Aliyah of a minor to Israel
Immigrating to Israel is never easy, particularly for anyone making Aliyah as a minor. Whether they are children moving with their families or teenagers emigrating on their own, minors may require assistance in finding a place to live, learning Hebrew, finding a suitable school, etc. It is important to know that Israel offers various assistance programs for minors making aliyah in order to help them acclimate to the country. In this article, an expert immigration attorney from our office provides information on the benefits associated with the aliyah of a minor.
Our offices, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specialize in Israeli immigration law. Attorneys from our offices offer legal advice and assistance on issues such as obtaining legal status in Israel; procedures of aliyah to Israel for minors, families and adults; benefits for olim (new immigrants to Israel); and more.
Numbers of olim are on the rise
Media reports show that we are in a period when aliya to Israel is flourishing. Accordingly, this is a good opportunity to provide updates on the legal arrangements required for aliyah and the rights reserved for new olim, especially minor olim. Unfortunately, in many cases new olim are unaware of all the rights granted them by the state of Israel, so they do not always make use of them.
In this article we review the legal position and rights for minor olim. For information on the rights of adult olim (over the age of 18) and olim in general, see this article on our site. In order to find out which rights are relevant for you and what you must do in order to take full advantage of them, it is always recommended to seek the assistance of an attorney who specializes in Israeli immigration law.
What are the difficulties and challenges unique to minor olim?
Israel is a country that encourages immigration, and this applies to minors as well. Olim of all ages and from all countries share eligibility for aliyah under the Law of Return. However, there are major differences between minor olim and adult olim. Acclimatization issues characterize the experience of every new oleh, to some degree. But the processes of creating a new social framework, learning the language, etc., are often more challenging for young people than for adults.
Likewise, there is a big difference between minor olim who move to Israel with their families and those who come alone as teenagers, through programs such as Naale. Those who make aliyah with their families have a familiar framework which eases their acclimatization in Israel. Those who come alone, even if they live with members of their extended family (for instance grandparents or aunts/uncles), usually require more assistance. Therefore, their rights differ from those of minors who make aliyah together with their immediate families.
Who are considered “olim”?
The Ministry of Aliyah and Integration has set out rules and regulations regarding the various rights reserved for olim, based on different categories. The definition of minor olim is divided into two categories: (1) those who made aliyah without their parents between the ages of 14-17 and received an oleh visa from the Population Authority; (2) those who made aliyah before the age of 14 and lived in a boarding school during their first year in Israel. Besides these two, there is third definition: a child of olim, which applies to those who made aliyah as minors together with their parents.
What is the difference between a child of olim and a minor oleh?
Those over the age of 14 who made aliyah alone, and meet the criteria set by the regulations, are eligible for a set of aliyah benefits, with the specific rights varying according to the age of the oleh. As a rule, those who made aliyah before the age of 14 and lived in a boarding school during their first year in Israel become eligible for assistance when they turn 17. Those who made aliyah with their parents, defined as children of olim, are treated differently; their rights are generally included in their parents’ rights.
What are the rights of minor olim?
The rights of minor olim vary according to different categorizations and are decided in each case individually. However, it is important to know that those who are recognized by the state as minor olim are eligible for aliyah benefits and assistance in many areas. These include, among other things, Hebrew studies, housing, employment assistance, guaranteed minimum income, assistance for soldiers, tuition for students in universities and higher education institutions, and more. However, in light of the difficulties that young olim may face in obtaining these benefits, it is recommended to seek the assistance of an attorney who specializes in Israeli immigration law, who can provide consultation and legal representation as needed.
Legal advice and assistance regarding aliyah and benefits for new olim
In this short article we reviewed the issue of a minor making aliyah to Israel, the differences between various kinds of olim, and the rights reserved for each category. If you have additional questions, we invite you to contact our office, which specializes in the field of immigration to Israel. Our office’s attorneys are experienced in legally representing new olim (including minor olim) before the authorities in Israel and all the courts, for the purpose of assisting them in realizing their rights. You can contact us at the phone numbers or email address below.