Completing the Immigration of your foreign partner to Israel can be challenging. More than 3,000 couples start the immigration process every year. Sadly, not everyone completes this process successfully.
The process for obtaining Israeli citizenship for non-Jewish partners is gradual and takes 5-7 years.
The Israeli law states the foreign citizen must be married or be in a serious relationship with an Israeli citizen or resident to qualify for the “friendship visa.”
Issued by the Ministry of the Interior, the “friendship visa” leads to foreign spouses’ legal status in Israel. So it’s crucial to ensure you are fully compliant with all legal guidelines and regulations throughout the immigration process.
In this article, attorney Joshua Pex, Israeli immigration lawyer, will share his top 5 tips for the successful immigration of your foreign spouses to Israel.
Immigration tip 1: stay together
The most critical and challenging tip of them all, stay together. It’s a sad fact of life that people break up, even after deciding to gain foreign citizenship somewhere else together.
It’s understandable; Immigration can be very stressful, but splitting up can seriously hurt your chances of obtaining an Israeli passport. Our office has helped many clients to immigrate to Israel successfully. But, sadly, we saw too many couples break up before completing the process.
It’s important to note, divorce or separation stops the gradual process. However, in some cases, the foreign spouse may still be eligible to stay in Israel, even after the breakup, if the couple has been in the process for a long time or they have mutual children, who are Israeli citizens. To sum up, our first tip is, if possible, to persevere and stay together.
If this has happened to you and you want to stay in Israel, we can help. Contact us today for a personal consultation.
Immigration tip 2: Be organized
Tip number 2 is to stay organized. Like many other bureaucratic tasks, keeping your documents organized is crucial. If you’re a naturally organized person – well done. You’re ahead of the class.
Sadly, many of our clients lack the organizational skills to keep their documents in order.
To apply for the Israeli friendship visa, you must produce documentation that proves the authenticity of the relationship. These documents must be:
- translated professionally
- authenticated by apostille
The clerks in the Israeli Ministry of Interior like their files well-organized, so being prepared and organized dramatically raises your chances of success.
Pro tip: play by strength and let the more organized spouse take charge of collecting and organizing the paperwork.
Immigration tip 3: learn more about each other
Tip number 3 should be pretty straightforward, but it depends on the nature of your relationship.
To prove your relationship is genuine, you’ll need to go through several interviews as part of the gradual process of gaining legal status in Israel. During these interviews, you’ll need to answer personal questions about each other.
Here’s how it’s going to play out:
You’ll have an appointment with a clerk at the Ministry of Interior. The clerk will ask you both a few questions together. After the joint interview, you’ll be split into different rooms and asked a series of questions about your spouse.
Here’s a sample of the types of questions you’ll be asked during the interview:
- What’s your spouse’s date of birth?
- What are some names of family members?
- What you did last week?
- Where did you first meet?
- How many rooms do you have in your house?
- What do you do in your spare time?
- What is your favorite movie?
- And on and on it goes…
See what I mean about knowing each other well?
If you can’t answer these questions, you better start getting ready so you can pass the official interviews. You can’t cheat this interview so prepare for the interviews to avoid any contradictions.
Immigration tip 4: Be patient, but know your rights
This 4th tip will help you go through the sometimes frustrating process without pulling all your hair out. Bureaucracy in Israel can be hectic.
So remember to be polite and patient with the clerks at the Ministry of Interior. Like all bureaucratic processes, frustration is unavoidable, but it can be dramatically reduced if you’re prepared mentally.
At times it may seem like the requests from the clerks don’t make sense, and they just have it out for you. But remember, they are just doing their job, and ultimately, you have one goal here, so remember why you’re doing this and breathe.
Our main tip is to get familiar with the law and know your rights. So you can be assertive and pushback using legal grounds when requests are not legal.
If you don’t know your rights, you can always seek professional legal advice even after starting the process. It’s okay to stand up to yourself and be assertive in Israel. Just remember to do so respectfully.
Immigration tip 5: Get professional help when you need it
The final tip in this article is to know when to ask for professional help. Remember, the gradual process of gaining citizenship takes 5-7 years if done right.
Out of the 3,000 couples that go through this process each year, not all require legal immigration assistance. But some cases can not succeed without it.
If you’re in the middle of the gradual process and you find yourself needing professional legal help, I urge you to contact a lawyer. Making mistakes may extend the process dramatically or result in rejection.
However, if you feel you can complete this process yourself, save your money. If you’re unsure whether or not you require legal advice, here are a few examples of the most common cases that need legal assistance:
- The foreign spouse applied for refugee status in Israel
- The foreign spouse stayed in the country illegally
- One of the partners is married to another person and is unable to dissolve the marriage
- The foreign spouse has a criminal background
Contact an Israeli immigration lawyer
Immigration to Israel can be a tricky process.
If you’re looking for an immigration lawyer, we are here to help. Our office has helped many people immigrate to Israel, and our lawyers have a lot of experience with the Israeli government. We know what it takes to get your visa approved and will work hard on your behalf.
Contact us today if you need any help or advice with immigration cases in Israel! We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions, offer helpful advice, and provide legal representation for you at no cost until you decide whether or not we’re the right firm for you. You won’t regret contacting us!
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