By Advocate Daniel Aspiro, Head of Private Clientele |

As of October 27, 2021, applications for residency and citizenship can be submitted to foreign spouses of Israeli citizens and permanent residents, married and unmarried, as well as to same-sex couples intentionally via the Internet. On the one hand, it is expected that the procedure will streamline the process, however, on the other hand, there is a real concern that any typo mistake in the electronic submission process will lead to major delays in the process and a huge disappointment for the couple.

Background

The State of Israel allows the obtaining of residency and citizenship for foreign spouses of citizens and permanent residents, either married or unmarried, including same-sex partners  (hereinafter: the “Step by Step process”).

As part of the application process to begin the Step by Step Process, the Israeli spouse must apply in advance to open a case with the Ministry of the Interior – the Population and Immigration Authority, in accordance with his/her place of residence (hereinafter: “the Ministry of the Interior”). The waiting time for opening a new case currently lasts between 3-9 months before the meeting, depending on the workload at the particular Ministry of the Interior.

During the meeting, government fees must be paid to open the case. In addition, the Israeli spouse must provide all the required documents during the meeting. In the case where the Ministry of the Interior has approved all the documents, the Ministry clerk has the discretion to issue a work visa on the spot or set a date for the interview. It is also possible to apply at the Israeli Embassy depending on the place of residence of the Israeli citizen.

The presence of the foreign spouse at the meeting will only be possible if he is staying in Israel legally.

What’s new?

According to the decision of the Ministry of Interior, as of Wednesday, October 27, 2021, an application for a Step by Step process (Also known as “married visa” or “Boy Friend and Girl Friend visa”) must be submitted online only. This will save a lot of time for the applicants while submitting the documents online.

The application must be accompanied by all the documents required for the procedure, including (partial list):

  • Original birth certificates, personal status, and more.
  • Shared photos.
  • Forms.
  • Documents proving a relationship.
  • Confirmation of payment of the government fees for opening the case.

Under the new procedure, all documents are required to be well scanned. The Ministry of Interior may issue a B-1 work visa on spot or set an appointment for an interview, subject to its sole discretion.

It is important to note that the absence of a single document in accordance with the requirements of the ministry, may lead to a significant delay in the process and may even lead to even to a denial in some cases.

Once all the documents have been approved, the authority will summon the Israeli citizen to present the original documents. The response time after presenting the original documents to the Ministry is about two months.

KTA lawyers anticipate that in the near future, it will also be possible to submit additional applications online, including submitting an application for residency and even citizenship.

The decision of the Ministry of Interior may be of significant importance: on the one hand to approve the process and on the other hand, it may deny the application. The assistance of an immigration law firm that specializes in these proceedings can prevent a very long delay and disappointment.


 

The law firm Kan-Tor & Acco is a boutique law firm that specializes in all immigration applications to Israel in general and in particular for applications for Step by Step processes. Our office has rich experience, and we can assist the couple in the complicated and complex process of preparing for the process, processing the application at the Ministry of the Interior in Israel, or preparing the case to be presented at the Israeli consulate abroad.