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Relationship sincerity interview for obtaining legal status in Israel and filing a joint-life application

Michael Decker
Michael Decker

The relationship sincerity interview is a critical stage in the procedure of obtaining legal status for foreign partners in Israel. What do you need to know and how can you prepare for the interview? In this article, attorney Michael Decker, an expert in Israeli immigration law, answers these questions.

Our law offices specialize in immigration to Israel. Our office is experienced in accompanying couples through the stages of obtaining legal status for foreign partners, and representing them before all the legal and administrative courts.

The relationship sincerity interview – a crucial stage in obtaining legal status in Israel

Couples in which one partner is a foreign citizen, are required to arrange legal status for the foreign partner in order to live in Israel together. Regulations differ for married couples and common-law couples. However, in both cases the couple must undergo an interview which examines their relationship closely. The interview, known as the “relationship sincerity interview”, is a crucial stage in the procedure of obtaining legal status in Israel. It is important to be informed about it, because it can be the deciding factor in whether a joint-life application is accepted or not.

For more information on the interview at the Interior Ministry, sometimes known as a hearing, see this article on our website.

The Entrance to Israel Law grants the Interior Minister broad discretionary powers in deciding who can immigrate to Israel. The official stance of the government authorities is that a marriage or a romantic partnership is only a starting point for proving the sincerity of the relationship. The procedure set out by Population and Immigration Authority regulations is meant to filter applications based on a “fictititous” relationship. Consequently, the interview is a central method for the Authority to verify the relationship is real, and the feelings between the couple “sincere”.

What does the interview look like in practice?

Relationship sincerity interview

Despite the use of the singular term, do not be confused: Interior Ministry officials generally hold a series of interviews. In general, the partners are interviewed separately, and the interviews are held in a language that they understand (or alternatively, with an interpreter present). The interviews are sometimes held several months apart. Afterwards, the partners’ answers are compared, in order to identify contradictions. Contradictions may be, for instance, answers that turn out to be wrong or inconsistencies in answers between different interviews, even when the contradictions are caused by a partner’s misunderstanding of the questions.

Common questions in the Interior Ministry relationship sincerity interview

The questions fall into two categories. The first type of questions are technical and concern the life stories of the partners and their families. The couple may be asked questions regarding professions, names of family members, shared pastimes and the like. The second type of questions are more fundamental, and often build on previous answers. The partners may be asked about a shared experience, what occurred after it, what friends attended the event, etc. Questions may range from “What do you love about each other?” to the nature of the relationship between the partners. There is no set or prepared list of questions, and the questions may sometimes be experienced as highly invasive to the couple’s privacy. For more information on contradictions in relationship sincerity interviews in the Interior Ministry, see this article on our website.

How can a couple prepare for the interview?

Many couples who read the above questions may realize that they themselves do not know how to answer them. It is perfectly legitimate to occasionally give answers such as “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember”. Mental preparation is no less important. Some people may feel stressed by the interview and by the invasion of their privacy. Under stress, people may become confused or even forget answers. Therefore, it is important to prepare oneself mentally and to arrive at the interview as calm and confident as possible.

What can be done if the application is denied based on contradictions in the interview?

The Authority regulations mentioned above allow an internal appeal to be filed if an application is denied as a result of the relationship sincerity interview. Likewise, an appeal may be filed with the appellate court. The appellate court’s decision may even be appealed to the Court of Administrative Affairs. In many cases, the appellate courts will intervene. For example, in the case of a couple whose application was denied due to a 40-year age gap between the man and the woman, and whose relationship was deemed insincere based on the interviews, the couple appealed to the court. The court ruled that the denial was unreasonable, and the couple’s case was returned to the Authority for further examination.

Contact an attorney who specializes in immigration law

Legal guidance throughout the different stages of obtaining legal status in Israel, including the relationship sincerity interview, can maximize a couple’s chances of success. Our law offices have extensive experience in obtaining legal status for foreign partners in Israel. Contact us at the phone numbers or email addresses below, and we will be glad to help with any issue.

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