By Amit Acco, Partner |
Due to the decision of the Minister of Interior to transfer resources to passport renewal offices, international couples have been left without a response or ability to process their Step By Step visa for the no Israeli spouse. Same for applicants for B-2 visitors, B-2 visitor extensions and dependents of foreign experts.
Following the Ministry of Interior’s plan to allocate offices throughout the country solely for passport-related services, appointments for other non-passport-related matters have been canceled. These include status adjustments, registering children in the population registry, and renewing or issuing permits that were previously available in Israel. Many service applicants have been left without a response and have not been given a new appointment date. An organization representing international couples is considering appealing to the Supreme Court against this decision.
The four main offices located in Haifa, Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva, and Tel Aviv issued passports to 5,484 individuals yesterday. However, this decision infringes on the rights of many individuals who have waited for a long time for their appointment and are now forced to wait again. Some of them are prevented from entering the country or staying without the appropriate permit.
Initially, it seemed that the services would only be suspended for a limited period of one month and only for the four main offices. However, many citizens discovered yesterday morning that their appointments were canceled, even though they were scheduled in other offices that were not supposed to be affected by the plan. In several emails received by indeviduals (foreign spouses of Israeli nationals and dependents) from the Population Registry department officials hey were informed that their meetings had been canceled and that the department was closed.
“All appointments have been canceled except for requests governed by a court order according to the schedule determined by the court,” the email from the Population Registry in Rishon Lezion stated.
According to Kan-Tor & Acco checks, the passport plan led to the cancellation of thousands of appointments for various permit issues, which Israelis and their families have been waiting for months, and sometimes over a year, without a legitimate alternative was provided.
According to the Ministry of Interior, any meeting that was canceled or postponed will be rescheduled as soon as possible.