How to acquire Israeli citizenship

Parent Category: ROOT Published: Monday, 10 February 2020 Print

Applying for Israeli citizenship

Obtaining citizenship in Israel can be challenging for everyone who is not Jewish or eligible to permanent residence under the Law of Return. Israel is native home to Jews, so any Jew can get Israeli citizenship.

Furthermore, Israel is not founded to be free to immigration. In this article, you will learn all the options of immigrating into Israel.

 

The Israeli immigration law

The main law for immigration in Israel is called the Law of Return. It still consists of the guiding principles from the immigration policy that was undertaken in 1948. Until now the policy guides towards the return of Jewish diaspora.

Jews are native to the State of Israel. That is why up to this day the immigration law in favor of Jews is strongly integrated into the basic law. Any Jew or relative of a Jewish person can return to Israel and apply for citizenship at any time. But what exactly does that means for all the others that were not born Jewish?

 

Who can apply for Israeli citizenship

Living in Israel

The immigration law of Israel doesn’t specifically state that only Jews can apply for a residence permit in Israel. However, any Jew can return back to Israel and apply for citizenship.

If you are non-Jewish nor related to a Jewish person there is only one way to apply. You have to be related to a Jewish person.

It is enough if you can prove that one of your relatives was Jewish. For example, if you can prove that your mom or grandmother was Jewish, you are eligible to apply for Israeli citizenship. However, it is important to know that Israel doesn’t recognize DNA tests as proof of Jewish roots.

Another way you can get Israeli citizenship is if you are married to an Israeli citizen and you get a family status.

However, there are cases when you won’t be permitted to immigrate even if you are related or married to a Jew.

 

Becoming a citizen as exception from the Law of Return

Clause 5 of the Citizenship Law of Israel states the possibilities to become a citizen for those who are not eligible.

This exception dictates that a person must meet the following statements to become eligible.

  • Know the Hebrew language;
  • Has been a resident of Israel for 3 out of the last 5 years;
  • Is willing to waive any other citizenship.

 

In fact, in most cases like these, the people who get Israeli citizenship are spouses or partners of Israeli citizens.

As mentioned before, you can get Israeli citizenship if you are married to a Jew or a citizen of Israel. This way is opened to everybody that is a non-Jew. The process of acquiring Israeli citizenship is gradual, and it lasts between 5 and 7 years. This is to prove that your relationship is genuine.

This process involves an interview with the Interior Ministry officials once a year.

However, here as well are some restrictions. For example, some Palestinian residents won’t qualify under this option.

 

Exceptions for immigration

Every Jew can get granted a residence permit in Israel if they express their wish to live in Israel. However, in some cases, even Jews will get denied. That is the case when that particular person is one of the following.

  • Has participated in an activity directed against Jews;
  • It is likely to endanger other people or the security of Israel;
  • Has a criminal past that has the potential to endanger the public;
  • Voluntarily changed his religion.

 

These exceptions are also true for a Jewish person.

 

Citizenship application procedure

If you know that you are eligible for Israeli citizenship, then you can apply by getting the necessary forms on their website. There are several different application forms that can be printed out, filled in and handed over to local authorities.

In general, the following three sections are the most popular ones to qualify under if you are not a Jew.

  • Apply for Israeli citizenship according to section 4A of the Law of Return;
  • Apply for Israeli citizenship for children under 18 (Israeli residents);
  • Apply for Israeli citizenship if your citizenship was canceled when you were a child;
  • Apply for naturalization for permanent residents who are married to local citizens;
  • Apply for naturalization, provided you are a permanent resident.

 

Choose one of the above or any other categories and fill out the necessary form. Once the form is filled, you need to submit the application along with the required documents in person at the local Population and Immigration Authority office.

Another important thing to know is that Israel allows dual residency which means that you can have multiple citizenships.

 

Summary

Israel’s law of immigration is directed towards the return of native Jews to Israel. However, you can become an Israeli citizen under some circumstances. Usually, you will have to be either related to or married to a Jewish person.

The process of acquiring Israeli citizenship if you are not Jewish can be a lengthy process that takes up to 7 years.

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