Immigration from England to Israel – All you need to know

There are a number of factors that may be driving Jewish immigration from England to Israel. One is the increasing hostility and anti-Semitism in Europe and Great Britain, which may make Israel feel like a safer and more secure homeland.

Additionally, there is a strong sense of Jewish identity and connection to the land of Israel among many diaspora Jews, which can motivate them to make Aliyah. In this article you will find useful information regarding the options and process of Immigration from the United Kingdom to Israel.

The overall trend of Aliya from the UK to Israel has been steadily increasing in recent years. In 2019, more than 3,500 Jews immigrated to Israel from the UK, a 35% increase from 2018.

In light of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union, also known as Brexit, the immigration process for both British citizens traveling to Israel and Israeli citizens traveling to the UK has been affected.

It’s important to note that both immigration and emigration are normal and natural processes that happen in many countries. Both Israel and the UK are diverse societies that are enriched by the contributions of immigrants and the experiences of those who choose to leave.

Israel and Great Britain share a rich history. The Jewish community in the UK is large and influential and much of modern day Israeli law and society has been influenced British norms and practices.

This is due to the fact that following the First World War, Britain ruled the region of Palestine, now known as Israel, from 1918 until 1948, as part of the British Mandate.

What is Aliyah based on the Law of Return?

Aliyah, which literally translates as “ascent” in Hebrew, refers to the immigration of Jews to Israel. The Law of Return, which was passed in 1950, and is considered a founding principle in Israeli law, grants the right of citizenship to Jews who are interested in relocating to Israel from anywhere in the world, including of course from the UK.

Under this law, any Jewish person and their family (also children and grandchildren of Jews) have the right to come and live in Israel as a citizen.

The process of Aliyah for British citizens, as with all potential Olim, involves receiving approval from the Ministry of Interior in Israel. However, if outside of Israel, this is done by applying to the relevant department at the Israeli consulate in London. After being approved this individual (in Hebrew Oleh) is allowed to enter Israel and complete the process of becoming a citizen.

Once the individual has entered Israel, they must register as a resident with the Ministry of Interior (Misrad Hapnim).  Obtaining Israeli citizenship is also done by applying to the Ministry of Interior and receiving an Israeli ID card (Teudat Zehut) and passport.

The Law of Return also applies to non-Jewish family members of Jewish people, such as children and grand-children of Jews. Also the spouse or children of any person eligible for Aliyah can accompany the Oleh in this process. These applicants can also make Aliyah and become citizens of Israel under the Law of Return.


Which documents are required?

When emigrating from the UK to Israel, one must provide certain documents to the Israeli authorities in order to obtain approval. These documents include:

  1. A valid passport: You will need to provide a passport valid for at least one year, that is recognized by the Israeli government.
  2. Birth certificates: Always required of the applicant and family members, as well as parents, or grandparents, if needed to prove family heritage. Note it’s usually required to have the long version of the birth certificate, which includes the names of both parents, as well as other details such as the date and place of birth.
  3. Marital status records: Marriage certificate, Divorce order, or document that proves an applicant is single.
  4. Proof of Jewish identity: This may include a letter from a rabbi or Jewish community leader, a birth or marriage certificate (Ketubah) that shows a Jewish parent or grandparent, or other documentation that proves Jewish heritage. Any documents such as Bar Mitzvah certificate or proof of burial in Jewish cemetery may be used to prove Jewish family origin.
  5. A medical certification: When immigrating to Israel, each adult member of the family is required to fill out their own form. This form does not require the signature of a doctor or physician and should only be completed by the individual themselves. Additionally, for any minors under the age of 18 making Aliyah, their form must be filled out by a parent or legal guardian, and should be submitted along with the Aliyah visa application form to the Israeli Consulate.
  6. Police clearance certificate: You will need to provide a police clearance certificate from the UK, or any other country you have lived in, which shows that you have no criminal record.
  7. Passport photos in order to attach to the forms for an Israeli residence card and New Immigrant certificate.

Note: All documents that were issued outside of Israel need to be verified by an Apostille stamp, or at the Israeli Consulate, in the United Kingdom, or country of origin. Moreover, certain documents will need to be translated into Hebrew, by a notary Public in Israel, who is fluent in Hebrew and English.

What about Aliyah for Spouse and Children?

Aliyah, or immigration to Israel based on the Law of Return, for a spouse and children from the UK follows a similar process as Aliyah for an individual. The spouse and children would need to obtain approval from the Ministry of Interior in Israel.

In cases where a minor’s child biological parent isn’t moving to Israel, the Israeli immigration authority will want to see this parent’s permission.

Non Jewish family members of Israelis may be eligible for residence permits to Israel

Israeli immigration law has evolved over the years and due to humanitarian reasons procedures where enacted to allow family unification. These special immigration programs allow Israelis to invite their non-Jewish family (first degree relatives) residing outside, to join them in Israel. In these cases the parents are not eligible for Aliyah, and therefore separate from their children.

Parents of IDF soldiers can apply for a visa to Israel and eventually residence, based on a son or daughter who is serving in active military duty. Also an elderly lonely parent of an Israeli, who is living alone abroad, may be able to join their children in Israel, if no other child can take care of them in their country of residence.

What are the different types of visas available for those looking to enter Israel?

The State of Israel offers a range of visa options for those British nationals looking to visit or reside in the country. Each visa type has its own set of eligibility requirements and application approval processes.

The A/1 Temporary Resident Visa suits temporary visitors who meet the eligibility requirements under the Law of Return approved.

The B/4 Volunteer Visa to Israel allows recognized institutions in Israel, such as hospitals, NGO’s, Kibbutzim and even the IDF to grant visas to foreign volunteers to help in various projects. This visa is usually granted for between 6 months and 2 years.

The A/2 Student Visa is intended for those who wish to study in Israel. This type of visa allows students to enroll in a wide range of educational institutions, universities, and yeshivot (religious schools). The visa is for up to 12 months and suits those who aim at full-time study, thus, work is not permitted while holding this visa.

The A/3 Clergy Visa is a specific type of visa that allows religious leaders to enter Israel and perform their duties within their respective communities. This visa is typically intended for individuals such as priests, ministers, and other religious figures who are invited by a recognized religious institution in Israel. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must have an official invitation from a recognized religious institution and must demonstrate that they have a clear purpose for entering the country. This visa is granted for a specific period of time and does not typically allow for work other than religious duties.

The B/1 Work Visa is called to suit foreign nationals who aim to work in Israel for a specified duration. This visa is designed specifically for the immigration of professionals and requires approval from the Ministry of Interior, along with proof of employment, and a valid work permit from the employer. The duration of the B/1 Work Visa may vary depending on the nature of the work and the approval from the Ministry of Interior. However, this visa is not usually granted for more than 5 years. It is important to note that the B/1 Work Visa may have restrictions on the type of work that can be performed, and may not allow for certain types of employment. It is advisable to check with the relevant authorities to ensure that you meet all the necessary criteria before applying.

The A/4 Dependent Visa is available to the immediate family members, such as spouses and children, of individuals who have been approved for an A/2 Student Visa, a B/1 Expert Worker visa or an A/3 Clergy Visa. This visa allows these family members to enter and reside in Israel while the primary visa holder is studying or carrying out their religious duties. It is important to note that the eligibility and application process for the A/4 Dependent Visa may differ from case to case and requires additional documentation, such as proof of relationship to the primary visa holder.

The B/2 Visitor’s Visa is designed for those who plan to visit Israel for a short period of time, such as for tourism, personal visits, or for attending meetings or conferences as a business professional. However, it is important to note that this visa does not permit working in Israel and any violation of this rule may result in the cancellation of the visa.

How is life in Israel for British nationals?

English-speaking expats in Israel may face some challenges when adjusting to life in the country, such as learning a new language, navigating different cultural norms, and finding employment. However, there are also many resources available to help English-speaking expats adjust to life in Israel, including English-language classes, support groups, and career counseling services.

Does immigration from the UK to Israel require the help of a Lawyer?

Many actually succeed to complete the immigration process to Israel without the help of a lawyer. However, especially for those with complicated cases, or those who want to be sure that they are doing the process correctly, it’s recommended to consult with a qualified immigration lawyer to ensure full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations when relocating to Israel from the UK.

Contact us today for any questions regarding Immigration from England to Israel

The Israeli immigration system can be complex and offer limited options, particularly for long-term and permanent immigration from the UK, for those with no Jewish background.

Hiring an immigration lawyer with expertise in immigration law can ensure that you are on the right path to achieving your long-term goals. An immigration lawyer will provide you with peace of mind that your case is in good hands and increase your chances of receiving a positive decision on your application.

Our legal specialist team understands the processes and rules of global mobility and immigration in every jurisdiction.