Can a Fourth-Generation Descendant of a Jew Relocate to Israel Under the Law of Return?
Established in 1950, the Law of Return essentially grants every Jew — as well as their children and grandchildren (and spouses) — the right to immigration and citizenship in Israel. However, generally speaking, a great-grandchild of a Jew is ineligible for immigrant status or Israeli citizenship. But if this same grandchild immigrates with his/her minor child — i.e., fourth generation descendant of Jewish heritage — then government intervention can occur to keep families together by granting legal residence status for said minor child in Israel.
Advocate Joshua Pex elucidates the protocol of the Ministry of Interior when granting aliyah status in this article, specifically with regard to great-grandchildren of Jews.
Minors who are great-grandchildren of Jews can benefit from a range of advantages – but they must meet certain conditions and requirements first.
- Provided the applicant is a minor of less than 18 years old, if his/her parents are eligible to make aliyah to Israel following the Law of Return they may be accompanied by their child.
- A foreign passport with validity of two years or longer is required.
- The birth certificate of the minor needs to be authenticated and translated if necessary.
- It is necessary to submit a fully-filled application form in order to extend one’s residence permit or change their visa category.
- For minors aged 16-18, three recent pictures are required; for children younger than 16, just one updated passport photo is necessary.
- Submit your payment for the application fee to receive status in Israel as the great-grandchild of a Jewish person.
Applying for Great-Grandchild of a Jew Status: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you are a great-grandchild of a Jew, and have come to Israel with your parent who is an immigrant, the Israeli Ministry of Interior will grant you a temporary residency visa (A/5 Israeli Visa) for one year. You must complete all conditions and requirements according to procedure when submitting your initial application for consideration; upon receipt, the ministry verifies facts before granting status in Israel.
If a great-grandchild of a Jew has been living in Israel for the first year under an A/5 visa, then they can receive an extension on their current visa that will last up to 3 years – given there are no other impediments present. This is an exciting opportunity to extend one’s stay and be able to explore all that Israel has to offer!
Every year, this temporary residency visa can be extended under the condition that a minor lives in Israel with their parents. An official from the Ministry of Interior will verify each year if this requirement is being met; however, if one or both parents have left and the child stays in Israel without them, it is mandatory to apply for an extension through a legal guardian.
If an applicant over the age of 14 who is a great-grandchild of a Jew applies to make aliyah, they will be subjected to a background check. This investigation can potentially prevent them from receiving or renewing their temporary residency visa if any security risk or criminal activity is uncovered. In such cases, the application for the visa will be delivered directly to The Ministry of Interior’s main department for visas in Jerusalem.
Finishing the Process of Achieving Citizenship in Israel for a Jewish Great-Grandchild
After three years, if the great-grandchild of a Jew is still a minor, their parents may submit an application for Israeli citizenship or permanent residency on their behalf. If they are now adults however, they can apply independently for an Israeli identity card and citizenship as per section 5 of Israel’s Nationality Law. Similarly, marrying an Israeli citizen grants them the right to seek out both identification and nationality in accordance with section 7 of this same law.
To obtain Israeli status for a great-grandchild of a Jew, the applicant must maintain their primary residence in Israel and have no criminal record or pose an imminent security risk to the state.
For more information and legal advice regarding immigration to Israel, please contact us.