Pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel as a condition for obtaining Israeli citizenship
What is a pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel, and in which cases is it a condition for obtaining Israeli citizenship? The Israeli Citizenship Law stipulates that those who undergo a naturalization procedure in Israel, if not making Aliyah by virtue of the Law of Return, will generally be obligated to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel. Failure to do so may halt the process of obtaining citizenship. In this article, attorney Joshua Pex, a partner in our office and an expert in Israeli immigration law, explains the issue in detail.
There is an obligation to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel for some of those undergoing naturalization procedures according to the Citizenship Law. This is the last and final step before receiving the coveted Israeli citizenship. The wording of the declaration, according to the Citizenship Law, is “I pledge that I will be a loyal citizen to the State of Israel”. The pledge procedure may sound strange, but in fact it is not uncommon around the world; there are similar legal provisions in many developed countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany and Spain.
The authorities in Israel are usually strict about following the procedure of the pledge of allegiance to the state. Accordingly, it is important to know how the procedure of the declaration is carried out, and to be aware that not making the pledge, or being late in responding to the summons to make the pledge, may halt the naturalization process. Below we will explain in detail who is required to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel as a condition for obtaining citizenship, how the procedure is carried out and what the consequences are of not fulfilling the procedure.
Who is and who isn’t obligated to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel to obtain Israeli citizenship?
Citizenship by birthright for children of Israeli citizens, as well as citizenship for new olim by virtue of the Law of Return, does not generally require a pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel. On the other hand, the naturalization of permanent residents requires a pledge of this kind. This obligation applies, among others, in cases of naturalization by virtue of marriage or partnership with an Israeli citizen, family reunification, naturalization of parents of Israeli citizens who have settled in the country and other similar cases. It should be noted that minors over the age of 16 who undergo naturalization procedures in such cases are also obliged to pledge allegiance to the state as a condition for obtaining citizenship.
Summons to a pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel and the consequences of a delay in responding to the summons
The Population and Immigration Authority of the Ministry of the Interior established a protocol that regulates how a pledge of allegiance is performed, as part of the naturalization process. The protocol states that those whose eligibility for citizenship has been confirmed in principle shall be summoned to pledge allegiance to the State of Israel. The summons letter for the pledge ceremony shall be sent to them by registered mail. If the applicants going through the naturalization procedure do not respond to the summons within two months, a reminder will be sent to them. It can happen that the applicants are staying abroad and therefore do not respond to the summons sent to them. It is important to be aware that in these cases, such a delay may lead to a re-examination of the intention of future settlement in Israel and prevent the naturalization process. Arriving at the pledge of allegiance ceremony with a delay of 3 months or more is only possible in circumstances over which the applicants had no control, or in humanitarian cases such as illness, death of relatives, etc. Accordingly, in cases like this, it is advisable to consult with an attorney specializing in Israeli immigration law, in order to avoid undesirable consequences if at all possible.
How is a pledge of allegiance performed in practice?
The pledging of allegiance is an official ceremony, which takes place in one of the Population Bureaus of the Authority, before of the director of the bureau (or another person authorized for this purpose). For the ceremony, the citizens must come to the bureau with a respectable appearance (in terms of clothing, shaving, etc.) and bring an identity card, a foreign passport and a foreigner’s transit certificate (if they have one). For someone going through a naturalization process by virtue of marriage to an Israeli citizen, they must come with their Israeli spouse. Family members are allowed to accompany people for the purpose of making the pledge as guests, and they are even allowed to take pictures of the ceremony. After the pledge, the citizen will be given their citizenship certificate, with which they can then apply for an Israeli passport.
Pledge of allegiance to the State of Israel as a condition for obtaining Israeli citizenship – contact an attorney specializing in Israeli immigration law
If you have additional questions about the process for obtaining Israeli citizenship or legal status, you can contact us and we will be glad to help. Our office, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, provides representation and assistance in procedures with the Ministry of the Interior and other authorities and legal courts in Israel, such as naturalization procedures, obtaining legal status, obtaining visas in Israel for family members and more.