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.

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.

The Types of Visas Available In 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

If you’re pondering a move from England to the beautiful land of Israel, I’m here to help guide you through the maze of Israeli immigration rules and regulations. I know firsthand how daunting and intricate this process can seem, especially for those from the UK without a Jewish background. That’s where my expertise comes in.

As someone deeply passionate about helping people navigate their way to a new life in Israel, I believe in taking a personal approach to each case. With my team’s extensive knowledge of immigration law, we’re not just lawyers; we’re your partners in this exciting yet challenging journey. We understand the nuances of global mobility and the specific quirks of the Israeli immigration system.

Our goal? To give you the peace of mind that your immigration case is in the safest of hands. We’re here to boost your chances of a favorable outcome and to make sure your path to achieving your long-term goals in Israel is as smooth as possible.

Feel free to reach out to me and my team. We’re more than ready to answer any of your questions and start this journey together.


The exchange of populations between the United Kingdom and Israel has witnessed a unique trend: Israel has become a more popular destination for British Jews than the UK for Israeli natives. Data from the Institute for Jewish Policy Research underscores this movement, revealing intriguing patterns of migration and settlement.

In 2008, there were 21,050 UK-born Jews residing in Israel. Contrast this with the 17,778 Israel-born individuals who opted to settle in the UK by the time of the last UK Census in 2011. These figures indicate a dynamic interplay between cultural ties and the allure of life in Israel for British Jews.

Further emphasizing the preferences of this demographic, statistics show a stark difference in settlement choices between British and American immigrants to Israel. Only 5% of British olim (immigrants) choose to make their homes in Judea and Samaria, widely known as the West Bank, compared to a higher proportion of 18% among American immigrants.

Looking back over the early 2000s, a shift in UK aliyah patterns becomes apparent. After a dip to just 300 immigrants in 2002, the average annual rate of aliyah from the UK bounced back to 500 during the 2000s. The profile of these immigrants is diverse, including professionals like accountants, lawyers, and graphic designers who are drawn to Israel’s Mediterranean allure and the potential for a higher quality of life.

Despite the allure of Israel, return migration occurs as well, with an estimated 80 individuals per year moving back to the UK. The migration narrative is complex, colored by both the draw of life in Israel and the enduring ties that beckon some back to the UK.

This transnational flow of people shapes the cultural and demographic landscapes of both countries.raits of these immigrants is diverse, including professionals like accountants, lawyers, and graphic designers who are drawn to Israel’s Mediterranean allure and the potential for a higher quality of life.

Despite the allure of Israel, return migration occurs as well, with an estimated 80 individuals per year moving back to the UK. The migration narrative is complex, colored by both the draw of life in Israel and the enduring ties that beckon some back to the UK.

This transnational flow of people shapes the cultural and demographic landscapes of both countries.

Visiting Israel as a UK citizen comes with a degree of flexibility regarding the length of stay. Initially, British passport holders can enter Israel without a visa for short stays of up to 90 days. During this period, they are allowed to travel within the country and experience what it’s like to live in Israel without the commitment of immigration. It’s an excellent opportunity for them to explore the cultural dynamics, professional environment, and the overall lifestyle that awaits them in Israel.

However, should UK citizens decide to extend their stay, they need to understand the procedures that govern a longer sojourn. They must apply for a visa extension before their initial 90 days come to an end. This extension is subject to approval by the Ministry of the Interior and can grant them additional time to stay in the country legally. The process involves demonstrating the purpose of the extended stay, which may include employment, study, or family reunification.

For those planning to settle permanently in Israel, the Aliyah process is key. Once their eligibility for Aliyah is confirmed, British Jews can begin the immigration process which places them on the path to Israeli citizenship. Government officials may commence processing their citizenship papers, which can fast-track their integration into Israeli society. This is a unique aspect of immigration to Israel, marking the significance the country places on the return of diaspora Jews.

For British retirees considering moving to Israel, the state pension logistics are also a crucial element to consider. It’s essential to check with the UK’s State Pension guidelines for updates on pension disbursements abroad to ensure a seamless transition during the golden years.

Moreover, residency requirements are clearly outlined on the Israel Embassy website, providing detailed information on mandatory documents, such as the Identity Card “Teudat Zehut”. This document is a requisite for all residents in Israel and must be obtained from the Ministry of the Interior.

Connecting with the British Embassy in Tel Aviv or the British Consulate in Jerusalem can also provide UK citizens with support as they navigate the complexities of immigration, residency, and living in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). It’s noteworthy that while these entities do not issue regular passports, they can assist with the provision of Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) for British citizens in distress.

Purchasing property in another country is a significant step that often comes with a complex set of regulations and legalities, and Israel is no exception. UK citizens have the option to buy property in Israel, but must navigate a unique legal landscape. The market is open, yet buyers should be conscious of certain considerations.

When looking at property in regions such as East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights, potential UK buyers must recognize these territories are subject to ongoing political tensions. Any future peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and Syria, could impact property rights in these areas.

The Israeli government’s official website features a section on construction and housing that offers guidance on real estate payments and land taxation which can be an invaluable resource for UK citizens interested in purchasing property. Prospective buyers should also visit the FCDO’s guidance page for buying property abroad to ensure they’re equipped with the necessary information before proceeding.

When relocating to Israel from the UK, new residents may wonder about the validity of their driving licences. British immigrants, tourists, and temporary residents who have lived outside Israel for a continuous period of at least one year are permitted to operate a vehicle using their valid foreign licence. This allowance lasts for one year from their date of entry into Israel.

Notably, driving with a UK licence isn’t just a convenience but a legal requirement for those wanting to take to Israeli roads. However, individuals must be mindful that after this initial year, they should take the necessary steps to obtain an Israeli driving licence. The process of converting a UK driving licence to an Israeli one involves simple procedures and can be initiated on the Israeli government portal.

Vehicle Insurance and the Green Card

Driving in Israel also requires adequate insurance coverage. British drivers must carry a green card when driving in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This green card serves as proof of minimum vehicle insurance, which is a mandatory condition for all motorists.

It’s advisable for UK citizens intending to drive in Israel to visit the official ‘Driving in Israel’ webpage. This platform provides comprehensive services ranging from licensing renewal to detailed guidance on various related matters such as paying traffic fines or bringing a vehicle to the country.

Navigating the shift from the UK to Israel demands a keen eye for detail and a thorough grasp of local laws. British Jews making this significant move are equipped with the knowledge to tackle the nuances of driving regulations and the intricacies of vehicle insurance in their new home. They’re also well-informed about their voting rights, which can be a critical aspect of integrating into the Israeli democratic fabric. With the right preparation and understanding, UK citizens can look forward to a seamless transition, embracing the vibrant culture and opportunities that Israel has to offer.