How to get Israeli Citizenship: An Informative Guide
The State of Israel was established as a safe haven for the Jewish community, ensuring their safety and freedom from anti-Semitism. Due to this foundational principle, Israeli citizenship is granted to all Jews solely based on their Jewish heritage, under the Law of Return. However, it’s also possible for non-Jews to acquire Israeli citizenship, albeit through a more complex and extended process.
How to get Israeli Citizenship? This article examines the various pathways to obtaining Israeli citizenship for both Jewish and non-Jewish foreign nationals. We will also discuss the actual rights that Israeli citizenship grants to those who acquire it.
Our office specializes in immigrating to Israel and acquiring Israelis visa. If you’re interested in moving to Israel or are seeking Israeli citizenship, we are happy to assist and guide you through the process with utmost professionalism.
What is the Law of Return and how does it facilitate citizenship?
The simplest and quickest route to obtain Israeli citizenship is reserved for those who are Jewish. Given that Israel was established as a homeland for Jews, the country instituted a law enabling any Jew to immigrate to Israel, solely on the basis of being Jewish (or being a child/grandchild/spouse of a Jew). This legislation is named the Law of Return (1950).
Jews choosing to immigrate to Israel and become citizens through this law benefit from various incentives that facilitate smoother integration into Israeli society. These benefits include financial assistance, housing assistance, and complimentary Hebrew language courses.
To qualify for immigration under the Law of Return, applicants must submit documents proving their Jewish lineage. The Law of Return has specific criteria defining who is considered Jewish and eligible for immigration. For instance, a grandchild of a Jewish individual is eligible for immigration to Israel.
However, there are exceptions that might restrict individuals who might pose a threat to the citizens of Israel from immigrating, such as individuals with a criminal history or those actively opposing the Jewish community. In such cases, the Ministry of Interior reserves the right to reject their immigration application.
Conversion cases also exist. Individuals who convert to Judaism can also immigrate under the Law of Return, provided their conversion took place through a recognized international Jewish community, like the World Union for Progressive Judaism. Converts need to present a certification from the rabbi overseeing their conversion process.
Acquiring citizenship and immigrating to Israel under the Law of Return can be initiated either from the immigrant’s home country or from within Israel for eligible individuals already residing there with a tourist visa. Both processes slightly differ, but the granted rights are identical, excluding the free flight to Israel for those coming from abroad.
How do non-Jewish spouses of Israeli citizens acquire citizenship?
In cases involving a mixed couple (an Israeli citizen and a non-Jewish foreign national), the foreign partner can obtain Israeli citizenship by virtue of their relationship. Importantly, this process applies only to married couples or common law couples. The procedure to acquire citizenship for a non-Jewish spouse of an Israeli citizen is termed the “Gradual Process.”
The “Gradual Process” spans around five years, commencing with the couple opening a joint life file at the Ministry of Interior. This file legalizes the non-Jewish partner’s residency status. To initiate this, the couple must present the required documents to the Population and Immigration Authority. They will also need to prove the legitimacy of their relationship.
Upon opening a joint life file, the non-Jewish partner will receive a temporary residency visa, which permits long-term stay and employment in Israel. Subsequently, the partner’s residency status…
How Can Adopted Children of Israeli Citizens Acquire Citizenship?
There are instances where Israeli couples opt to adopt children from abroad. In such cases, the child must be recognized as adopted by Israeli citizens, and hence, is entitled to obtain Israeli citizenship. The adoption process can only be carried out through a recognized agency specializing in this field. Adopting a child from abroad without going through an agency is a criminal offense. The agency liaises with the Population Registry in the Ministry of Interior to get entry and residency approval for the child. Only after obtaining the entry permit will the adopted child’s eligibility for Israeli citizenship be assessed.
What About Adopted Children of Jews Eligible to Immigrate to Israel?
When considering adopted children of Jews who are entitled to immigrate to Israel, as long as the children were legally adopted without the intent of obtaining Israeli citizenship for them, these children can immigrate with their adoptive family. Upon immigration, they can avail the same rights, including the acquisition of Israeli citizenship.
Can Citizenship Be Acquired Based on Naturalization?
Another avenue for obtaining Israeli citizenship is through naturalization under Clause 5 of the Citizenship Law. This naturalization process allows permanent residents in Israel, who meet the criteria set out in the law, to acquire Israeli citizenship based on their residency in the country.
Applicants must have their center of life in Israel and qualify for permanent residency. Additionally, they must reside in Israel for at least three out of the five years preceding the application and possess basic knowledge of the Hebrew language. Acquiring citizenship through naturalization necessitates renouncing any previous citizenship.
What Rights Does Israeli Citizenship Bestow?
Having detailed the methods through which one can acquire Israeli citizenship, what rights do those who obtain it enjoy?
Holders of Israeli citizenship naturally gain political rights. Specifically, Israeli citizens can vote for political representatives starting at the age of 18. Moreover, Israeli citizens can also be elected to the Israeli Knesset (parliament) from the age of 21. They also have the right to possess an Israeli passport and use it for travel. Citizens can freely enter and exit Israel at their own discretion.
Additional rights afforded to Israeli citizens include the unrestricted right to work in Israel, tax benefits, entitlement to various National Insurance allowances, and more.
Why Seek Expert Legal Assistance for Israeli Citizenship?
As one can discern, there are several processes that enable the acquisition of Israeli citizenship. Each process demands deep knowledge of related laws and meticulous tracking of the various authority requirements. Whether you’re interested in immigrating to Israel, acquiring Israeli citizenship for a spouse, or obtaining citizenship through naturalization, it’s advisable to enlist the services of an experienced immigration lawyer to Israel who is thoroughly acquainted with the laws.
Our law offices, located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specialize in various processes of acquiring Israeli citizenship. If you’re considering this journey for yourself, your spouse, or family members, we invite you to reach out to us. We are eager to assist in your journey towards Israeli citizenship.