What is the procedure for granting status to foreign national spouses of Israelis, including same-sex spouse?
Global dating between foreign couples have become very common in recent decades, also in the State of Israel, which is part of the modern world, and especially due to the fact that the global state of Israel is considered as the migration state of Jews from all over the world, dating and relationships between Israeli citizens and foreign nationals who are not Jews have become very common phenomenon.
On the other hand, the State of Israel which has developed and became a part of the global economy, began to raise the standard of living for all residents and citizens, hence many Israelis see Israel as their home, but still, following the entry into Israel of hundreds of thousands of foreigners from various countries, who arrived to Israel under different circumstances, even for a one time visit of family etc., have created meetings, dating and relationships between the Israelis and foreigners who are not Jewish.
In addition, due to the growth and success of international dating sites, specializing in dating and connecting between partners from around the world, along with web sites like Facebook and similar in various languages, many connections and relationships created between Israelis and foreigners, including same-sex relationships.
Today there are many couples who are interested in regulating the status of their foreign spouse on the basis of living together, therefore, those Israeli citizens who decided to cast their lot and develop a relationship with a foreign national spouse, want to regulate the status of the foreign spouse on the basis of living together, a relationship which is classified as “cohabitation”.
Cohabitation gets increasingly recognized in Israeli law. The three main incentives for its formation and consolidation are “perceptions of welfare policy …, the severity of religious law in matters of marriage and divorce … and the objections of some of the public to religious marriage”. In this context, from shortly after the founding of the state, the Israeli legislator recognized cohabitation in numerous laws, primarily for granting social benefits and various material benefits.
Today, it is difficult to regulate the status of a foreigner spouse, who is in a romantic relationship with an Israeli citizen, no matter what the purpose of his stay, and whether it is legal or not.
The couple is able to choose one of two options:
The first is regulating the status of an foreign national spouse – living together in accordance with the procedure granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex, that is declaration in the Interior Ministry as a cohabiting couple. The process today is long and requires “proof of living together” and / or “proof of honesty/sincerity of the relationship” (see procedure for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex spouse).
Regulating the status of a foreign national spouse procedure – living together provides a long and complicated process, procedure known as “the graduated procedure”, which at the end of it, if the spouses successfully meet all the requirements which will be specified next, the foreign national spouse, in accordance with the procedure granting status to foreign national spouses of Israelis, including same-sex spouse, will get a permanent resident card, which is less stature than an Israeli citizenship.
At the beginning of the process of regulating the status of a foreign national spouse – living together, the partners are committed to bring “evidence for the sincerity of the couple’s relationship” – “proof of living together,” This proof requires many formal demands from the spouses, both the Israeli spouse and the foreign spouse. after the first phase, the interior ministry has another test in accordance with the procedure regulating the status of an foreign national spouse – living together, whereby is grilling the couple separately, in a process often extending over many hours for each partner, in which routine questions and puzzling questions are asked, in a procedure referred to by the Interior ministry, “a hearing”.
After the hearing, there are many cases, some of them mentioned in the procedure for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex spouses, known as a procedure regulating the status of an foreign national spouse, decides the Interior ministry whether to give the appropriate visa and / or transfer the case down to the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem for extensive inquiry and / or granting a refusal decision. The procedure of regulating the status of a foreign national spouse is long, takes many years, in which the couple undergoes an extension process every year, and at the end of the procedure the foreign national spouse is a permanent resident.
A second option is the decision of the couple to marry in a civil ceremony abroad (see procedure regulating the status of married couples). Parenthetically, our firm handles civil marriages in Israel (see the articles “civil marriage in Israel” – “Paraguay Marriage,” “El Salvador Marriage. Still, since this article deals with the procedure for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex, known as a procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse, we will focus only on this.
What is the difference between Israeli citizenship and a permanent resident?
There are several differences between an Israeli citizen and a permanent resident. Israeli citizenship – allowing different rights that a permanent resident does not receive:
A. the right to elect and be elected to the Knesset.
B. the right to hold an Israeli passport.
Permanent residence is considered to be a lower status and has fewer rights, but still allows, just like Israeli citizens, social security benefits such as unemployment benefit, income support, disability benefits and aging benefits.
Be clear that there is another fundamental difference between Israeli citizenship and permanent residence. When a permanent resident moves to settle in another country (or even without settling, if he remains there for several years in a row, depending on the circumstances), the permanent resident status expires.
Another thing, the children of permanent residents who were born in Israel, will not receive automatically the status in which their parents are, while the children of an Israeli citizen will.
The procedure for granting a status to spouses of Israelis, including same sex spouse – known as the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse:
The procedure regulating the status of a spouse has passed numerous changes and many vicissitudes, while the groundbreaking process was precisely due to the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse who is married to an Israeli. In the past, the Interior Ministry weirdly demanded that a foreign spouse married to an Israeli and interested in regulating their status in Israel, whether he/she stayed in Israel legally or not, requires foreign citizens to leave Israel.
As a result, numerous petitions were filed to the Supreme Court, and eventually these were merged in what is now known as the Stemka case. In these case the state argued that the procedure regulating the status of a foreign spouse married to an Israeli, created by the Interior Ministry is reasonable and proportional, however, the claims of the interior ministry rejected one by one and the procedure to demand that a spouse who is married to an Israeli will be forced to leave the country before the Interior Ministry conducts anything, revoked immediately.
Thus the Interior Ministry began to create serious discrimination between married couples, in accordance with the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse who is married to an Israeli citizen, and the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse – coexistence, and demanded from a foreign spouse living with Israeli citizen as part of a shared life, to leave Israel until the request will be examined by it in terms of “honesty and specificity of the couple’s relationship”.
Many petitions were filed in court against the interior ministry, these petitions to the Supreme Court were eventually consolidated to one petition known as the Oren case. This Court discussed the procedures for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex – procedure regulating the status of a foreign spouse. the Supreme Court eventually accepted all the petitions that were consolidated, and absorbed everything set by the supreme Court in the Stemka case, that discussed the procedure for a foreign spouse married to an Israeli and canceled the requirement that the foreign national spouse living shared life with an Israeli citizen, to leave Israel before the request of regulating his status will be examined.
By the way, the supreme court in the Oren case copied exactly what has been said by the supreme Court in the Stemka case, also about a foreign spouse staying in Israel illegally, because where the foreign spouse staying in the country illegally, the interior Ministry may impose on a couple evidentiary burden of proof higher than usual to proof honest relationship that is rising to the level of cohabiting relationships.
Thus, where a concern arises regarding a fictitious relationship, the interior Ministry may require the removal of the foreign spouse before completing examining his application, provided that the couple has a fair opportunity to present their arguments to the Interior Ministry.
The situation today:
The procedure for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex spouse, known as the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse:
today a foreign spouse who lives a cohabitating life with an Israeli citizen faces options according to the discretion of the interior Ministry, for temporary permits until permanent residence. Initially Interior Ministry officials examine the “sincerity and unique relationship” in order to see that the foreign national spouse living with an Israeli Citizen are having a cohabitating life, living together and their relationship is genuine. In addition, after the “query”, which is a security or criminal examination to the foreign national spouse and the Israeli citizen, the Interior Ministry will allow a temporary visa and thus begins the period known as the “graduated procedure”.
The “Graduated procedure” takes over seven years (and sometimes even longer), and it starts – as mentioned – on the day which the Interior Ministry official is satisfied that according to the procedure granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex, known as the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse – the couple presented themselves as spouses, indeed have “honest relationship” and “common center of life”.
After seven years and / or after the interior Ministry is satisfied, and of course in the absence of other prevention, the foreign spouse is permitted, as part of the procedures for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same sex, to apply for permanent resident status (in contrast to the procedure regulating the status of a foreigner married to an Israeli, where at the end of the procedure the couple could apply for naturalization of the foreign spouse in Israel at the end of the “graduated procedure” that lasts nearly five years).
The procedure for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex spouse, Known as the procedure regulating the status of a foreign national spouse – cohabiting life:
Due to the seniority and experience of our firm in handling thousands of cases of all kinds, some are more complex and some less complex – in the matter of regulating the status of a foreign national spouse living cohabiting life in front of the Interior Ministry officials in branches across the country, including the filing and managing procedures for an appeal, managing objections in front of objection committees, in which should be a procedure, which is supposedly legal objective procedure intended to annul and / or alter the decision of the Interior Ministry in the objection (Unfortunately, due to our vast experience in representation in this committees in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, our objective is unequivocal – the decisions of the objection committees are surprisingly extremely biased toward the Interior Ministry and against Citizens appellants.
In our experience, we feel that the objection committees does not commit a factual analysis of the objections themselves and legal objective analysis, primarily – a rubber stamp in a perfect order to the MOI decisions, and submission and management of administrative petitions to the supreme court and the administrative court – in recent years the amount of the refusal decisions of the MOI significantly increased, that is interior ministry is refusing couples without any substantial reasons, in grate violation of the Israeli spouse’s rights.
Managing requests for regulating the status of a foreign national spouse – cohabitation/shared life:
The essential problem lies in our sensations that there is a clearly biased policy of the Interior Ministry against the requests in accordance to the procedure granting the status for spouses of Israelis, including same-sex and / or a foreign spouse married to an Israeli.
the Interior Minister and his officials as his agents, in the Ministry of Interior – a government office responsible according to different rules for setting a policy, may at its discretion make decisions regarding to the procedure for granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same sex spouse.
Thus, in practice, as mentioned above, the Ministry of Interior is being difficult and delaying the process, and has bizarre demands in various excuses against a foreign spouse living with an Israeli. Spouses very often give up and lose hope due to the delaying and strange procedures. Many difficulties emerged in order to reject foreigners and prevent them from visa, which is when the substance of the requirement is to prevent minority who seek to exploit the claim of “relationship” including non-spouses, from receiving permanent residence. Rather we should note that even in the US immigration administration there are similar difficulties, in order to prevent impostors spouses from receiving a citizenship.
As part of the Interior Ministry rigorous tests, he does not give importance to the declaration of the couple on the sincerity of the relationship and their relationship. Thus, as noted above, the Interior Ministry does a cross and extensive investigation to each partner, interrogation lasting for hours, while often asking irrelevant questions (We note that our office representing regularly investigations such as these, was shocked to hear questions that there is no chance that the spouse knows, and that sometimes can lead to rejection from the Interior Ministry). So in many cases the Interior Ministry held firm in saying that he believes the couple’s relationship is not genuine, and the ordinary citizen does not have the tools, the right legal or factual to attack the decision of the Ministry of the Interior (Please note that it is crucial to manage the process properly).
In our opinion, it is crucial to have a professional legal guidance by a professional attorney experienced in the managing this kind of cases, which can show proven record success of cases in front of the Interior Ministry, in order to transfer the couple through this complexed process well, and achieve absolute success chances. It is very important to manage the process properly from the beginning, which usually ensures the success of the procedure without having to appeal or go through objection committees, filing petitions to the Supreme Courts or Administrative Court.
Another problem, as part of the process for granting a status to a cohabiting foreign spouse (giving legal status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex) the MOI severely discriminating foreigners living in coexistence with Israeli citizens, not allowing them to submit an application in accordance with this procedure if they have a minor companion (of course not a child from Israeli spouse), however in the procedure regulating the status of the spouse who is married to an Israeli, Interior Ministry allow to apply for a minor companion.
By the way, usually an interesting question arises, what is minor? The Interior Ministry has decided that from the age of 15 years-old and above the request will be problematic and subject to the discretion of the Ministry of Interior and generally tend not to be considered as a minor (To do so the couple should prepare for a legal battle with the MOI through our office).
Moreover, there is a problem in the case where a foreign national is in the process of separation from her spouse in Israel, and started a new relationship with another Israeli, when it can not be stated as part of the request to regulate the status of the foreign national’s children, since children’s status can be regulated only in marriage. In this case, as soon as the foreign national spouse has been separated from her Israeli husband, before divorcing him, she and her children are no longer entitled to any rights and the children can be thrown out of school and immediately cancel their status and they will be exposed to the risk of expulsion.
In conclusion, we note that there are problems and difficult questions that arise with the Ministry of Interior as part of the procedures for granting status to foreign spouses of Israelis, including same-sex. We can’t surround all of them here in the article, written to give a basic understanding of the process of the Interior Ministry complexity. The firm has an extensive experience in multiple plates representing thousands of different cases with the Ministry of Interior. Our office would be happy to meet with you and resolve and / or answer any question or problem of any kind occurring – specifically with the Ministry of the Interior.
The expertise of attorney David Angel’s firm:
As mentioned above, most of the cases, according to the procedure granting status to spouses of Israelis, including same-sex, are complex and complicated. Due to the many problems that may occur and the risk of a refusal and expulsion of the foreign national spouse from Israel by the Ministry of Interior, Attorney David Angel’s firm is considered the leader in its field and has extensive experience and a highly success rate: dealings with the Interior Ministry and against the refusal decision of the Ministry of Interior and appeal procedures, while representation and attacking the Interior Ministry decision to obtain various committees, in the Administrative Court and Supreme Court petitions.
Law firm of David Angel has practical experience and knowledge with proven success in addressing and solving all the various complex problems arises while regulating the status of a foreign national spouse – cohabitation.
David Angel law firm has great successes in the field. Until today the firm handled thousands of cases with the Ministry of the Interior for couples wanted to regularize the status of the foreign spouse, both in the Interior Ministry and in the courts. David Angel’s law firm firmly handles decisions engaged in the Interior Ministry and their cancellation in the various courts for over a decade and operates for its customers to realize all their rights under the law and allow the couple to live together with a legal visa silently and safely in Israel.
David Angel law firm provides support and representation against the Interior Ministry in providing visa for a foreign national spouse which is a foreign citizen married to an Israeli citizen * briefing and guidance before discussions at the Interior Ministry * briefing before polling Interior Ministry briefing document preparation * * Preparation of documents * representation *.