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Israel DNA Testing Citizenship

Joshua Pex

Paul Prince

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This article, “Israel DNA Testing Citizenship,” will address whether DNA testing can be used to grant Israeli citizenship and \ or make Aliyah.

About Israeli DNA Testing Citizenship 

When Israel DNA Testing Citizenship Is Not Possible

Prospective clients often inquire whether they can use DNA tests to prove their Jewish ancestry in order to immigrate to Israel based on the Law of Return (1950).  This law indicates that any Jew, child of a Jew, or grandchild of a Jew is eligible to immigrate to Israel. Usually, your identity as a Jew or family members of a Jew must be proven via appropriate documentation, including documentation that you did not convert to a religion other than Judaism – those who convert to another religion are disqualified from immigration eligibility by the Law of Return.Israel DNA testing citizenship

But what happens if such documents cannot be presented? For example, many secular families from the former Soviet Union, who have not converted to another religion, know they have Jewish ancestry, often their parents or grandparents, but they lack the documentation to prove this. Such documents may have been lost during WWII, or their ancestors may have hidden their Jewish identity for fear of anti-Semitic persecution.

Entire companies advertise DNA tests as a way to discover your ancestry, and the less scrupulous ones among them claim that by “proving” that you’re X% Jewish, you will be eligible to make Aliyah.

However, despite misinformation on the internet, the Israeli Ministry of Interior does not accept a DNA test as proof of one’s Jewish heritage for the purposes of immigration according to the Law of Return.  

When Israeli DNA Testing Citizenship Is Possible

There are rare cases where this can be permitted. This may apply in an adult immigration case when someone is proving that they are a child or sibling of someone who is proven to Jewish \ an Israeli citizen, and their connection to this person is in doubt, thus a DNA test might be requested.

The most frequent occurrence of permissible DNA testing is with regard to children who have an Israeli father and a foreign citizen mother. Any child of an Israeli parent is eligible to obtain Israeli citizenship. If Israeli immigration authorities require proof that the Israeli citizen is really the child’s father, a DNA test may be requested.  We discuss issues regarding paternity registration and paternity tests in Israel in the linked articles. 

A DNA test to prove the applicant is the sibling of someone officially recognized as the child of a Jew or an Israeli citizen is a more rare option, generally undertaken if the father is no longer alive or otherwise unavailable to provide a DNA sample.

Citizenship Through Conversion

Many times, people contact us after suddenly discovering their Jewish ancestry, and they are interested in immigrating to Israel.  If they cannot prove this through documentation required by Israeli law showing that their parent or grandparent is Jewish, there is another option.  It is possible to officially convert to Judaism and then immigrate to Israel.  You can read more about this in our article “Aliyah after Conversion to Judaism (Giyur).” 

Contact Us

Our law offices have over 30 years of immigration experience.  If you would like assistance with your immigration case, whether proving Jewish ancestry or something else, please be in touch.

Israel DNA Testing Citizenship

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