:
– A/1 visa. This visa is granted to those who are entitled to immigrate to Israel by virtue of the Law of Return. This is actually a visa that is granted to an immigrant, and it allows him to stay in the country for a certain period of time, until official immigration. this visa is granted to people who are entitled to immigrate to Israel, but still wish to settle their affairs in their country before making an official aliyah. Those who receive a type A/1 visa can both work in Israel and receive social services.
– Visa type A/2 Student visa – This visa is a visa that is granted to people who come to Israel to study at an academic institution.
-Visa A/4 – Parent visit visa. This visa allows the parents of those who are staying in Israel by virtue of the A/2 visa to come to Israel for a visit.
B/3 – This is a visa that is granted to clerics who come to Israel to fulfill a religious role in a certain institution.
A/5 visa – this is a visa that is granted to those who are in Israel at the stage of regularizing their status and immigrating to Israel. Such as, for example, someone who is married to an Israeli citizen and seeks to regulate his status by virtue of the citizenship law. This is a visa for a temporary stay in Israel (usually between one and three years that can be extended after submitting an orderly application). It is important to note that a type A/5 visa gives its holder the right to work in Israel – and this is a critical matter. Inferior only compared to a permanent visa and is in fact the “bridge” visa for obtaining permanent status later.
Immigrate to Israel by virtue of being married to an Israeli citizen
Immigration by virtue of marriage to an Israeli spouse
Paying attention to the aforementioned provision of Section 5 of the Citizenship Law, the possibility to immigrate to Israel by virtue of marriage is granted. Marriage does not actually grant a person citizenship in Israel. To that end, full status regulation in Israel and recognition by the Ministry of the Interior is necessary.
Regarding married couples, there is a procedure in the Ministry of the Interior called “the handling procedure for granting status to a foreign spouse married to an Israeli citizen”.
In order to approve the recognition, a complete process needs to be completed at the Ministry of the Interior, which includes proving the nature of the marital relationship, the sincerity of the marital relationship, all this in order to prevent unlawful exploitation of the institution of marriage.
According to the marriage procedure at the Ministry of the Interior, it is possible to regulate the status of a spouse married to an Israeli citizen after an examination that includes an interview, the presentation of evidence and documents attesting to the very nature of the marriage and the sincerity of the relationship. Sometimes you also have to pass a security check. After that, the couple is transferred to the “staged procedure”. As part of the graduated procedure, the nature of the relationship will be examined for 3-5 years, when citizenship will finally be granted to the applicant for the status.
First, the applicant is granted a residence permit in Israel (visitor’s visa) type B/1 for six months. In addition, a license for a type A/5 temporary residence that can be renewed annually for up to a period of four years. Finally, when the procedure is successfully completed, he is given the status of a citizen.
Immigration to Israel for publicly known spouses (“Yeduim Bezibur”):
The citizenship law provides the possibility to regulate the status of spouses, among other things when we are dealing with married couples as well as when we are dealing with couples who are known as “publicly known” (“Yeduim Bezibur”) . For the population known to the public there is a separate procedure, called “Procedure for handling the granting of status to spouses of Israelis, including members of the same sex”.
The procedure regulates the procedure required to regulate the status of a person whose spouse is an Israeli citizen.
Here, too, it is necessary to prove that the relationship between the couple is an honest one. Therefore, initially an application supported by many documents must be submitted, after which the spouses undergo an interview. At the end of the first stage, the couple is transferred to a “staged procedure”.
It is important to note that publicly known couples are examined in a stricter manner by the Ministry of the Interior, in light of the fact that it is not a marriage but only a marital relationship, which Relying on it, the spouse requests to become a citizen of Israel.
The main difference found between the procedure for publicly known and married couples seeking permanent civil status in Israel is the length of the first stage of the relationship examination at the Ministry of the Interior. The relationship is examined in a more thorough and intrusive way by the Authority, and more official documents are required from the spouses, and as part of this, the foreign spouse is granted a B/1 visa – a residence and work visa in Israel for about three years compared to only six months for a married couple. Only after the Ministry of the Interior is convinced Over a long period of time, because it is an honest marital relationship, it is possible to move forward to the visa you had established and later to official citizenship.
Parental immigration – humanitarian visa: procedure for an elderly parent
A permanent visa does not have to be granted only to spouses, but also in some cases to the parents of an Israeli citizen who live with their child in a foreign country. In such cases, there is permission for humanitarian reasons to allow an elderly parent to come to Israel in order to spend the rest of his life with his child who lives in Israel. This is a visa known as a “humanitarian visa“. The procedure is called the “elderly parent procedure”.
“The procedure for regulating the status of an elderly and single parent of an Israeli citizen” regulates the procedure for obtaining a permanent residence visa in Israel, in cases of an elderly parent. Generally, according to the procedure, it is necessary for the elderly parent (as a prerequisite) to be 64 years of age or older (for men) or 62 or older (for women). note that according to the procedure, even if an official request to regulate the status of an elderly parent was rejected at the Ministry of the Interior, there is a possibility to contact a special committee for humanitarian affairs (the inter-ministerial committee for humanitarian affairs) in order to re-discuss and obtain a humanitarian visa according to the law.
Importance of consulting with an immigration lawyer:
The immigration laws to Israel consist, as we saw above, of a number of laws that are integrated with each other and complement each other. In light of this, and in view of the fact that the state is piling up significant difficulties and real obstacles by placing various bureaucratic and substantial obstacles before those who wish to immigrate to it, there is real importance in professional representation by a lawyer specializing in immigration to Israel.
Lawyer David Angel has been dealing exclusively with immigration to Israel, obtaining Israeli citizenship and regulating legal status in Israel for over 20 years. To our credit are thousands of cases that have been successfully completed, practical experience of great value and many recommendations from clients that has been represented by us.
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