Israeli residence visa for victims of terrorist acts
In what instances is an Israeli residence visa granted to victims of terrorist acts? Due to the waves of terrorism that frequently occur in Israel, the Israeli authorities allow, under certain conditions, foreign citizens who have been affected by terrorist acts to apply for an Israeli residence visa. If the request is accepted, the regulations state that the foreign citizens (and sometimes also their family members) will be granted an Israeli residence visa for one year, which can sometimes be extended for additional periods.
Sadly, terrorist acts are still an inescapable part of life in Israel. Whether it is attacks carried out by terrorists and terrorist organizations or missile attacks from Gaza and Lebanon – it seems that we have all been exposed to terrorist incidents, in one way or another. Almost everyone who lives in Israel has a relative or friend who was harmed by acts of terrorism (also known as acts of hostility in the law), either physically or emotionally (there are many who are defined as anxiety victims, who may also be considered victims of terrorist acts for all intents and purposes). It is important to remember that Israel contains not only its own citizens and residents, who are regrettably accustomed to waves of terrorism that occur from time to time. At any given time the country also hosts quite a number of foreign citizens who come to Israel for various purposes from different countries in the world, where terrorism is considered a rare thing.
In such cases, damage to foreign citizens caused by terrorism may be even more severe than to those who live in Israel permanently. This may stem from the need to deal with the extensive bureaucracy involved in recognizing them as victims of hostile acts by the National Insurance, and to receive medical and other treatments for an extended period of time, all without sufficient familiarity with the Hebrew language and the requirements of the Israeli authorities. In recognition of this complexity, the Population Authority of the Ministry of the Interior established a procedure that allows victims of terrorist acts who are foreign citizens to obtain an Israeli residence visa. Below we will detail whom this procedure is relevant for, and how the application is submitted.
For whom may an Israeli residence visa for victims of terrorist acts be relevant?
The procedure on this issue does not define specific groups of foreign citizens who may be eligible to receive a visa for victims of terrorist acts, but establishes a general framework for examining the application. Accordingly, the procedure may be relevant for foreign citizens in general, who do not hold a permanent residence visa or have not held such a visa in the past. This means that the procedure may be relevant for tourists who come to Israel, foreign workers, clergy members staying in Israel and possibly also asylum seekers or refugees who come from war and conflict zones.
It should also be noted that according to the instructions of the procedure, if the victims of terrorist acts are minors, their parents and minor siblings staying with them in Israel will receive a visa identical to the one granted to the victims. If the applicants are adults, their spouses and minor children staying with them in Israel will also receive a visa like theirs. Their parents will also be entitled to a tourist visa, which will allow them to visit them in Israel during their treatment.
What does the procedure require for submitting a visa application for victims of terrorist acts?
To apply for an Israeli residence visa for victims of terrorist acts, an applicant must submit an application at the Population Authority office. The applicants’ personal appearance is required in order to submit the application. However, the applicants may be accompanied by an attorney who is assisting them. In cases where the applicants cannot move around independently, they can submit the application through a lawyer with a power of attorney on their behalf. The application is submitted using an application form for obtaining an Israeli residence visa. The following documents must be attached to the form: a certificate from the National Insurance Institute confirming that the applicants are victims of terrorist acts; a passport valid for six months beyond the requested visa period; and two recent passport photos. The application involves the payment of a fee, the amount of which is updated based on the fee table of the Ministry of the Interior.
How is the application evaluated by the Ministry of the Interior?
After the application documents are received, the application will be examined by the Population Authority officials, as well as by the police, for the purpose of verifying that the applicants do not have a criminal/security record or any other obstacle to the approval of the application. If it is found that the applicants are indeed victims of terrorist acts in Israel, and there is no obstacle to granting the visa, they will be granted an Israeli residence visa (type “B/1”) for one year. After this period, and assuming that the application still fully meets the conditions of the procedure, it is possible to extend the application for another year.
After two years, the application file will be transferred to an inter-ministerial committee, which will individually examine the case of the victims and their family members. If the request is not extended as required, or if the request is refused for the victims or their family members, there is a possibility of appealing the decision, through an internal appeal or by appealing to the Appellate Court or the legal court. In light of the bureaucratic complexities that may arise as part of the process, it is recommended to seek the assistance of an attorney specializing in Israeli immigration law when submitting and handling the application.
Israeli residence visa for victims of terrorist acts – contact an attorney specializing in Israeli immigration law
In this article, we have explained how foreign citizens who were unfortunately exposed to terrorist incidents in Israel may be eligible to receive a visa for victims of terrorist acts. If you have additional questions or need any advice or assistance on the matter, you can contact our office and we will be glad to help. Our law office, in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, specializes in Israeli immigration law. The attorneys from our office have extensive experience in representing clients in procedures to obtain legal status in Israel before the Ministry of the Interior and all legal authorities and courts.