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Inter-faith and Civil marriage Israel

Today in Israel, only religious courts (Rabbinical courts, Sharia courts, Druze courts, and Christian courts) can register marriages under their religious rules. Based on the judiciary and marriage law, the marriages in each religious community have their own religious authority and law to conduct a marriage ceremony and register the marriage. This is not always as simple as it seems. The religious court can deny the registration of the marriage if the couple does not meet all the requirements. 

In that situation, the couple can go to the Ministry of Internal and file a case against the religious court’s decision. If the couple still doesn’t get any response from the Israeli Ministry of Internal. The couple can go abroad (Cyprus, the Czech Republic, the USA, Spain, El Salvador, and the countries of the former USSR) to conduct the marriage. And then the couple can go to the Israeli Ministry of Interior and apply for a naturalization procedure to gain the status. But this was for people who already live in Israel and have citizenship, but cannot marry.

What about secular Israelis, non-orthodox Jews, and other non-religious people?

Today, so many Israeli citizens (secular Israelis, non-Orthodox Jews, and other non-religious people) are in relationships with people from different communities (religions) and with foreigners. But for marriages, they face many difficulties in performing the marriage and getting legal recognition of the marriage in Israel. Israel has old matrimonial laws, which prevent normal Israeli citizens from getting recognition for their marriage in Israel. And also some provisions/principles of matrimonial laws implemented by the British after the formation of Israel. The Israeli government hasn’t abolished those old laws completely, but the Israeli government has made some amendments over the years.

The amendments in marriage law in Israel

  • in 1951, the Supreme Court of Israel has recognized marriages entered outside Israel or within Israel conducted by a rabbinical court under Halakha
  • In 1962, the Supreme Court ruled that the Ministry of the Interior must register couples who married in a civil ceremony abroad, even if one or both couples were citizens of Israel.
  • In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that the Ministry of the Interior must register same-sex marriages if the marriage entered outside of Israel.
  • In 2010, Israel adopted the Civil Union Law for Citizens without Religious Affiliation,  which allows a couple to form a civil union in Israel if both couples belong to any religion officially.
marriage

Required documents

  • Original marriage certificate
  • 2 visual images of each of the couples
  • Israeli spouse ID card, passport, return visa, and exit ticket
  • Foreign spouse ID card and passport, valid for at least two years
  • Letter of explanation signed by both spouses regarding the relationship
  • Proof of correspondence (Joint photos, joint accounts, letters, rentals and ID cards, photos of recommended family members/friends)
  • If the documents are not in Hebrew, the couple must translate the documents along with an affidavit and notary
  • The Israeli Ministry of internal would require additional documents if needed

Procedures for the civil (inter-faith) marriage registration

The Israeli government does not recognize interfaith or civil marriages. However, according to Section 7 of the Citizenship Law, an Israeli citizen and foreign spouse or other non-religious couples can conduct marriage abroad, and with that marriage certificate, the couples can apply for marriage registration in Israel.

when the one spouse lives abroad

If the one spouse lives abroad and wishes to come to Israel to live with his/her Israeli spouse. And they are married together. The spouse will be required to apply for an entry visa “type B/2” in advance before arriving in Israel. The “type B/2” would be valid for one year. And later, the invitee can extend the visa for 27 months, according to the Israeli entry law. When the entry visa “Type B/2” is about to expire, a residence permit “type B/1” would be issued for one year, which can extend the visa for another two years. At the end of the period of stay in a B/1 residence permit, the Israeli Ministry of Internal would approve a permanent residence permit type A/5 for two years, one year at a time. After that, the invitee can apply for Israeli citizenship, according to the Israeli Ministry of the Interior.

when the couple live together in Israel

If both couples are unmarried and live together in Israel, and one spouse is not an Israeli citizen. First, the couple would require to conduct marriage abroad and then apply for the residence permit “Type B/1” for one year, which can extend the visa for another two years. At the end of the period of stay in a B/1 residence permit, the Israeli Ministry of Internal would approve a permanent residence permit type A/5 for two years, one year at a time. After that, the invitee can apply for Israeli citizenship according to the Israeli Ministry of the Interior.