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The Entry into Israel Law and Obtaining Israeli Legal Status for Foreign Citizens

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

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!

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.

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

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.

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

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

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!

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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 (!)

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!

Priscilla Moses

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

Eden Weiss

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

Shaltiel Devorah

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

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????


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.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, 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.

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.

Lilian Granovsky

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


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 ????

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

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.

The State of Israel has very few laws regarding entry and immigration. The Entry into Israel Law may not be the most prominent or publicized among these, but it is the most influential, as it regulates the entry into Israel of any foreign citizen who does not have an immigration visa for olim (new immigrants under the Law of Return). But what does the law actually say? Which foreign citizens are eligible to apply for which types of visitor visa or stay visa in Israel?

In this article, attorney Joshua Pex, a founding partner of our firm who heads our department for immigration to Israel, explains the minutiae of the Entry into Israel Law, including the various types of Israeli legal status that foreign citizens may obtain. You can find an abundance of additional information on immigration to Israel in our list of articles on the topic, which is continually updated.


Before we delve into the Entry into Israel Law and the various options that it offers for foreign citizens who wish to transit through Israel, visit there, or live there, we will discuss the question: Does Israel have an immigration policy? We oftentimes hear that Israel has no such policy; however, this belief stems from a certain misunderstanding, since Israel certainly shows who is a more preferred and who is a less preferred immigrant: as the nation state of the Jewish people, Israel prefers immigrants who are eligible to come under the Law of Return, namely: Jews, children of Jewish fathers, grandchildren of Jews, and their spouses—who, according to the Israeli policy, are eligible to receive an oleh (singular of olim) visa and Israeli citizenship as soon as they set foot in the country. In addition, new immigrants under the Law of Return receive many benefits. However, it should be noted that the new governmental coalition is considering to cancel the “grandchild section” in the Law of Return and thereby prevent grandchildren of Jews from immigrating to Israel under this law.

Besides the Law of Return and the Entry into Israel Law, which are discussed in this article, another main law relating to immigration in Israel is the Citizenship Law, 5712–1952, which stipulates four additional ways to obtain Israeli citizenship besides by birth or under the Law of Return.

In the case of other immigrants, who are not eligible to come to Israel under the Law of Return, such as migrant workers or spouses of Israeli citizens—the process is longer, more difficult, and more expensive—and the State of Israel shows through its policy that it is usually less interested in these immigrants. Additionally, due to the political strife in the Israeli society, the government has difficulty passing immigration laws. This vacuum is filled by the courts: the appeals courts, the regional courts, and, mostly, the Supreme Court, which all issue significant decisions and rulings regarding immigration to Israel. One example of this is a ruling according to which non-orthodox conversions to Judaism are legal. Also, the Minister of Interior, who is the governmental authority concerning immigration, issues regulations and publicizes various procedures regarding immigration—which is naturally easier to do, to change and to correct in accordance with the changing practical needs.Entry into Israel Law


Section 1(a) of the Entry into Israel Law, 5712–1952, states that anyone who is not an Israeli citizen shall enter Israel with an ‘oleh’ visa or a visa based on this law, while Section 1(b) states that anyone who is not an Israeli citizen and does not have an ‘oleh’ visa or an ‘oleh’ certificate may reside in Israel with a stay permit under this law. According to Section 2 of the law, the authority for granting visas and permits under the Entry into Israel Law is the Minister of Interior. According to Section 4 of the Entry into Israel Law: the Minister of Interior may exchange a short-term stay permit with a long-term stay permit, or with a permanent stay permit (the Israeli status that indicates the strongest connection to Israel short of Israeli citizenship).

While an entry visa is required to enter Israel legally, a stay permit is required to legally reside in Israel. Below we explain about the four types of Israeli legal status that are stipulated in the Entry into Israel Law, from the weakest to the strongest regarding the holder’s connection to the State of Israel.

The four types of legal status detailed below require different types of visas depending on which population the applicant belongs to and the specifics of each case: for example, a temporary stay permit allows the holder, inter alia, to receive an A1 visa for eligible immigrants under the Law of Return who wish to consider the option of living in Israel before making a final choice, an A2 visa for students who come to study at academic institutions in Israel, and an A3 visa for clergy. You can read all about this and more in a separate article titled “Types of Residence Visas in Israel: The Complete Guide”.


Out of the four types of legal status stipulated in the Entry into Israel Law, transit indicates the weakest connection to the State of Israel. A transit visa, as the name implies, allows the holder to travel in transit through the state en route to another country. According to Section 2(1) of the Entry into Israel Law, the Minister of Interior may grant a visa and permit for transit that is valid for up to five days, and, according to Section 3 of the Law, the Minister may extend the validity of the permit up to a total period of ten days.


The next type of legal status is that of a visitor. A visitor visa allows foreign citizens to visit in the country. A “tourist visa” usually refers to this type. According to Section 2(2) of the Entry into Israel Law, the Minister of Interior may grant a visa and permit to visit that is valid for up to three months, and, according to Section 3 of the law, the Minister may extend the validity of the visitor permit to a period of up to two years—however, the applicant must prove the existence of special circumstances, such as a special medical condition, family needs, or special events.


A temporary stay visa allows temporary residence in the state for a person who is not an Israeli citizen or permanent resident. The general type of temporary stay visa is the A5 visa, and there are also more specific types of temporary stay visa, as mentioned above. According to Section 2(4) of the Entry into Israel Law, the Minister of Interior may grant a visa and permit for temporary stay that is valid for up to three years, and, according to Section 3 the Minister may extend the validity of the visa as long as each extension period is no longer than two years. A person staying in the country as a temporary resident is eligible to receive a temporary ID card, work in Israel, and enjoy social security rights like any Israeli citizen. However, a temporary resident is not eligible to vote in the Knesset elections (or be elected to the Knesset) or to receive an Israeli passport.


Permanent residency status, which is just short of citizenship, indicates the strongest possible connection of a foreign citizen to the State of Israel. A permanent stay visa allows the holder to live in Israel with no time limit. According to Section 2(4) of the Entry into Israel Law, the Minister of Interior may grant a visa and permit to stay in Israel permanently. Of course, unlike the other three types of permits mentioned above, this permit is unlimited in time. Permanent residents are generally eligible for all the rights of Israeli citizens, except for the right to an Israeli passport and the right to participate and vote in the Knesset elections.


In this article, attorney Joshua Pex explained about one of the topics that a lawyer specializing in immigration to Israel deals with: the various types of Israeli legal status that a foreign citizen who is not a citizen of Israel may receive. If you have any further questions on this topic or need any assistance regarding immigration to Israel, a lawyer from our firm who specializes in immigration to Israel will be happy to help. Our firm, which has offices in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, has extensive proven experience in representing clients, regarding immigration to Israel, vis-à-vis the Ministry of Interior and the courts. For any question regarding immigration and acquisition of legal status in Israel, you are welcome to contact a lawyer from our offices via the phone numbers or email address listed below.

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