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Foreign Spouse and Partnership in Israel

Nowadays, Israelis are maintaining relationships with foreign national spouses, which is common these days. However, the Israeli government does not officially recognize these relationships or marriages, which poses challenges for foreign spouses seeking legal status in the country. This article explores the options available to bring a foreign spouse to Israel and the application process for obtaining legal status.

How to Obtain Legal Status for a Foreign Spouse in Israel?

If you’re an Israeli citizen in a relationship with a foreign spouse and wish to invite them to live in Israel, there are several visa options to consider. These include:

  1. B/3 Visa: This visa grants temporary residency for up to five years.
  2. A/5 Temporary Residence Visa: Intended for temporary purposes such as employment or studies, its validity aligns with the specific program.
  3. B/2 Visitor Visa: Allows temporary stays for tourism or business purposes.
  4. Return Visa: Required for foreign spouses who have left Israel temporarily and wish to return.
  5. B/4 Volunteer Visa: Suitable for individuals participating in volunteer programs
  6. B/1 Work Visa: For foreign spouses who secure employment in Israel
  7. Permanent Residence Visa: Grants an indefinite stay in Israel.
  8. A/4 Visa for Spouses and Children: Specifically designed for spouses and children of Israeli citizens
  9. B/52 Permitted to Work Unrestricted: Allows foreign spouses to work in Israel without limitations.

Each visa category has its own requirements and limitations, so it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer to determine the best option based on your specific situation. It is worth noting that same-sex couples can also apply for visas for their partners, as same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Israel.

Eligibility Criteria and Duration of Stay

When applying for legal status for a foreign spouse in Israel, meeting specific eligibility criteria is crucial. The Israeli citizen must be legally married to or in a recognized partnership with their foreign spouse. This requires a supporting cohabitation agreement or a marriage certificate that has been verified by a government official in the country where the marriage took place.

The duration of stay allowed depends on the visa category obtained. For example, the B/3 Visa permits temporary residency for up to five years, but the actual duration granted is subject to individual circumstances and the authorities’ discretion. The A/5 Temporary Residence Visa is intended for temporary purposes like employment or studies and aligns with specific employment or educational programs. In cases where Israeli citizen and their foreign spouses meet the criteria, a permanent residence visa grants an indefinite stay in Israel.

foreign spouse, couple

Required Documents

To apply for legal status for a foreign spouse in Israel, the following documents are typically required:

  1. Israeli spouse’s current ID
  2. A valid passport photocopy of the foreign spouse (with a validity of at least two years)
  3. Three passport-size photographs of a foreign spouse
  4. Proof of cohabitation, such as photographs, evidence of shared holidays, life events, weddings, graduations, and birthdays
  5. Proof of correspondence, such as phone call records, statements from family or friends, travel itineraries, or hotel bookings
  6. A letter of support from an Israeli citizen
  7. Original birth certificate of the foreign spouse
  8. A police clearance certificate for the foreign spouse

All submitted documents must be translated into Hebrew and authenticated by a notary and affidavit.

Application Process and Legal Support

Navigating the application process for obtaining legal status for a foreign spouse in Israel can be complex. Seeking legal support is crucial to ensuring a smooth process. Immigration lawyers specializing in this area can assist with gathering the required documents, translating and authenticating them, and guiding applicants through the procedures.

Legal experts provide valuable guidance on eligibility criteria, prepare the application, and ensure compliance with the Ministry of Interior’s rules and regulations. They are equipped to handle any potential issues or challenges that may arise during the process. With their expertise and knowledge, legal support significantly increases the chances of a successful application, saving time and reducing stress for both Israeli citizens and their foreign spouses.