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Common Reasons for Refusal for Arranging the Legal Status of Foreign Spouses in Israel

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

Shaltiel Devorah

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

This article is part of a series of articles about the various aspects of arranging the legal status of foreign spouses in Israel. Due to our firm’s extensive experience in the field and the many couples whom we have helped with these procedures, we have a strong understanding of the types of cases in which requests for legal status tend to be refused at the outset. In this article, lawyer Michael Decker, who specializes in immigration to Israel, explains about cases in which the Ministry of interior denied status for foreign spouses of Israelis, and what may be done when this happens.

Our law firm, which has branches in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specializes in immigration to Israel. We have extensive experience in assisting couples throughout the process of arranging the legal status of the foreign spouse, and in representing them before the Ministry of Interior and the courts after a denial of an application for legal status in Israel.

Denied legal status for foreign spouses

How to File a Joint-Life Application and Arrange Legal Status

Many Israelis today live with foreign spouses, who arrive from all over the world. What is common to all these cases is that, to live together in Israel, the legal status of the foreign spouse must be arranged via the Ministry of Interior. When arranging a spouse’s legal status in Israel, the procedure either follows the regulations for married couples or for couples in a common-law marriage.

The first step in arranging a spouse’s legal status is to file an application at the Ministry of Interior. At this stage, the couple must present various documents and undergo an interview regarding their relationship. The Entry into Israel Law grants the Interior Minister and the Population and Immigration Authority officials broad discretion to decide who will be allowed to immigrate to Israel and become an Israeli citizen at the end of a graduated procedure. Accordingly, many couples face a refusal of an application for legal status. Below we present types of cases that, from our experience, are highly likely to be refused.

Problems in Obtaining All the Required Documents

You may be surprised to hear this, but many couples have trouble obtaining and submitting the required documents to the Ministry of Interior when filing the application. The main difficulty is usually encountered in obtaining the required documents from abroad, since obtaining the Israeli documents is simpler. Sometimes there is a real difficulty in obtaining the required documents from the foreign spouse’s country. However, sometimes the bureaucratic requirements to apostilize the documents and send them to a notary public for translation before submitting them are too much of a burden, and the couple decides to give up on their dream to live together in Israel. The professional assistance of a lawyer may help the couple to obtain all the documents and submit them in an orderly manner to the Interior Ministry officials.

Doubts About the Sincerity of the Relationship

The main reason that family-unification and joint-life applications are denied by the Ministry of Interior is the Ministry’s impression that the relationship is “insincere” (fictitious). This impression is based on a series of interviews that the couple undergoes at the Ministry of Interior offices, in which they are asked about various areas of their life such as common habits, extended family, and so on. The Interior Ministry representatives try to ensure as best they can that the relationship was not created for the sole purpose of naturalization.

There are many causes that create the impression that the couple’s relationship is insincere. This is common, for example, when the spouses are asylum seekers or nursing workers whose stay in Israel is limited in some way by the Ministry of Interior. Age differences between the spouses may also be a warning sign for the Ministry officials. As we explained in another article on our website, the relationship-sincerity interview is a crucial stage in the process of obtaining legal status, and you should come to it well prepared.

Criminal or Security Concerns

The State of Israel is wary of allowing citizens to enter who may pose a danger to public safety. Therefore, foreign spouses are required to present a criminal record certificate. If the foreign spouse has a criminal history, this may lead, in many cases, to refusal of their request for legal status. However, you should know that the types of offenses on the criminal record are examined in depth, as well as the time that has passed since they were committed. In addition, the criminal history of the Israeli spouse may also lead to refusal of the application. The issue of a security criminal history arises in cases of foreign spouses from Arab countries, as well as Palestinian spouses. A criminal history of the invited spouse which is related to security concerns is obviously a big problem which is not easily surmounted. However, each case is examined on its own merits, and the security authorities may be wrong in deeming someone a danger to public security. Remember that there exist various ways to appeal the decision of denial of a request for legal status, which are explained in another article on our website.

Refusal of Requests Made by Individuals Who Have Been Refused Entry Into Israel

In cases where there is concern that the foreign citizen will settle in Israel, they will be refused application for legal status. When the entry of the foreign spouse to Israel has already been denied in the past, this may have consequences concerning the ability to arrange their legal status, such as often occurs when attempting to arrange the legal status of foreign spouses from the former Soviet Union. Over the past years, citizens from there have requested asylum in Israel, which raised the concern that allowing them to come may create unwanted labor immigration; therefore, many requests were refused. In such cases, it is important for the couple to avoid any action without first thoroughly checking what their legal rights are. Illegally staying in Israel, or being denied entry into Israel, does not mean that the couple will not be able to live there together; however, such situations certainly do make it difficult to file an application and arrange the legal status of the foreign spouse via the Ministry of Interior.

Contact a Lawyer Who Specializes in Immigration to Israel

The above cases are main examples of when a couple may face denial of a request for legal status for a significant other or when arranging the legal status of a foreign spouse in Israel. Legal advice and assistance by an experienced expert lawyer may help maximize the possibility that the application will be approved. Our law firm has extensive experience in representing couples in the process of arranging legal status. You are welcome to contact us via the phone numbers or email address listed below, and we will be happy to assist you in any matter.

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