Permanent residency status in Israel bestows individuals with a lasting and secure legal standing within the country. Holders of permanent residency enjoy the privilege of having an Israeli personal identification card, which serves as their official identification document. However, it is essential to note that permanent residents in Israel are not entitled to participate in the general elections of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament. Nevertheless, they retain the right to vote in local municipal elections, granting them a voice in local governance matters.
If you would like assistance in applying for permanent residence, we suggest finding legal help.
Who Gets Permanent Residency?
Permanent residency in Israel is typically granted to foreign citizens who opt to retain their foreign citizenship (in a country that, unlike Israel, does not allow dual citizenship) rather than renounce it to pursue Israeli citizenship. By holding Israeli permanent residency, these individuals preserve their ties to their home countries while enjoying the advantages and opportunities of residing in Israel. This can occur with people looking to make Aliyah. Olim – new immigrants in Israel – may want to keep their citizenship in their original country; in this case, they obtain permanent residency.
Children can also get permanent residency classification. Israeli citizenship laws do not stipulate birthright citizenship for those born within Israel, but children can inherit their parent’s status as citizens or residents. Those who received permanent resident status as children can apply for Israeli citizenship anytime.
It is noteworthy that there exist Israeli residents who, historically, have been classified as permanent residents without being granted citizenship. This is primarily the case for the predominantly Arab residents of East Jerusalem. Under specific conditions, these residents can apply for Israeli citizenship, provided they are willing to renounce their foreign citizenship. The process is not too complex, but we always suggest legal help when navigating the government.
Permanent Residence vs. Citizens:
A key distinction to emphasize is that permanent residents in Israel do not possess Israeli passports. Consequently, they must present their foreign passports through border crossings when entering or exiting Israel. This distinction underscores the fact that permanent residency does not confer Israeli citizenship. Individuals with permanent residency status choose to maintain their foreign citizenship while benefiting from the advantages of residing in Israel.
Extended periods spent outside of Israel or permanent relocation to another country can potentially result in the expiration of permanent residency status. Therefore, it is strongly advised that individuals with permanent residency maintain a substantial presence within the country to ensure the continuity of their status. In addition to the fact a permanent resident cannot vote in national elections, another stipulation is the maximum duration spent outside of Israel. If a permanent resident leaves Israel for up to 7 years, they may be liable to forfeit their status.
What to think about:
Permanent residency in Israel gives individuals a secure and lasting legal status, enabling them to enjoy various rights and benefits. While it does not include voting rights in national elections or an Israeli passport, permanent residency allows individuals to reside in Israel while retaining their foreign citizenship if they so choose. Furthermore, citizens of the west bank with permanent residency status can go in and out of Israel with their papers, just as any citizen can. The real difference is voting in national elections.