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What are the ways that a non-Jew can obtain Israeli citizenship?

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

lynn vonne

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

Lilian Granovsky

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

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.

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

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 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!

Priscilla Moses

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

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!

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.

Yossi Montrose

Very knowledgeable and professional

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 ????

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!

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????

Halvor Ronning

Courteous, clear, efficient service.

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.

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

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.

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

Shaltiel Devorah

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

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.

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.

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.

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 (!)

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.

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

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!

YK C

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.

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.

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.

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!

Schruuf

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.

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

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.

David De La Rosa

Very friendly, professional, and effective, highly recommended

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.

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.

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.

Eden Weiss

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

What are the options for a non-Jew who wants to obtain Israeli citizenship? Israeli law offers several tracks for foreigners who are interested in obtaining this citizenship. One of these tracks is to arrange legal status for a foreign spouse and א minor children, if the foreign citizen’s partner is an Israeli citizen (and the couple is either officially married or in a common-law marriage). Non-Jews who convert to Judaism may also obtain Israeli citizenship. In addition, there are several alternative tracks to citizenship. In this comprehensive guide we present you with vital legal information on this issue.

In our offices, located in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, you’ll find attorneys who specialize in Israeli immigration law. Our office has extensive, proven experience in representing foreign citizens undergoing proceedings to obtain Israeli legal status with the Population and Immigration Authority of the Interior Ministry, as well as court proceedings. Our office provides legal counsel for foreign citizens and assists them every step of the way towards obtaining legal status.

קבלת אזרחות ישראלית ללא יהודים

Israeli citizenship for non-Jews – how does it work?

Israel is defined as a Jewish, democratic state, and as such, it constitutes a national home for world Jewry. The Law of Return enables Jews and even descendants of Jews to make aliya to Israel and receive the status of citizens. But don’t be confused by this definition – Israeli citizenship is also possible for people who are not Jewish. However, the citizenship tracks for the non-Jewish are more limited.

We can state from experience that obtaining Israeli citizenship for non-Jews is entirely possible. Our office has handled many cases of people with other citizenships, and assisted them to arrange their legal status and obtain Israeli citizenship or permanent residency. However, most cases involve a complicated process, and it is important to know ahead of time what is involved. Below we will present the main tracks for obtaining Israeli citizenship and describe each one in detail.

Israeli citizenship for a non-Jewish spouse

Mixed marriages and romantic partnerships are a complex issue under Israeli law. Partners who belong to different religions, as a rule, cannot get married in Israel. Yet the Israeli Interior Ministry recognizes mixed couples who got married abroad. In addition, the law allows mixed couples who are married to arrange their legal status in Israel and acquire Israeli citizenship for the foreign partner. Note that for many years, the Israeli Interior Ministry had caused numerous problems for mixed couples seeking to live together in Israel, and had even ordered the foreign partner to leave the country or to remain outside the country until their legal status has been arranged.

This situation changed in the wake of an extremely important Supreme Court ruling of 1999 (the Stamka ruling). In this ruling, the Supreme Court instructed the Interior Ministry to change its policy, and to switch to examining the quality of the relationship and sincerity of the couple’s bond instead of the existing policy. This ruling was joined by another one (the Oren Administrative Appeal) in which a similar decree was made regarding common-law couples. After these court rulings, the Interior Ministry updated its policy on the issue, and wrote regulations which define in detail the process of obtaining citizenship for foreign partners, married or common-law.

The relevant regulations are based on the Citizenship Law and the Entrance to Israel Law, and they define two different tracks for married couples and common-law couples. The Citizenship Law defines a unique track which applies to married couples, which generally takes about five years, and ultimately grants citizenship to the foreign spouse. The track for common-law couples is longer, taking about seven years. This track is also applicable to same-sex couples.

In both cases, legal status is obtained through the “gradual process”. This process requires applying to open a joint-life file, after which the foreign partner is granted a visa to stay in Israel. The couple must undergo periodic interviews, in which the sincerity of their relationship is evaluated. Given that this process is lengthy and bureaucratically complex, it is advisable to seek help from an attorney specializing in Israeli immigration law, who will accompany the couple and assist in moving the process along.

How can legal status be arranged for minor children of a foreign partner?

Foreign partners who are seeking Israeli citizenship sometimes have custody of minor children with a different citizenship. Moving minors between countries is naturally a more emotionally and socially complex process than moving adults, given everything involved. A problem that frequently arises in such situations is that the minor children have a second biological parent, and there is concern about physically cutting them off from that parent. Israeli law recognizes these difficulties, and therefore there are special rules concerning arranging legal status of minors who are accompanying parents seeking to live in Israel with their Israeli partner.

The regulations on legal status for foreign partners include a preliminary requirement regarding minors living with them. This is the requirement to obtain the opinion of the biological parent who lives outside of Israel regarding obtaining Israeli legal status and citizenship for his or her minor children. The second parent’s consent must be given in writing. If the second parent is in opposition, this may hamper or even negate the possibility of obtaining legal status for the foreign partner’s minor children.

In cases where it is impossible to obtain the second parent’s opinion, the regulations state that the Interior Ministry must contact the parent directly in order to obtain his or her official stance. In these cases contact is made by sending letters to the parent’s address. If the second parent has passed away, a official death certificate must be presented, including an official translation of the certificate (if needed) and legal authentication.

For minors who are over 15 years of age, there is an additional requirement beyond those described above, which is to present proof that the minors have been in the custody of the foreign parent for at least two years before the application is filed. This means proof that the minors are legally in their parent’s custody (such as a divorce agreement or a court ruling stating so explicitly), as well as proof that the minors are actually in their parent’s custody, residing with them. In all cases the minors’ foreign passports, valid for at least two years, must be attached to the application for legal status, as well as an original birth certificate, authenticated and translated as needed.

Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return for converts to Judaism

With the founding of the state, Israel’s leadership decided to make Jews eligible to immigrate to Israel. According to Section 1 of the Law of Return, every Jew is eligible to make aliya and thus to be a citizen of the state. This law also allows recognition of someone who underwent conversion as being eligible for citizenship, but for that they must meet various criteria. It is important to know that although the conversion process itself is long and complicated, the recognition of a conversion for the purposes of citizenship is also likely to involve a legal battle.

The regulations set by the Israeli authorities for recognizing a conversion require proof that the conversion was done out of a sincere desire to become Jewish, and not only to obtain Israeli citizenship. Someone who wishes to make aliya and receive citizenship as a convert will be required to prove that they underwent the conversion process in a Jewish community recognized by the State of Israel. Membership in the Jewish community is required for at least nine months before the conversion, as well as continued participation in the community for at least nine months after the conversion certificate is granted.

For the State of Israel to recognize a conversion, various documents must be presented to the Israeli authorities. These include: a conversion certificate signed according to Jewish law by a recognized rabbinical court; a letter of declaration by the person who underwent conversion, describing their involvement in the Jewish community and the reasons that led them to convert in the first place; an official letter from the head of the Jewish community or the rabbinical court that accepted the person who underwent conversion, describing the process they went through, including how long the process took, the preparations for conversion and the Jewish studies undertaken; and another official letter from the head of the community, describing the involvement of the converted person in the Jewish community after the conversion.

It is clear that this process may be quite complex. This track is intended for someone who is honestly interested in converting to the Jewish religion and making aliya by virtue of their Jewishness. Note that despite various attempts to make the legal status of Conservative and Reform Jews equal to that of Orthodox Jews in this respect, there is still a tendency to favor those who underwent Orthodox conversion. Moreover, other difficulties may arise in arranging legal status for converted Jews, irrespective of what stream of Judaism they belong to. More detailed information on this issue can be found in another article published on our site.

Permanent residence in Israel – another alternative to Israeli citizenship for non-Jews

Alongside the tracks described above for obtaining Israeli citizenship, in many other cases there is an option to obtain the status of permanent resident in Israel. This status is almost equal in value to Israeli citizenship, differing mainly in that permanent residents are not eligible for an Israeli passport nor to vote in elections for the Knesset. This status is also likely to be revoked in cases of an extended stay outside of Israel. The status of permanent resident is likely to be relevant for foreign partners of Israeli citizens and permanent residents, as an alternative to acquiring Israeli citizenship. This is the preferred track for foreign spouses whose country of origin does not allow them to acquire an additional citizenship and who do not wish to give up their other citizenship.

Likewise, this status is likely to be relevant in cases of parents of Israeli soldiers or elderly parents of Israeli citizens who are alone. In such cases, the State of Israel allows them to obtain legal status in Israel for humanitarian reasons, for the purpose of uniting Israelis with their parents living alone across the sea. This involves a process that takes several years, and requires the parents to obtain temporary status in Israel before obtaining the status of permanent resident.

Permanent residency is also likely to be relevant for Palestinians and foreign citizens who should receive this status for humanitarian reasons. The law enables the Interior Minister to grant permanent resident status (and in some cases even Israeli citizenship) in exceptional cases. These include cases involving the special interests of the State of Israel, or for Palestinians who are working to promote the security of the State of Israel, the country’s economy, or any other important interest of the state.

Alongside all these options, there is also the possibility to acquire permanent residency status for humanitarian reasons among asylum seekers or citizens of a hostile country who are married to or live in a relationship with Israeli citizens. Such cases involve arranging legal status on the basis of a spousal bond, since without such a bond, the state tends to place bureaucratic roadblocks in the way of such foreign citizens obtaining official legal status in Israel.

Israeli citizenship for non-Jews – contact a legal office dealing with Israeli immigration law

In this article we have described the various tracks for obtaining Israeli citizenship for non-Jews. Alongside all these tracks, there are other individual cases in which people can obtain permanent residency or citizenship. If you need advice, an eligibility check or assistance on any issue related to citizenship for non-Jews, you can contact an attorney from our office who specializes in Israeli immigration law. At our office you’ll find attorneys with expertise in arranging legal status for foreign citizens and in processes of Israeli naturalization for couples, family members, and foreign citizens with ties to Israel.

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