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Israeli citizenship for fourth-generation grandchildren of Jews

When Jewish great-grandchildren migrate to Israel with their parents. And they may encounter many difficulties in obtaining Israeli citizenship or immigrant status in Israel under the Law of Return. According to the Jewish religion and the Law of Return Acts, the Israeli government only grants citizenship status up to third-generation grandchildren of a Jewish family. But what about the fourth-generation grandchildren of the Jews? Can they get citizenship in Israel? Yes, they can get Israeli citizenship through the Law of Return. But applicants would need to prove their Jewish roots.

How do you prove Jewish family roots to obtain Israeli citizenship?

It is important to remember that in the Jewish religion, the Jewish heritage goes with the mother according to the Jewish law (Halacha). So Jewish mothers’ daughters always would be Jewish, even if they got married to non-Jewish spouses. But a Jewish mother’s son, if he got married to a non-Jewish spouse, his children would be non-Jewish.  

So if the applicant’s great-grandmother is Jewish, her children (the applicant’s grandparents) would be Jewish. But when her children (the applicant’s grandparents) married a non-Jewish spouse. Since the Jewish inheritance goes to the mother, none of the applicant’s grandmother and parents were Jews. But if the applicant’s great-grandmother was Jewish, they would be considered fourth-generation Jewish great-grandchildren. 

See the diagram for a better understanding.

Required documents

  • Photos, age 1 to 18 years
  • Birth certificate in original and translated
  • Parent’s identity card and proof of Israeli citizenship
  • A foreign passport is valid for two years
  • Payment slips for application fees
  • additional documents are required if needed


In the Law of Return, the Israeli Ministry stated that only up to third-generation grandchildren of Jewish mothers can return to Israel and apply for citizenship through the naturalization process “Law of Return“. It also prevents great-grandchildren from acquiring citizenship status in Israel. But the fourth generation can obtain Israeli citizenship through different procedures.

If the applicant is under 18 years of age

To be eligible for citizenship, the applicant (fourth generation) must be under 18 years of age and have migrated to Israel with their parents, and the parents should be eligible for repatriation through the law of return. So the parents can apply for citizenship for their children with them. The immigration authority’s administrator will check and verify the application and documents. After checking the application, they will grant the applicant a temporary residence permit (A/9) for one year. If the applicant is still under 18 years of age after the expiration of the one-year temporary residence permit, they will extend the temporary residence permit for another two years, a total of 3 years. During this period, the grandchildren must remain in Israel with at least one parent. For fact-checking, the applicant will need to submit entrances, exits, certificates from the school, etc. 

  • If the applicant is still a minor, his/her parents can apply for Israeli citizenship under section 5 of the Citizenship Act or apply for a permanent residence permit.
  • If the applicant is an adult, he/she can apply for citizenship with their parents under section 9 of the Citizenship Act. 
  • If the applicant is married to an Israeli citizen, according to section 7 of the Citizenship Act, or applies for a permanent residence permit according to his / her choice.