Entry of Ukrainians into Israel – 2022
What are the procedures for entry of Ukrainians into Israel since the war began? Israel’s immigration authorities are updating Israel’s entry policy on a daily basis, due to Ukrainian refugees arriving in Israel after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. As of March 2022, eligible immigrants and their families may arrive in Israel in an expedited procedure. For relatives who are not entitled to make Aliyah under the Law of Return, an invitation by an Israeli citizen is required. Ukrainians who do not have Israeli relatives may also be invited, subject to Israeli officially comitting on behlaf of the invitee. If you need help with issuing an invitation and providing a security deposit or encounter difficulties in the process of Aliyah, contact us for legal assistance.
There is a certain portion of Israelis, especially those from the former Soviet Union, who support free entry into Israel for all Ukrainians seeking asylum because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. There are moral and historical justifications for this desire, but it is unlikely that immigration authorities will grant free entry to anyone who wishes to find refuge in Israel. Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, who is in charge of the immigration policy, has already expressed her opinion that Israel cannot accept a limitless number of Ukrainian refugees. The currentpolicy of entry into Israel for Ukrainian foreigners is a kind of compromise that allows Ukrainian citizens with Jewish roots to find refuge in Israel without bureaucratic procrastination, and Israeli citizens to invite friends and relatives who are not eligible for Aliyah to stay in Israel.
Our law firm specializes in Aliyah, immigration, entry, and visas in Israel. In a previous article, we explained about asylum seekers, tourists, and foreign workers from Ukraine who are eligible to continue their stay in Israel even after their visa has expired. Here we explain the conditions under which Ukrainians may enter Israel, whether by virtue of the Law of Return, family connections, or being invited by an Israeli citizen or resident.Importantly, anyone entering Israel – Olim (immigrants who came by virtue of the Law of Return), relatives, or tourist-visa holders – are required to undergo a COVID-19 test before boarding the flight and after landing. In certain cases, the requirement for COVID-19 testing before the flight may be waived for Ukrainian refugees, but they will still be required to get tested after landing (and pay 120 ILS for the test). Those who receive a positive test result are required to quarantine in a hotel at their own expense for at least five days, until they receive a negative test result.
Expedited Aliyah Procedure for Ukrainians and Russians
Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced that those entitled to immigrate to Israel from Ukraine and Russia may do so via an expedited procedure, which frees them from the need to present a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC) / Good Conduct Certificate or obtain an apostille stamp for documents before the procedure begins.
Furthermore, since many Ukrainians are required to enlist in the army and fight the Russian invasion, the wives and children of Ukrainians who are eligible for Aliyah may immigrate to Israel without their Ukrainian husband. Even in the terrible cases where the eligible spouse was killed in the war, the widow/widower may immigrate to Israel with their minor children.
Those with Jewish roots who have not started an Aliyah procedure and have not previously proved their eligibility for Aliyah, who arrive in Israel, must turn to Nativ to have their case examined. Note that, under the Law of Return, Jews, children of Jews and grandchildren of Jews, (and, of course, any child of a Jewish mother is Jewish by definition) are entitled to Aliyah, as are the spouses and minor children of the above. For example, the minor children of the grandson of a Jew are eligible to immigrate with their family, but are no longer eligible once they become adults.
But what about those who are not entitled to Aliyah under the Law of Return and have no Jewish roots? They, too, may enter Israel under the following conditions:
Inviting Ukrainian Relatives to Israel:
First-degree relatives of Israelis who are not eligible to immigrate to Israel themselves will be able to come to Israel and obtain a tourist visa subject to an officially signed commitment on the part of the Israeli relative that the arriving relative does not wish to settle in Israel – whether by applying for asylum or any other status – and that the arriving relative will leave Israel at the end of the war. This is the required solution, among others, for those who have received Israeli citizenship by virtue of being the spouse of an Israeli, and whose parents have no Jewish roots and are not eligible for Aliyah. In the normal course of events, only one parent may enter Israel – after the death of the other parent, and provided that the parent has no other children living outside Israel. If they are invited to Israel, the parents do not have to deal with the horrors of the war in Ukraine and may stay in Israel until the war ends. Adult siblings and children from previous marriages may also be invited.
In the invitation process, past behavior on the part of the Israeli citizen and the invited person will be taken into consideration – attempts to settle or seek refuge in Israel, age differences, and more. If the Interior Ministry officials decide that there is a reasonable chance that the invited person will try to work illegally or stay in Israel beyond the validity of their visa, the Israeli who invited them may be asked to pay a security deposit that will be confiscated by the Ministry of Interior in case of improper behavior on the part of the invited person.
Spouses and children of Israeli citizens who have not received Israeli citizenship or who are in the process of arranging the legal status of a foreign spouse may enter Israel as tourists upon presenting a marriage certificate / children’s birth certificate. If the foreign spouses have children from previous marriages, they must arrange the other parent’s consent during their stay in Israel, if it was not obtained before entering Israel.
It is likely that common-law spouses of Israeli citizens are also eligible to enter Israel as tourists, but the assistance of an immigration lawyer may be necessary to determine eligibility. The procedure of the Ministry of Interior stipulates that each case must be examined on its own merits and the MoI will consider requiring a bank guarantee at the Ben Gurion Airport.
Inviting Ukrainian Citizens by an Israeli Who Is Not Related to Them
Anyone wishing to invite to Israel Ukrainians who are not related to them must sign a special invitation form provided by the Ministry of Interior, obliging the Israeli to provide for the Ukranian invitees residence and general expenses. The Ukranian invitee must also fill out a request form on the Ministry of Foreign affairs site, attaching the Israeli’s approved invitation.
If the invited person has been refused entry, tried to seek asylum, or tried to settle in Israel in the past, their entry may be refused, or the MoI may require the Israel to provide a guarantee for the Ministry of Interior, in the amount of 10,000 ILS per invitee, at the Population Authority stand located at Terminal 3 at the Ben Gurion Airport.
Ukrainians who are not invited by an Israeli and who are not eligible for Aliyah may enter Israel as tourists, as long as they are not suspected of trying to settle in Israel. Of course, as the number of asylum seekers entering as tourists increases, so will the number of entry refusals.
Visa extension and work visa:
As of April 2022, the tourist visa of Ukrainians in Israel will be automatically extended, without the need for a specific application to the Ministry of the Interior. It is likely that these visas will be further extended for a month at a time, as long as the war continues and a return to Ukraine could endanger the lives of the visa holders.
Holders of tourist visas from Ukraine are allowed to work in Israel, and no enforcement action will be taken against their employers. This is the same policy that the state pursues towards other asylum seekers in Israel. It is important to note that Ukrainians working in Israel with a tourist visa have the same rights as any worker in Israel, and the employer’s obligations (insurance, vacation days, severance pay) are the same.
Entry of Dogs and Cats Belonging to Olim and Israeli Residents
We obviously would not want to forget the most helpless family members fleeing the invasion. In normal circumstances, a license for holding pets is required before bringing them to Israel. Since many families were forced to come to Israel urgently, bringing only whatever they could carry in their car or by hand, any document confirming that the animal has received a rabies shot will suffice. If no such document is available, the pet will be quarantined and will be required to get vaccinated against rabies.
If you need assistance in paying a security deposit to the Ministry of Interior so that a Ukrainian that you know can enter Israel, or if you encounter any problems in the Aliyah procedure, we are at your service. Contact us to receive assistance from an immigration lawyer in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv who has experience in the field of entry and obtaining legal status in Israel.