Permanent residency or citizenship – which status is preferable for a foreign spouse in Israel?
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
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.
Very knowledgeable and professional
I can highly recommend these services!
Every time we turned to Joshua we always got a professional quick and helpful respond.
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.
Excellent service, very friendly and helpful, fast responding and very patient. Highly recommend. I will choose them again next time if needed.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
We have been working with Decker, Pex Ofir & 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.
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.
competent consulting, fast processing, reliable, warm & good team. highly recommended
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
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!
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.
Extrmely friendly, professional and helpful. A big thank you to Irina especially from the Jerusalem office. Highly Recommended.
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.
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.
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, Ofir & 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, Ofir & 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.
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.
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.
The team at Decker, Pex, Ofir & 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!
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.
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.
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.
Courteous, clear, efficient service.
Mr. Joshua Pex is knowledgeable and Professional. I really appreciate his courteous and direct approach.
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.
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.
After the lengthy process of obtaining Israeli legal status, the foreign spouse of an Israeli citizen faces the critical choice of which status to acquire – that of a permanent resident or a citizen. What are the differences between permanent residency and citizenship, and when might the foreign spouse prefer one over the other? In this article, attorney Michael Decker, an immigration law specialist from our office, explains the issue.
Our offices specialize in Israeli immigration law and the process of obtaining legal status for foreign spouses. Attorneys from our office accompany foreign spouses through the various stages of obtaining legal status, from filing a joint-life application to arranging permanent legal status – permanent residency and citizenship – in Israel.
About the gradual process and its completion
The Citizenship Law and the Entrance to Israel Law distinguish between the citizenship track for married couples and that for common-law couples. Population and Immigration Authority regulations are different for each track. The regulation pertaining to common-law couples stipulates a gradual process of at least 7 years. In contrast, the regulation for married couples sets out a gradual process of approximately 5 years. Yet, it must be noted that in certain cases, the track for common-law couples may actually be shorter (for example, in the case of a same-sex couple).
In another article published on our site, we describe in detail the various stages of the gradual processes and the visas granted within this framework. In this article we focus on what is in fact the final stage of the lengthy process that a foreign spouse undergoes to obtain legal status in Israel. Many of these foreign citizens face the choice of whether to maintain the status of a permanent resident, or to become a citizen. To make this decision, it is important to understand thoroughly the significance of the two different statuses. We explain this in detail below.
Citizenship vs. permanent residency
From a legal point of view, permanent residency is a visa allowing the bearer to reside permanently in Israel. In practice, permanent residency status confers most of the rights enjoyed by Israeli citizens. A permanent resident is entitled to an Israeli identity card, as well as the rights granted under the National Insurance Law. These include guaranteed minimum income, unemployment, etc. Yet, permanent residents are not entitled to vote in elections for the Knesset, nor can they be elected as Knesset members.
For our purposes, one of the significant differences between permanent residents and citizens is that only Israeli citizens are entitled to an Israeli passport; permanent residents remain with their foreign passport. Accordingly, their ability to leave and enter Israel is more limited. If they leave Israel for an extended period, they may lose their right to their permanent residency status (due to expiration of permanent residency). Moreover, there are public positions that can only be held by citizens, such as judges in Israeli courts.
Cases in which a foreign spouse is forced to give up their foreign citizenship
There are some countries which forbid their citizens to hold a foreign passport. Likewise, foreign citizens who are not yet married to their Israeli spouses are generally required to give up their foreign passport in order to apply for Israeli citizenship. The Interior Minister is authorized to exempt a foreign spouse from this requirement, if he is of the opinion that special circumstances warrant it. This exemption is not granted automatically, however; a special application must be made to obtain it.
Contact an attorney who specializes in Israeli immigration law
The summary we have presented above indicates that there are several significant differences between citizens and permanent residents. These differences must be taken into account when a foreign spouse completes the gradual process to obtain Israeli legal status and must decide whether to become a permanent resident or a citizen. If you have any question or need assistance regarding this issue, you can contact our office and one of our attorneys will be happy to help you. Our office specializes in immigration to Israel and has accompanied many couples through the various processes of obtaining legal status in Israel, from filing a joint-life application to obtaining permanent status.