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How Do You Obtain Israeli Citizenship for a Foreign Spouse? (Legal Information)

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

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

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

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.

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

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.


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.

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

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 (!)

Lilian Granovsky

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

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????

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

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


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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

lynn vonne

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

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.

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!

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.

Priscilla Moses

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

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Shaltiel Devorah

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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 ????

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The process of obtaining Israeli citizenship for a foreign spouse may be long and complicated, fraught with many bureaucratic obstacles. Our law office deals regularly with requests to arrange the Israeli legal status of foreign citizens who are married or in a romantic relationship with Israeli partners and who wish to live together with their spouses in Israel. Our extensive experience in this field has taught us that prior knowledge and legal assistance may serve as a key to successfully completing the process. This article reviews the various stages of the process and the legal obstacles that may arise, as well as the solutions for these obstacles.

The lawyers at our firm, which has branches in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specialize in immigration to Israel. We have extensive proven experience in representing couples and families in the process of arranging their Israeli legal status vis-à-vis the authorities and courts. We help clients and provide them with legal assistance throughout all the stages of arranging Israeli legal status for foreign spouses, as well as for the minor children of these foreign spouses.

Israeli citizenship for spouses

How Do You Manage the Prolonged Procedure for Obtaining Israeli Citizenship for a Foreign Spouse?

Israeli immigration policy does not automatically grant Israeli citizens and residents the right to live in Israel with a foreign spouse. The Citizenship Law (a.k.a. the Nationality Law) and the Entry Into Israel Law do allow mixed couples to arrange their Israeli legal status, but this involves a prolonged process that usually takes several years to complete. In reality, this is not an easy task for the tens of thousands of mixed couples living in Israel, who are not always aware of the requirements.

These couples often meet overseas, or during a visit or stay of the foreign spouse in Israel. When a couple checks whether their legal situation allows them to live together in Israel, they discover that they must apply at the Israeli Ministry of Interior and go through a process that may take about five years to complete, on average. Many couples are not able to complete the process successfully on their own, either because they have difficulty meeting the requirements of the Population and Immigration Authority or because they give up before the process is complete.

We have assisted, and continues to assist, many mixed couples in finding their way through the complicated bureaucracy required by the authorities in Israel and completing the complex process of arranging the foreign spouse’s legal status vis-à-vis the Interior Ministry. You should know that obtaining Israeli citizenship for a foreign spouse is not an impossible task. Proper legal assistance with the application from the start may make the process reasonably easy to manage.

In addition, knowing about the stages of the process in advance may help the couple understand what they will be dealing with and prepare accordingly. Below are the stages of the process, which include filing a joint-life application for the foreign spouse, undergoing an interview that examines the sincerity of the romantic relationship, undergoing a graduated procedure to arrange the Israeli legal status of the foreign spouse, and, finally, receiving Israeli citizenship.

For Whom Is the Procedure for Arranging Legal Status in Israel Relevant?

As a rule, anyone who is interested in obtaining Israeli citizenship for a foreign partner is required to undergo a procedure to arrange their legal status. The regulations on this matter apply both to formally married mixed couples and to couples who are in a common-law marriage, as well as same-sex couples. In cases where the foreign spouse has minor children living with them whom they wish to naturalize, as well, the children will be included in the process of arranging the legal status of their parent.

Exceptions are, for example, cases in which the foreign spouse is a Jew who wishes to immigrate to Israel under the Law of Return. However, in cases where the foreign spouse has no other connection to Israel besides being married to an Israeli, they will generally have to undergo the full procedure to obtain Israeli citizenship.

How Do You File a Joint-Life Application?

The first stage in the process of arranging Israeli legal status is to file an application with the Ministry of Interior. To do this, couples staying in Israel must physically arrive at their local Population Authority offices and submit a request. If the foreign spouse lives overseas and the Israeli spouse lives in Israel, the foreign spouse will need to be invited in advance and receive a permit to enter Israel. If both spouses are living abroad, the process will begin vis-à-vis Israel’s Diplomatic Mission (the Israeli embassy or consulate) that is closest to where the couple is staying.

The regulations on the matter stipulate that the couple must submit various documents when filing the application. These documents include the application forms, the Israeli spouse’s ID card and the foreign spouse’s foreign passport, a letter signed by both spouses describing their romantic relationship, documents belonging to the foreign spouse (including a birth certificate; a police clearance certificate (PCC) / good conduct certificate; an up-to-date certificate attesting to their marital status and, if their family name has changed, a name-change certificate), and documents proving the couple’s relationship.

Proof of the relationship may be joint bank accounts, letters from friends and family attesting to the romantic relationship, certificates proving that the couple lives together, etc. The list of documents that must be submitted may change depending on the circumstances. It often happens that a request is delayed due to missing documents or additional documents that are required by the officials at the Population and Immigration Authority handling the case. Therefore, it is important to be prepared in advance and collect all the required documents before presenting them with the application. For more information about the list of required documents, see another article on our website.

What Is the Relationship Sincerity Interview?

When filing a join-life application in Israel, subject to submitting all the required documents, the foreign spouse will be given a permit to stay in Israel valid for six months. After that, the spouses will undergo an interview that will examine the sincerity of their relationship. During the interview, the Population Authority officials will examine whether the relationship is indeed genuine. The spouses may be asked harsh and intimate questions about their relationship, and the interviewers will try to find contradictions between the answers of both spouses. It is important to be well-prepared for the interview. A detailed explanation about this can be found in a guide published on our website.

The Graduated Procedure for Obtaining Israeli Citizenship for Foreign Spouses

As explained above, the graduated procedure may take several years to complete. As part of the process, the spouses will undergo periodic interviews to ensure that the relationship between them continues and that their joint center of life is still in Israel. In the intermediate period after filing the join-life application, the foreign spouse will be given a temporary stay permit valid for one year, as well as a temporary ID card. After that, the temporary stay visa will be extended yearly.

The ending of the graduated procedure depends on the type of relationship between the spouses. For married couples, the average period for completing the procedure is approximately four years. For couples in a common-law marriage, the average period is longer, and may reach approximately six years. The exact length of time also depends on the circumstances. At the end of the period, the foreign spouse will be eligible to receive permanent residency or Israeli citizenship. For more information about the graduated procedure, see our comprehensive article on the topic.

Israeli Citizenship for Foreign Spouses—Contact a Law Firm Specializing in Immigration to Israel

Above we explained about the stages of receiving Israeli citizenship for foreign spouses in Israel. For any advice or assistance you may need on the matter, you are welcome to contact a lawyer from our firm who specializes in immigration to Israel. We have lawyers who specialize in the field of arranging the legal status of foreign spouses living together with Israelis, and in the naturalization of couples and families in Israel.

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