Israeli citizenship for partners
Obtaining Israeli citizenship for a foreign partner
Obtaining Israeli citizenship for a foreign partner is not a simple task – a well-known fact for many who have begun the process of obtaining Israeli legal status and citizenship for a spouse or common-law significant other. The process of gaining Israeli citizenship for partners, centered around the Ministry of Interior, poses a number of obstacles: the many technical and bureaucratic aspects; the legal measures in place to prevent illegal immigration; and finally, the Ministry of Interior’s interest in preserving the Jewish identity of the state of Israel.
Accordingly, before you apply for Israeli citizenship for your partner, it is important to seek consultation and even assistance from a law firm specializing in the field. Our office deals with, among other things, the various issues of immigration to Israel and civil law. Our deep knowledge of the process will help you understand what to expect, overcome obstacles, and take the right steps towards obtaining citizenship – which is a long road in any case.
Many of our attorneys hold foreign citizenship and our staff is multilingual. We have specific expertise on the subjects of visas, immigration, foreign citizenship, and obtaining legal status in Israel and other countries. This enables us to provide clear, professional service to a couple on any issue related to immigration to Israel, including dealing with the Ministry of Interior and the Population and Immigration Authority.
We specialize in, among other things, immigration under the Law of Return for Jews and members of their family, obtaining citizenship on the basis of family reunification or cohabitation, and obtaining business visas, foreign investor visas, work visas and student visas. Furthermore, we represent our clients before the relevant government entities such as the administrative court, the Ministry of Interior, the Population and Immigration Authority, the court of appeals, and any other legal jurisdiction related to immigration to Israel.
Ways to obtain Israeli citizenship for a foreign partner
The subject of immigration to Israel lies at the core of the definition of Israel as a Jewish state, making it a complex and conflict-ridden subject throughout the country’s history. In fact, up until three decades ago it was fairly easy to obtain Israeli citizenship if one of the partners was already an Israeli citizen. Obtaining Israeli legal status, followed by Israeli citizenship, for a foreign partner, whether for legally married couples or common law couples, is regulated by article 7 in the Citizenship Law.
Couples in which one partner is Israeli and the other is a foreign citizen are usually forced to get married in a civil marriage outside of Israel. After opening a family reunification file in the Ministry of Interior, the foreign partner will initially get a work visa, later receiving temporary status in Israel (a visa of type 5/A), and then finally, at the end of the gradual process, they will be able to apply for Israeli citizenship. The couple must be married at least five years, out of which the partner applying for citizenship must live in Israel for at least three. Note that in the last two years of the gradual process, the foreign partner must live in Israel continuously, apart from short vacations. Additionally, the Israeli citizenship applicant must show that they are legally staying in Israel, that their life is based in Israel, and that there are no criminal or security issues preventing them from being granted citizenship.
If the couple in question live under the same roof and uphold an honest and true relationship, they will be defined as common law partners. In such cases the gradual process is longer, taking a minimum of seven years. Upon the foreign partner’s completion of the gradual process, which requires proving their relationship status, a life based in Israel and the absence of any preventative factor, they will be able to apply for permanent Israeli resident status, after which they can apply for Israeli citizenship as a permanent resident who lives in Israel, knows basic Hebrew and meets the criteria in article 5 of the Citizenship Law.