Immigration from Germany to Israel – Important legal advice
In the recent years, more and more German citizens of Jewish descent consider making Aliyah and moving to Israel. Yet, immigrating to a new country can be a challenging process. This is particularly true for those looking to move from Germany to Israel. The legal aspects of immigration are numerous and can be difficult to navigate.
Our law office specializes in Israeli immigration law, helping foreign citizens entitled to make Aliyah, foreign spouses of Israelis, residency, visas to Israel and other ways to find legal status in Israel.
This article will explore and summarize the various legal considerations for immigration to Israel from Germany, including the requirements for obtaining a visa and the citizenship process.
What is the history of German Jews moving to Israel?
The history of Jewish-German relations is complex and spans centuries. Jews have lived in Germany since the Roman Empire, but their presence increased significantly in the Middle Ages.
Over time, Jews played important roles in German society, such as in science, academy, arts, finance and commerce. However, German Jews also faced persecution, particularly during the medieval period which got worse after the first world war and beyond.
Antisemitism toward Jews in Germany reached its horrifying climax under the Nazis during World War II. The Holocaust (called Shoah in Hebrew) in which six million Jews were murdered in Europe by the German Nazis and their collaborators in other countries, is the single most tragic event in Jewish and world history.
After Hitler rose to power in Germany in 1933 and until the modern state of Israel was established in 1948, approximately 250,000 Jews immigrated to Mandatory Palestine (now Israel) from Germany and Austria, driven to flee by the Third Reich. This represented about 25% of the Jewish population in those countries at the time.
After the war ended, many European Jews immigrated to Israel or the United States, but a small community remained in Germany. In recent years we are also witnessing Israelis immigrating to Germany, Berlin in particular, and establishing an Israeli German community.
Acquiring Israeli citizenship
If you are a German citizen and wish to settle in Israel, you will need to obtain Israeli citizenship or permanent residence. To do so, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Eligibility for citizenship under the Law of Return, which applies to Jews, their children, and grandchildren worldwide.
- Note, that Aliyah and Israeli citizenship is also possible for those who converted to Judaism and meet the criteria.
- Being a family member (spouse or parent) of an Israeli citizen.
- Holding permanent resident status in Israel and being eligible for naturalization.
- Having had Israeli citizenship revoked during childhood, and now seeking to regain it.
Aliyah to Israel for German Jews
The process of immigration to Israel for Jews, known as Aliyah, is facilitated by the Jewish Agency department, at the Israeli Embassy in Germany. They have an agreement with the Israeli government to assist Jewish people abroad in the process of immigration to Israel.
If a person who is eligible for Aliyah is present in Israel already, whether as a tourist, or another kind of visa, the Aliyah process is done directly at the local office of the Ministry of Interior (Misrad Hapnim) immigration Department, in the city of residence.
As a Jew living in Germany, you can contact your local Jewish Agency office to begin the Aliyah process. They will guide you through the process and inform you of the necessary documents required. Once your Aliyah is approved, you will be able to live and work in Israel as a citizen.
For more information on making Aliyah to Israel, visit the Jewish Agency’s website here.
How to immigrate to Israel from Germany to join your spouse
Joining a spouse in Israel is one of the common reasons for German citizens to immigrate to Israel. The process of immigration in this case is relatively straightforward, but it requires certain steps to be taken.
The first step is to apply for a request to open a file for family unification. This is done with the local Israeli immigration office, or at the Consular Department of the Israeli Embassy, if the couple reside outside of Israel.
Israeli immigration authority will check that the relationship is real by way of reviewing documents and conducting interviews. The Israeli immigration officials want to make sure that this process is not intended for the purpose of illegal immigration.
It’s important to state that a joint life application is granted for a foreign spouse of an Israeli, or an unmarried partner, in a long term committed relationship. This process is specially created for foreign citizen spouses and their minor children of Israeli citizens or residents.
With this visa, they will be able to live their spouse in Israel, and allowed to work or study in the country. After a period of 5-7 years, of the gradual process; living together in Israel, renewing the temporary residence status of the foreign partner, year after year, at the end of the process, the foreigner may request Israeli citizenship.
In order to open an application for a foreign partner, there are some documents that are required for the process of immigration to Israel, such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, passport, criminal background check, financial stability, letters of recommendation from friends and family, rental contract or ownership of residence, health insurance coverage and more.
It’s also important to note that you will need Apostille authentication of German documents, and may also need to provide notarized Hebrew translation of your documents, by an Israeli Notary Public, fluent in Hebrew and German.
Can non-Jews immigrate to Israel from Germany?
The Aliyah process, which is the process of immigration to Israel for Jewish people, is the primary method for individuals of Jewish descent to settle in Israel.
However, for non-Jews, immigrating to Israel on a permanent basis can be more challenging, since the options are limited. Israel’s immigration laws are not as accommodating as other countries, and they primarily focus on the immigration of Jewish people.
It is worth noting that individuals of Jewish descent who are not Jewish according to halakha (Jewish law) may still be eligible for Aliyah under the Law of Return if they have one Jewish grandparent, have undergone a formal conversion to Judaism, or are married to a Jew.
Non-Jewish German nationals can still move to Israel on a temporary basis. For this, they will need to have a valid tourist visa, foreign worker visa, student visa, volunteer visa, clergy visa etc. A tourist visa allows individuals to stay in Israel for up to three months, but any other activity, sch as working in Israel, is strictly forbidden.
In Israel, a foreign worker visa allows individuals to work for a year, but can renewed for up to 5 years. Student visas are also available for non-Jewish individuals who wish to study in Israel.
In some cases, non-Jewish individuals may also be able to immigrate to Israel through various humanitarian programs such as parents of IDF soldiers, elderly and lonely parents of an Israeli. A special visa is given to those non-Jews, who helped save Jews during the holocaust and are recognized by Yad Vashem as righteous among the gentiles.
Also, refugees and asylum seekers in Israel may be granted legal status according to the International Convention for Refugees, although the process and criteria for these programs can be complex and difficult to navigate.
How to move to Israel from Germany for employment?
Moving to Israel for work-related reasons is a common decision for many individuals. The process of working and living in Israel involves obtaining a valid job offer, a work permit, and a work visa.
Your employer is responsible for applying for the expert work permit on your behalf. Once you have obtained the work permit, you will become eligible to apply for the B/1 work visa, which is the most popular route for gaining employment in Israel.
The B/1 work visa is available for individuals working in a variety of fields, including: academic fields such as engineers for a company’s Research and Development team, senior executives, and auditors; non-academic fields; post-doctoral research fellows; foreign scientists and journalists; and high-tech workers.
It is important to note that the job offer must fall under one of these categories in order to be eligible for the B/1 work visa.
As a German citizen, it is important to remember that moving to Israel on a work permit will allow you to stay there temporarily. The permit together with a multi-entry visa is granted for one year, but can be extended for a maximum period of 5 years and 3 months.
It is important to consider this when making the decision to move to Israel for work, as it may have an impact on long-term plans such as starting a family or buying property.
When it comes to finding a job in Israel, there are a few options available. One of the most common ways to find a job is through job search websites, such as LinkedIn. Networking with people who are already working in Israel is also a great way to learn about job opportunities.
Additionally, many companies have a presence in Israel and may have job openings for individuals with the right skills and qualifications.
The process of working and living in Israel is relatively straightforward, but it is important to have a clear understanding of the requirements and steps involved. Obtaining a valid job offer, work permit, and working visa is the first step towards working and living in Israel.
It is also important to remember that the work permit allows for temporary stay in Israel, and that additional steps such as registering with the National Insurance Institute are also required. With the right preparation and understanding of the process, working and living in Israel can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Contact us – Israeli immigration lawyers
In this article, we have provided information about immigration to Israel for Germans, including Aliyah, obtaining an employment offer, a work permit, and a working visa, as well as the process for obtaining permanent residency and naturalization or Israeli citizenship.
If you are considering immigrating from Germany to Israel, or otherwise, seeking to discover your German roots and reunite with distant relatives by making immigration from Israel to Germany, our law office can assist you in the process.
Our team of professional, reliable, and friendly immigration lawyers can guide you through the process of moving to Germany from Israel and vice versa without any hassle. From acquiring your visa to your arrival, our team will be there to help you every step of the way.
Our head offices are located in the city center of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but we serve clients from all parts of Israel, as well as abroad around the world. To get in touch with one of our lawyers, please give us a call or fill out the form on our website, and we will be happy to assist you.