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Renouncing Israeli citizenship

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Renouncing Israeli citizenship is often required of Israelis who move to countries that do not allow dual citizenship. Many citizens who decide to leave Israel permanently, relinquish their citizenship even if not legally required to do so. Our law firm specializes in immigration to the US, England, Canada, and other countries. Clients who move to another country often ask us how to “cancel” their Israeli citizenship. This article by attorney Joshua Pex will explain how one can waive their Israeli citizenship. The reasons for doing so, and possible complications

What does a renunciation of Israeli citizenship entail?

Renouncing Israeli citizenshipAny citizen of Israel with an additional citizenship may submit an application to revoke his Israeli citizenship under section 10 of the Citizenship Law. After the application is approved, that person is no longer an Israeli citizen, but only a permanent resident. Permanent residence may expire if the Israel resident stays abroad for a number of years. A non-resident may visit and work in Israel only as a tourist, foreign worker or by holding a valid visa.

It is important to note that a waiver of Israeli citizenship requires the approval of the Minister of the Interior. As can be seen from Section 12 of the Citizenship Law, the renunciation of citizenship is not automatically approved. A person may waive his rights as a citizen, but if he has debts to the state (unpaid taxes or compulsory military service for example) renouncing Israeli citizenship will not void said obligations. Candidates for military service who travel abroad and try to give up their citizenship will be considered as deserters / draft evaders by the IDF and Israeli authorities.

In order to renounce their Israeli citizenship, the applicants must prove that they have an additional citizenship. Neither the laws of Israel nor the international conventions allow a person to be left stateless (without citizenship), even if that is their wish.

Why renounce your Israeli citizenship?

There are countries (such as Germany) that simply do not allow dual citizenship, except for special cases. An Israeli who wishes to obtain citizenship status in these countries will be required to waive their Israeli citizenship. Even in countries that permit dual citizenship, there are circumstances that encourage the renunciation of the previous citizenship. Government or security organizations fear that dual citizenship leads to double loyalty and require employees to decide decisively on one citizenship. Some immigrants cancel their Israeli citizenship as a way of “burning the ships” after moving to a new country. Those who have no other citizenship find it harder to go back to Israel. As a result, they are encouraged to make their way in their new homeland.

Dual citizens who settle in Israel or visit it frequently may give up on Israeli citizenship regardless. Some cancel their Israeli citizenship for ideological reasons or out of a reluctance to serve in the military reserves. Parents may waive the citizenship of their minor children so that they are not required to serve in the IDF. In such cases it is preferable to submit the request as soon as possible, rather than wait until the age of maturity. From the age of 15, a minor who renounces his citizenship has to settle his status with the IDF first.

What is the procedure for renouncing Israeli citizenship?

The applicant must arrive at the Israeli consulate nearest to their place of residence with the necessary documents. They must declare to the consulate clerk that they wish to renounce their Israeli citizenship. Among the documents that need to be produced are: an Israeli passport, a foreign passport, a full copy of the Israeli passport, including all the blank pages, and a letter of explanation for the request to waiver the Israeli citizenship.

The applicant must fill out a form for renouncing Israeli citizenship (different form for an adult or minor). A parent who wishes to waive the citizenship of a minor child, must obtain the consent of the other parent, unless they have exclusive custody. In addition, up-to-date registration must be submitted with the Population Registry (personal details and details of the applicant’s children). Finally, the applicant must ensure they are free of obligations vis-à-vis the IDF.

Finally, it is necessary to pay the fee for renouncing Israel citizenship (NIS 345 in 2018).

Approval of a request to relinquish Israeli citizenship:

A person wishing to renounce their Israeli citizenship is required to prove that their center of life is in a country other than Israel and that they are a citizen of a country other than Israel. If citizenship is conditional on relinquishing Israeli citizenship, the applicant must present proof they will be granted citizenship after the waiver. Such proof would include official state documents, in English or translated into Hebrew.

The renunciation of Israeli citizenship involves the approval of the Minister of the Interior. The Minister of the Interior may not approve the renunciation if it is done for reasons deemed inappropriate. For example, the request will be denied if the applicant waives their citizenship in order to avoid military service.

Contact us – Israeli immigration law firm

Our law office specializes in issues of immigration, Aliyah, status and citizenship. Call to arrange an appointment at our law office in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. We will be happy to provide legal assistance in renouncing Israeli citizenship or other issues related to immigration.


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