Over the years, Israelis that renounced their citizenship or spent a long time outside of Israel may wish to become a returning citizen and re-immigrate to Israel.
However, many are not aware of the legal consequences of their departure. Especially on their residency status and difficulties, they may encounter when arriving at Ben Gurion airport.
The legal process is pretty straightforward, but as in all legal cases, challenges may arise.
Without further adieu, here is everything you need to know about the legal procedure for re-immigrate to Israel from Israel’s esteemed attorney Joshua Pex.
Do you need to re-immigrate to Israel?
Not every Israeli that crossed the border for more than a vacation is required to go through the re-immigration process.
Reimmigration is for you if you ever renounced your Israeli citizenship or left Israel for an extended time (can also qualify as a returning citizen). So you may need to go through a few more steps to move back to Israel and restore your residency.
Please note: Israelis that renounce their citizenship may still be eligible for Israeli citizenship based on the Law of Return. More on that later.
If this is your first time moving to Israel, check if you’re eligible for Aliyah here.
Don’t qualify for the law of return? Don’t worry. Check out there five ways to gain Israeli citizenship.
This expert legal advice is brought to you by
I’m Joshua Pex, and my office specializes in all types of immigration cases to Israel for Jews and non-jews looking to move to Israel.
Additionally, my team and I are highly experienced in providing assistance and legal representation to Israeli citizens and returning residents looking to relocate to Israel.
We assist with immigration applications, returning residents, gaining immigrant benefits, financial assistance, and more. We’re backed by a law firm with branches in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
Trends of Israeli immigration
The trends of immigration out of Israel have seen an increase in recent years. The notorious “brain drain” has escalated beyond the relocation of academics overseas to the general population.
All in all, the statistics speak of very significant numbers of Israelis leaving the country.
In contrast, the wave of Israelis returning to Israel after long periods abroad has increased too.
If you’re an Israeli citizen and you spent more than two years outside of Israel, chances are you lost your residency (but not your citizenship). Losing your residency means you won’t enjoy benefits like Bituach Leumi, health care, and more.
How can you re-immigrante to Israel?
The increasing trends on Israeli immigration to and from Israel forced The Israeli Ministry of Interior to establish a legal procedure for re-immigration.
Step one, you must submit an re-immigration application
As with all bureaucratic procedures, the Ministry of Interior has set several requirements and documents that must be attached to your application. Including:
- a foreign passport
- confirmation on of the renouncement of Israeli citizenship (in relevant cases).
The Ministry of Interior will check whether you indeed stayed outside Israel for more than seven years to restore your residency.
If you renounced your Israeli citizenship, the Ministry would examine whether you are still entitled to return.
Where is the re-immigration to Israel application processed?
The most popular way is for you to apply with the Israeli Ministry of Interior in person.
However, it’s vital to note it’s not always possible to enter Israel after renouncing your citizenship.
This is especially true today, during the corona outbreak. Mainly since the Government has made it impossible to enter Israel from many other countries.
So what you can do in these cases is simply apply through the Israeli embassies and consulates abroad.
Re-immigration challenges? Here’s your legal recourse
In some cases, the Interior Ministry representatives have the power to deny eligibility for citizenship or residency for returning citizens.
For example, if you have a criminal record or are perceived as a risk to state security.
If you’ve encountered difficulties and your re-immigration application was denied, you may still appeal to the Israeli court. If you’re abroad, we can file on your behalf through a power of attorney.
Renouncing your citizenship isn’t the end all be all of your Israeli citizenship. Read below a success story of an Israeli that renounced his citizenship only to regain it in the future.
A success story: re-immigration petition to the court after citizenship renouncement
In 2013 the High Court of Justice ruled on a petition. This petition was received from a family who wanted to immigrate to Israel from Ukraine.
The father was eligible for re-immigrate to Israel by the Law of Return after moving to Ukraine and renouncing his Israeli citizenship.
When he attempted to move back to Israel, his wife and children began the process of gradually obtaining Israeli citizenship as well.
The gradual process for obtaining citizenship for the wife and children was discontinued when the couple had separated.
The court ruled that the husband is eligible for re-immigration by the Law of Return. Since he was married at the time of his re-immigration, his wife and children still qualified for Israeli citizenship.
Contact an Israeli immigration specialist
Are you or your relatives considering moving back to Israel? That’s our specialty.
We’re happy to assist you with re-immigration applications, tax benefit applications, status adjustment for immigrants, returning residents procedures, and any other legal questions that you may have.
Contact us using the phone numbers or email address.