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How can Russian citizens obtain asylum in Israel?

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Paul Prince

The team of lawyers and assistants are incredibly professional. Aiming to give their clients the advice possible regarding the normative and the law of Israel. With well trained and professional secretary at the front desk to the lawyers team, I could say that I had one of the most professional services possible. I'm super glad of choosing Joshua Pex of Law office for immigration solution, lawyers to advise in my case, to me, it is remarkable.

Michelle Long

Josh has been helping me on and off for a few years now. I have needed legal advice and assistance with immigration due to a complex situation of mine, and he has been extremely available and responsive, honest and clear about my route and how to proceed. Very much recommended!

lynn vonne

Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.

Esty A

I had a consultation with Batya and she was very helpful. She made sure I understood all the information I needed, and was patient with me in gathering documents I needed.

Priscilla Moses

competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended

Marce Ruth St. Rey

Party time in the heart, my beloved husband received his residence after so much time of battles and faith. Gratitude, God has blessed us with wonderful beings who have accompanied us, including a "precious angel" who touched our hearts, our excellent and fantastic lawyer: Maria Chernin Dekel, sweet and wonderful human being, who has guided us and stayed On our side. side in this intense legal transit whom we bless on every occasion. God bless you dear Maria, you have exceeded your professional duty by containing us and collaborating with us in hard times, very hard, for that we want to thank you publicly, you are unique!!!
We bless and thank the entire team at Decker Pex Tal Ofir Law Firm.

TarcisioePotira Freitas

I really recommend the law office's services. The service is very professional and efficient, the price is right. I am satisfied with the services I needed and happy to have known them.

Adi Katina

Great Team. With no doubt, this office is actually thee best-leading office in Israel. Simply put, if you want your case to win, just join them, hand in your documents, and celebrate the victory.

Kindest regards,
Adi k.

Shaltiel Devorah

Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.

Dongdiet & Nellie

We are very happy with the services. Somehow they managed to translate the law lingo into language we actually understand 😉 and their outstanding YouTube videos helped us to have a better grasp of what process we had to go through. Their patience, clear explanation and experience are very valuable. It's also very nice to know that you will receive response promptly; it made us feel we can really trust their services. We recommend all those looking for immigration lawyers to get in touch.

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

Sveta Vashkevich

We (myself and my husband) came to Mr. Joshua Pex – for his professional advice – and we received such human warmth and caring attitude, that our hearts melted …

His attention to our details and our situation peculiarities, combined with his professionalism and knowledge, helped us to map out what needs to be done on our part: we appreciate and recommend You, Mr. Joshua!

Jacob Newberry

A really excellent firm. They knew exactly how to handle my situation effectively and efficiently, and we got the result I needed without much fuss. Adi Berger was a wonderful advocate for me and I am deeply grateful for her help!

Stuart Safft

I am delighted to report that my wife and I have just obtained our Israeli citizenship. We will be forever grateful for all of the help, guidance and support which Ariel Galili of Decker, Pex & Co. provided through this process.
I am a Jewish, 80-year-old American, and my wife is not Jewish. We had started the process on our own back in November 2020 via the Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh, but soon became entangled in the delays and often-changing regulations due to Covid-19. The pandemic also caused delays in obtaining the required apostilles for various documents from various state agencies and the US State Department.
We found Decker, Pex & Co. On the internet and began working with Ariel in late November 2021. Ariel did a superb job of leading us through the process, helping us to understand which documents were essential, which would most likely be required, and which, though included on the list of required documents, were rarely required. He helped us several times to understand what was likely and unlikely to occur as “the next step.” Helping us manage our expectations was extremely useful to us.
Besides his knowing the laws, regulations and procedures, Ariel also made us feel that he was truly interested in helping us to successfully work through this process in as smooth, timely, and frustration-free manner as possible.
My wife and I strongly recommend anyone planning to go through this process seriously consider hiring Decker, Pex, Ofir & Co. and, specifically, Ariel Galili.

Eden Weiss

Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.

Sergei m Vashkevich

We came to Mr. Joshua with so many questions (and most of all, with so many concerns and worries) …

When we explained our case to him, first of all, he calmed us down and helped us to see the big picture, which took away our fears;

Then he presented us with a detailed explanation and a few options to explore, and a timeline, how things work and necessary steps to undertake on our part,

We thank and highly recommend Mr. Joshua for showing us so much empathy, care and professionalism (!)

Matthias Oppliger

I have been receiving services from this Law Firm for several years now and I want to say THANK YOU to the team, especially Joshua Pex. They are doing outstanding work. The services I have received for both our Israeli non profit association but also our social business have helped us solve many issues at hand and provided solutions in complicated situations. Personally, I am grateful for support in visa issues as a foreigner living now in Israel for many years.

Andreas Kelling

We have been working with Decker, Pex & Co - Law Firm in Tel Aviv for many years very well. Because we appreciated their lawyers services, we recommended businesses and individuals again and again to go there as well.

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

Amir Abt

The best lawyer firm I’ve had dealt with. I would like to thank Anat Levi and Ariel Galili from the Jerusalem branch for all of their efforts and patience, we could not have been Able to reach to where we are now without them

Alexander P Gutterman

EU PASSPORT ! Big news! Thanks to Michael Decker and the other good people at the law office, as well as to the virtue of my ancestors, the cruelty of the Inquisition, reparations issued in the Iberian Peninsula, and etc, I am delighted to be on track for Portuguese and European Union Citizenship! A truly incredible development and one which brings me deep joy.

Tomer Hila Birnbach

I received a recommendation from friends about the firm, and indeed every word is correct, a service team, professional, welcoming, a fair price for the work I requested, I am satisfied

Gáspár Erőss

If you need to solve any complicated legal issue in Israel, don't hesitate to contact them. Otherwise you will loose hours/days/weeks with things that they can solve in minutes. They helped me to obtain my expert working visa in Israel and even after that they responded further questions and gave me advices related to administrative issues in Israel which saved me a lot of time. Irena Rosenberg and Michael Decker worked on my case, they are very professional and helpful. They will not let you down, feel free to contact them.

Greg Olson

We highly recommend Adv. Mike Decker and have know him for many years. He has helped our family with many battles over the years. We recently received our permanent residency after 23 years in Israel. We so much appreciate Mike’s representation of us.

Lauma Zariņa

This is definitely the best lawyer I know!!! very honest and super helpful he really helped me a lot dealing with immigration issues in Israel and it was very successful!
I highly recommend

Michael and Ariellah Waizman

For Advocate Joshua Pex.

We were in a devastating situation when my wife received an order from the immigration office to leave Israel within 30 days, without any explanation, after we have been married and in the process for six and a half years. We heard of Advocate Pex through a friend of a friend. We contacted Mr. Pex and he was ready to help us when he heard of our situation.

The service is amazing! Always ready to assist without regard to the time it takes. The advice Mr. Pex gave us was great, such as what to do, he gave useful links, and advice about which officials to contact. The price for the service was great!

The process until we received the extension for another year for my wife was not long (3 months). Things started moving once Mr. Pex came into the picture.

We highly recommend Advocate Joshua Pex! We achieved our goal and the fear of deportation has been lifted!

Arielle Bosch

Incredibly knowledgeable, approachable, accessible, and evident across the board that they truly care about the people they are helping. They are quick to respond, engaged, and obviously top-notch lawyers. I couldn't recommend them highly enough. Thank you, Joshua and Itamar for your help with our Joint Life Application. You were a calming energy during a storm - always breathed a sigh of relief after speaking with you. It is so difficult to get straight answers from the Misrad Hapnim, but you guys are straight shooters. I appreciate your candor and evident integrity. Hope to work with you in the future, and will send everyone I know in need of legal aid your way. Thank you for your guidance and support.

Lilian Granovsky

I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended


We had a pleasure of working with Irena Rosenberg who assisted in getting our two U.S. born children registered in Israel and supported visa process for my wife in 2021. During the pandemic, my wife and I decided to move to Israel where I am originally from after living in the U.S. for over 20 years, but we had no idea how to go about securing visas before and after arriving in Israel. Irena is knowledgeable, reliable and competent lawyer who always had answers to all our questions which made us feel confident that everything would be fine with her assistance. We are now happily living in Israel and are so grateful to have Irena who is a genuinely nice person as our lawyer.

Dumitrascu Cristina

Best lawyer house from Israel! I couldn’t dealt with my situation without their professionalism and effectiveness. Their dedication to every legal aspect and their drive it’s how a true lawyer house can be!
Working in European market and international now, I couldn’t dare to let myself wide my wings on countries unknown to me. Definitely they’ll be the lawyers representing me, my business at every international aspect and on personal development.
When you hear Decker,Pex,Ofir &Co, you hear 10+ class services, luxurious professionals, confidentiality and exclusive attention to your needs.

Josh W-S

The firm had a quick response to my last-minute needs, they were helpful in communicating with me in English, and they fulfilled my needs in a timely fashion.

Morgan Jones

The team at Decker, Pex & Co have been awesome to work with in helping our US company establish banking in Israel and in providing counsel for legal needs in Israel. I highly recommend!

Sophie Cooperman

Oded Ger did an excellent job by reviewing a modeling contract I was offered. Explained the bad clauses in the contract, and their possible consequences. Thank you for your amazing job, your professionalism, your consultation and honesty. You showed me from your experience how it can be done differently. It was the best decision choosing you as my lawyer.
I highly recommend this firm, especially Oded Ger.


We were very pleased and content with the services of this law firm. They supported us 100% and solved our case successfully, we couldn't be happier.

Israel iluz

We were very satisfied with the service of Nehama. She was very professional in all her dealings and kept us informed all the way.
We highly recommend this law firm. They proved to be reliable, efficient and pleasant to work with.

Genaan Abdelall

I cannot recommend Nechama enough! Her expertise, professionalism, and dedication to her clients is unparalleled. From the moment I reached out to her, she provided clear and concise communication, and helped me navigate through a complex legal issue with ease.

Throughout the entire process, Nechama went above and beyond to ensure that I was informed and comfortable with every decision. She demonstrated a deep knowledge of the law, and was able to offer sound advice that ultimately led to a positive outcome.

What sets Nechama apart is her compassionate and empathetic approach to her clients. She truly cares about the well-being of her clients, and it shows in the way she handles every case.

If you are in need of a lawyer, I highly recommend Nechama.

Michael Soffer

I would like to recommend Attorney Yehuda Elcharar. He assisted both me and my company in a complex lawsuit. He handled negotiations that led to a favorable outcome much quicker than expected.

I am extremely pleased with choosing Attorney Elcharar. Many thanks also to the office team, Oz and Chaya, for their assistance throughout the entire process.

Thanks again ????

Joshua Pex was both an amazing human being and an inspiring human rights attorney. I reported directly to him for various activities I performed as in intern. I was impressed with his incredibly solid character. He is trustworthy, fair, and goes above and beyond to advocate for the vulnerable. He is completely trustworthy and high caliber in his work. His partners and employees are very blessed to work with him. I am honored to know them.

Heather Lebrun

Kfir Cohen

We were searching for a law firm that will be honest with us and really work hard for a satisfying result, it wasn't an easy task
We found them online; they were the only law firm from all of our searchings which were completely honest and NOT gave us just what we wanted to hear
Using them guaranteed honesty above all. A legal team that is friendly and cares for a superb result
They really care about helping their customers without any other interest
Nadia gave us service behind what we expected; she was professional which lead to fast and easy process with great result
We definitely recommend using them

Наталья Мажуга

Great lawyers Joshua Pex and Nechama and Michael Deker who really want to help you and I have very trustful relationships with them. All my cases they took they won. Thank you and let’s keep working together

Prima Lorenzo

I admire the Austrian citizenship team in Tel-Aviv branch! They deserve more then 5 stars!! They are very friendly and professional. I've got Austrian citizenship in 4 months for all family members which consists of 12 people! The entire team is very friendly and responsive. They are always answering questions and support during the process. I recommend to everyone. Was 100% satisfied.

Shurouq Hajyassin

We were very satisfied with the consultation we had.
You were very straightforward with us , You tried to help us in every way you could . we really appreciate that.
And of course the fast reply we got from you on our emails and the appointment you gave us .
You deserve more than 5 stars????

Can Russians apply for asylum in Israel? Since Russia is currently persecuting its citizens who express opposition to the war, to corruption, and to Putin’s regime, it is without doubt possible to seek asylum in Israel for Russians on the grounds of political persecution. At present, the complicated part is most likely reaching Israeli soil from Russia. Even someone who was refused entrance to Israel at the airport due to suspicion that they planned to seek asylum can appeal their deportation back to Russia.

Our legal offices specialize in entrance to Israel, visas, emigration, and applications for asylum. In previous articles we explained the issue of entering Israel and seeking asylum for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. If you (or a friend, family member, or acquaintance) are being persecuted in Russia on the grounds of political views, religion, origin, sexual preference, etc., we will be happy to help you obtain legal status in Israel, even if you were stopped from entering Israel at the border.

Asylum in Israel for Russians

Why can Russians now obtain asylum in Israel?

After many citizens of the former Soviet Union entered Israel and applied for political asylum in the country, from 2013 on, an expedited application handling process was instituted for Russians, Ukrainians, and Georgians. The Israeli Interior Ministry operated on the assumption that most of these asylum seekers were lying – that they faced no real threat to their lives, that they did not need to seek asylum outside their country of origin, and that they were primarily economic immigrants, coming to Israel in order to work here.

Russian citizens who claimed persecution by the Russian authorities for corrupt economic motives – filing criminal charges in order to take control of the victim’s business or capital – did not fit the literal definition of a Russian refugee in the pacts to which Israel is a signatory. Even someone who was persecuted after exposing the authorities’ corruption was not thought to fit this definition.

Now, however, after Russia invaded Ukraine and Putin’s regime has given up any pretense of maintaining free speech or democracy, it is clear that any Russian citizen who criticizes the regime is endangering his freedom of movement, health, and life.

Political persecution in Russia today

At present, Russian citizens can be arrested not only for demonstrating with messages opposing the regime/the war in Ukraine (or messages that could be thus interpreted), but even for expressing protest on social media. Protesters with signs bearing “*** *****” (“No to War” in Russian in the “censored” version), signs with no writing at all, or “Stop fascism” signs were arrested for opposing the regime, insulting the Russian army, and fomenting ethnic hatred (the Russian court is indifferent to the irony of arresting protesters bearing generic anti-fascist signs as offending the Russian armed forces and a war started in the name of “de-nazifiying” Ukraine). Even people who expressed “silent support” for a demonstration they were not participating in have been arrested.

The Russian “Fake News Law” allows for the fining, arresting, and imprisoning anyone who publishes facts on the war in the Ukraine which insult the Russian armed forces, or which do not fit the official version of the Russian Ministry of Defense (or the most current version, given that explanations for the various atrocities and the motivations of the “Special Operation” change on a daily basis). People are arrested on the street (thanks to security cameras and face recognition software) or in their homes. Some are warned not to continue anti-governmental activity, while others are arrested directly. After decades of erosion of judicial independence in Russia, the courts practically never find an accused person to be innocent, especially if that person is accused of political crimes.

In this situation, there is no doubt that any Russian citizen who criticizes or publishes the truth regarding the regime or the war is risking his freedom and his life. If there is anything positive about this, it is that the person can thus prove his eligibility to seek refuge in Israel without the quantity of documents usually required that prove arrest, interrogation, threats, etc.

Options of immigration, aliyah, and asylum in Israel for Russians

Of course there are many Jews and people of Jewish extraction in Russia, as well as relatives of Israeli citizens who are not themselves eligible for aliyah, and opponents of the regime who have no direct connection to Israel. People in each one of these categories have a different way to come to Israel.

Expedited aliyah for Russians

Jews or those of Jewish extraction can in fact “pack their suitcases” and arrive in Tel Aviv the next day, whether directly from Russia or from a neighboring country. The main problem is leaving Russian territory, since the Russian border patrol now checks those leaving for neighboring countries via land border crossings, as well as those leaving the airport for destinations farther away. Among other things, the officials may check correspondence by Whatsapp, Telegram, and social media, as well as the personal details and profession of the person seeking to go abroad.

We have not yet returned to the bad old days of the Soviet Union, and opponents of the regime who do not have an exit restraint order, or those in “required” professions which Russia needs, are still relatively free to cross the Iron Curtain. It is reasonable to assume, however, that this situation is likely to change in the course of the coming year.

On the other hand, after arriving in Israel, those eligible for aliyah are welcomed with open arms and lenient conditions. Israel is currently enabling an expedited aliyah process for those eligible for aliyah from Russia and Ukraine. The Interior Ministry is waiving the requirement to present an apostille stamp on certain documents. If someone applying for aliyah arrives in Israel without any of the documents required to prove eligibility, Nativ staff can help them to prove it.

Seeking asylum for Russians

However, most Russian citizens who would like to find asylum in Israel are not eligible for aliyah. These are people distressed by the current situation who got on a plane leaving Russia or, if they could not find a direct flight out of Russia, left via one of the neighboring countries. Some of them are already in Israel, with a tourist visa or foreign worker status. There are even some, like the political commentator Alexander Navzorov, who found out only after they reached the Holy Land that political persecution had been initiated against them in response to remarks they had made against the war and the Russian army.

Unlike Ukrainians, who have a specific invitation process and a simpler process of obtaining refugee status, Russian citizens are still required to submit a formal application for asylum in Israel. Two points deserve emphasis:

  • A formal application for asylum indeed includes proof that the person is being persecuted in some way on the basis of political beliefs, race, religion, citizenship, or sexual preference. Any document concerning an interview, arrest, preventative measures, filing of a criminal complaint, etc. by the Russian authorities can serve as a starting point for submitting an application for asylum.
  • The airport, or any other point of entrance into Israel, is considered by the immigration authorities as a gateway where they are authorized to prevent entrance to Israel. In practice, border control officials are likely to refuse entrance to anyone whom they suspect is planning to apply for refugee status in Israel, and deport him back to his country of origin. The application for asylum is formally submitted only after entering Israel.

What happens to an asylum seeker who is refused entrance to Israel?

He can still appeal the refusal to grant him entrance. According to the court’s instructions, those refused entrance cannot be deported within 48 hours of their arrive at the border crossing, before they have had the chance to speak with an attorney and actualize their right to plead against the refusal. An asylum seeker from Russia or Ukraine must be notified of this right in their language (Russian or Ukrainian).

Asylum seekers coming directly from Russia, unlike those coming from Poland, Romania, or even Uzbekistan, can claim that deportation back to their country of origin would endanger their lives and is therefore impossible.

What about tourists and foreign workers from Russia who are currently in Israel?

For Ukrainian citizens in Israel, their visa is automatically extended, and it is likely that the Interior Ministry will continue to extend it until the end of the war. In contrast, Russians who are currently in Israel and are afraid to return to the Russian Federation must extend their current visa or apply for asylum.

On the one hand, applying for asylum or appealing a rejected application for asylum is easier for someone who is located in Israel, since the authorities are required to at least evaluate each application or appeal on its own merits. In the worst case, the process of deporting someone who is residing in Israel without a visa or legal status is still much longer and more complex than refusal of entry at the border.

On the other hand, it is more difficult to prove that someone residing in Israel is being persecuted or expects to be persecuted by the authorities on the basis of his political opinions or other reasons. Law enforcement authorities generally wait until a person returns to Russian territory before initiating persecution. Even if criminal proceedings are initiated against a defendant who is located in Israel, it is necessary to find documents proving this, have them translated, and present them to the Israeli authorities.

A green light for refugees from Russia and Ukraine who are employed in hi-tech

A new initiative of the Population and Immigration Authority will enable hi-tech companies to obtain work visas for refugees from Ukraine and Russia within 4 days. These work visas for refugees will be valid for 90 days, and can be renewed. If the refugee plans to reside in Israel for more than 90 days, family members who accompanied him to Israel can also obtain work visas. There are an estimated 20-25 thousand Ukrainians alone who were employed by the Israeli hi-tech industry in Ukraine, and can come to Israel, not to mention the other Ukrainian and Russian hi-techers who can currently find work in Israel.

News reports on this issue emphasize that this track is open both to those eligible for aliyah and to those who are not. It is reasonable to assume that most of the workers in this track will not be Jews or those eligible for aliyah, since those would choose to undergo full aliyah or, if they did not want Israeli citizenship or residency, would prefer to get a 1A visa which would allow them to live and work in Israel for several years.

Contact an attorney who deals with applications for asylum

If you need help in applying for asylum or are have been refused entry to the country – for you, a friend, or a relative – our experienced staff of attorneys are at your service. We will be happy to provide assistance for any issue related to aliyah, immigration, entrance to Israel or legal status in Israel. Contact us to arrange a consultation at our offices in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, or a meeting on Zoom/Whatsapp/Skype.

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