Joint life application in the Interior Ministry – Documents for foreign partners
A joint life application is the first stage in obtaining legal status for a foreign spouse of an Israeli citizen. At this stage the couple is required to present various documents which must be obtained ahead of time. In this article we have collected information on the required documents for foreign partners seeking to obtain status in Israel.
Our law offices specialize in Israeli immigration law. Our office assists foreign spouses in immigration and obtaining citizenship, including representing them before the Interior Ministry Population Authority and the administrative and legal courts.
The joint-life application and the importance of presenting all documents for foreign partners
An Israeli citizen’s foreign partner who seeks citizenship must undergo a procedure at the Population and Immigration Authority. The Citizenship Law sets out different regulations for married couples and common-law couples, but in both cases the procedure begins with the filing of a joint-life application for the couple. For more details on this subject, see articles published on our website; both regarding common-law couples and regarding obtaining legal status for married partners.
When filing a joint-life application, the partners are required to appear in person (either at a Ministry of Interior branch in Israel or, if in another country, before an Israeli government representative, such as a consul). At this point they must submit prerequisite documents, as well as additional documents that may be required in specific cases. Before we go into these documents in detail, we stress that it is important to obtain them ahead of time. It is also important to make sure that, if required, the documents are verified with an apostille stamp and include a notarized translation.
Prerequisite documents for filing a joint-life application in the Interior Ministry
Both married and common-law couples must present: an application form for a new visa or to extend an existing one; a foreign passport for the foreign partner, valid for at least two years; passport photos of both partners; identity card of the Israeli partner; a letter, signed by both partners, explaining their relationship; and a declaration by the couple stating the validity of the material they have presented and their obligation to notify the Ministry of any change in their circumstances (the declaration is attached as an appendix to the Interior Ministry regulations). A married couple must also attach an original marriage license, authenticated and translated.
In addition, the couple must present additional evidence of the sincerity of their relationship, covering at least a year before submitting the application. Such documentation may include photographs of them together, a rental contract, joint bills, and letters and references by family and friends regarding the couple’s acquaintance with each other (along with a copy of the identity card, as well as contact information, for each reference). Depending on the specific case, additional evidence may be requested.
Additional documents – filing a joint-life application in the Interior Ministry – inviting a foreign partner to Israel
The Population and Immigration Authority office will also ask the invited partner to present an original/authenticated birth certificate; a public certification of personal status from the partner’s country of origin, stating former and current status; a certificate of good conduct (proof that he or she does not have a criminal record) from the country of origin; and if the first or last name was changed, a public certificate of the name change. If the foreign partner comes from the CIS or Eastern Europe, the Authority office will send them to the Communications Bureau (Netiv) to obtain an opinion. For a couple seeking legal status for children of the foreign partner from a previous relationship, additional documents will be required, as described in another article on this topic.
Can a couple appeal if the application is rejected because of missing documents?
For a variety of reasons, the couple may run into difficulties obtaining all the required documents. This is common, for example, with asylum seekers, who cannot return to their country of origin in order to obtain the prerequisite documents. The law allows couples to appeal the Population and Immigration Authority’s decision regarding prerequisite documents. In certain cases, the appeals court may intervene in the Authority’s decision and overturn it. For more information on the process of appealing an Interior Ministry decision, see this article on our website.
Contact an attorney specializing in immigration law
The issue of obtaining documents is critical in order to meet Interior Ministry regulations and successfully obtain Israeli legal status for a foreign partner. If you have legal questions, or have encountered difficulties in obtaining documents, an expert immigration attorney from our law offices will be happy to help. You can contact us at the telephone numbers or email address below.