By Partner Amit Acco |

The Law of Return is Israeli legislation that grants the right of Israeli citizenship to any Jew who wishes to settle in Israel. It is a cornerstone of the Jewish state’s existence, and it is designed to encourage Jewish immigration to Israel. The law was first enacted in 1950, and since then, it has brought millions of Jews from all over the world to the State of Israel.

One of the most important components of the Law of Return is the right to Israeli citizenship. This right is granted to any Jew who wishes to settle in Israel. Once a person becomes a citizen of Israel, they are entitled to an Israeli passport.

One of the most significant groups that have taken advantage of the Law of Return is the Jews of the former Soviet Union. After the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated to Israel.

Misuse of the Israeli Passport

As the Israeli passport provides many benefits, such as the ability to travel freely to many countries without a visa. Many of the new Olim, took advantage of Israel’s generosity in granting them citizenship and passport and left Israel immediately after making Aliyah, or who do not reside in Israel for most of the time.

As a response, the Israeli government has made changes to its policy on providing passports to Olim from the former Soviet Union and other countries. The government saw the leaving of Israel after the Aliah as a misuse of the Law of Return and a burden on the Israeli taxpayer, who funds the social services and benefits available to Israeli citizens.

Government Policy toward the issuance of Passport to new Olim

The government has decided to withdraw from its previous policy of providing a passport or renewing passports for those who do not have a strong connection to Israel or who are not actively contributing to Israeli society.

This new policy affected other Olim, who came for example from France and needed to stay significant time in France after Aliah, to manage their business and affairs.

Cases Where The Ministry Of Interior Does Not Fully Extend Or Provide An Israeli Passport

Under the new policy, Olim who do not reside in Israel most of the time, or who do not have a strong connection to Israel, may find it difficult to obtain or renew their Israeli passports.

In order to obtain or renew an Israeli passport, individuals who have made Aliyah may be required to provide proof of residence or other evidence that demonstrates a strong connection to Israel. Failure to provide such evidence may result in the issuance of a Laissez-passer, which restricts travel options and often requires a visa for entry into most countries.

An Israeli Laissez-passer in the context of this article is a travel document issued by the Israeli government to individuals who are unable to obtain a full Israeli passport. The Israeli Laissez-passer is recognized by many countries around the world, and it allows the holder to travel internationally for a limited period. However, it is not a substitute for a regular passport and may not be accepted by all countries, especially those with political tensions with Israel.

According to the Ministry of Interior Procedure No. 3.3.0004, an Oleh who has become an Israeli citizen for at least one year, but not yet a full five years, can get an Israeli passport for five years if they have spent a total of nine months in Israel. If it’s been more than five years since becoming a citizen, they can get a passport with validity for ten years provided they’ve spent a total of 36 out of 60 months in Israel.

It’s important to note that the decision to grant a passport or renew an existing one based on the evidence provided is discretionary and made by the Ministry of Interior. Unfortunately, there have been instances where the Ministry has made incorrect decisions in such cases.

This policy change has generated some controversy, with some Olim and their advocates arguing that it unfairly penalizes those who may have left Israel for economic or personal reasons but still maintain a strong connection to the country.

Israeli Citizens Abroad that Denied a Right to Obtain New Passport

As per the Ministry of Interior guidelines, individuals who reside outside of Israel and require a renewal of their Israeli Passport should apply to the Israeli Consulate in their current place of residence. They will need to provide information about their personal circumstances and the reason for needing the passport. Alternatively, an extraordinary application can be submitted directly to the Ministry of Interior in Jerusalem.

In case of any appeals against a decision made by the Israeli Consulate, they should be directed to the Ministry of Interior headquarters in Jerusalem. It’s important to follow these procedures to ensure that the application process is smooth and any issues are resolved in a timely manner.

Legal Service by Kan-Tor & Acco

It is essential for individuals in this situation to seek professional legal representation to ensure that their case is carefully examined and argued in the most effective manner possible. At this critical stage, it’s important to have an experienced team on your side who can guide you through the process and provide the necessary support to ensure that your rights are protected.

Kan-Tor & Acco has been a reliable partner for new Olim seeking to obtain Israeli passports based on the argument of strong ties to Israel. We understand that each case is unique and requires a thorough analysis before making any argument. That’s why KTA offers professional legal representation to support our clients in the best possible way.

Our team of experts examines every case individually and provides personalized assistance to ensure the best possible outcome for our clients. We have a proven track record of successfully helping numerous clients in pursuing and securing their Israeli passports.

At KTA, we believe in providing our clients with the highest level of service and support. Our commitment to excellence has made us one of the most trusted names in the industry. So, if you’re looking for legal assistance in obtaining an Israeli passport, look no further than Kan-Tor & Acco. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.