الداخلية - هوية وتصريح
אשרות מעמד והגירה
Our firm takes care of all aspects regarding receipt of entry visas to Israel and the Palestinian Authority and regulation of status in Israel and the territories. Our lawyers are experienced in taking care of all the stages of the process at the Ministry of the Interior, and they help our clients deal fully with any difficulty with said Ministry regarding the regulation of status, including providing support and representing them at the Ministry of the Interior, appeals tribunals, administrative courts, the High Court of Justice, and immigration detention review tribunals, if necessary.
Among others, we take care of the following procedures: Regulation of Legal Status of Alien Spouses/Life Partners of Residents and Citizens of Israel – including married couples, common-law spouses, and same-sex couples.
The “step-by-step process” to receive status is a review process that the Ministry of the Interior carries out for mixed couples in order to ensure the sincerity of the relationship and the maintenance of a center of life in Israel. This is a long and complicated process whose duration changes according to the type of relationship between the life partners (married spouses or common-law spouses) and the nature of the Israeli life partner’s status (citizen or resident). It requires the submission of large quantities of documents, including authenticated and translated documents from the country of origin, interviews (hearings) held separately with each life partner, and in case the alien life partner is not in Israel, a request to invite him/her to enter Israel. If the alien life partner has children from a previous relationship – action should be taken to regulate also their status within the framework of this petition.
Our firm’s team has handled many mixed-couple cases with great success, leading to the regulation of the alien life partner’s status into permanent status or Israeli citizenship, even in unique and complex cases. We represent clients throughout all the stages of the submission of the petition, including escorting them to interviews and hearings, and if needed, we represent them at the filing of appeals with the Ministry of the Interior, the appeals tribunal, or the Supreme Court.
Regulation of Status in Israel of Children of Permanent Residents and Recognition of Paternity of Citizen and Resident Fathers
Contrary to the status of the children of citizens, the status of children of permanent residents is not regulated at birth. Such regulation requires a procedure before the Population Authority according to the child’s place of birth and other parameters.
In addition, a citizen parent whose life partner is an alien may be required to prove his paternity of his son or daughter as a prerequisite for recognition of citizenship or permanent residency.
Our firm specializes in handling such cases before the Population Authority and various legal instances, including proceedings to prove paternity in family court, if needed.
Submission of a Petition for a Spouse/Life Partner who is a Palestinian Resident of the Territories
At present, following the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision), specific procedures are in place for residents of the territories (people who lived in the territories / were registered with the Palestinian Population Register). The process can be entered only when the female life partner who is a resident of the territories is 25 years of age or older and in cases when the male life partner who is a resident of the territories is 35 years of age or older. Furthermore, residents of the territories are not granted a status that provides them with rights, only a license from the Coordination and Liaison Administration that is renewed every year / two years, without an upgrade horizon, as long as the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision) is in force, and excluding reduced exceptions. This license grants a permit to stay and work in Israel and later on it grants the possibility of joining a state health insurance arrangement specific for residents of the territories.
Representation of Alien Spouses/Life Partners in case of Termination of Relationship with the Israeli Partner
Unfortunately, many couples do not make it to the end of the status regulation procedure. In such cases, it is of utmost importance to consult an attorney who specializes in matters of migration and status, before presenting a petition to the Ministry of the Interior. There are different procedures that allow reviewing the regulation of status even after a separation from or, God forbid, the death of the Israeli life partner, and it is very important to prepare the petition accordingly. Our firm’s lawyers have vast knowledge and experience in such special and complex cases.
Petitions to Receive Status due to Special Humanitarian Reasons
The State of Israel is a country of immigrants, and for those who are not Jewish, the possibilities of being granted status in Israel are quite reduced. However, the Ministry of the Interior’s position is that there are special cases that justify granting status in Israel for special humanitarian reasons. Such cases are brought before two committees – one of them is the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Granting Status for Humanitarian Reasons that takes care of immigrants, and the other is the Humanitarian Committee for Area Residents that deals in cases of Palestinians who are residents of the territories.
This includes, for instance, cases concerning serious medical issues, termination of the relationship with the Israeli life partner, violence on the part of the Israeli life partner, certain cases in which there are Israeli children and there is no way to regulate the parent’s status, and other special cases that do not fall within the Ministry of the Interior’s normal procedures.
Petitions to the humanitarian committees are very complicated, and frequently they require a long wait before receiving any answer. Our firm has much experience in submitting large quantities of petitions to be granted status for humanitarian reasons, both in the name of Palestinians and of other immigrants. We handle all the stages of the petition procedure, including submitting the petition, escorting the petitioner to hearings and interviews, following up and contacting the authorities, filing appeals with the appeals tribunals in case of refusal or continuous non-response, and if needed, filing appeals with the administrative court (Inter-Ministerial Committee for Immigrants) and petitions with the administrative court (Humanitarian Committee for Residents of the Territories).
Aliyah (Jewish Immigration to Israel)
Our firm helps with difficulties concerning the immigration of family members in accordance with the Law of Return, advancement in the suitable status-regulation track, and other related matters.
There are cases in which elderly parents of Israeli citizens are not automatically entitled to status in Israel. According to the Ministry of the Interior’s procedure specifically dedicated to that end, known as “Procedure to Grant Status to the Elderly and Lone Parent of an Israeli Citizen”, it is possible to file a petition for status for a parent who lives abroad under two conditions: the parent is alone, meaning he/she has no other children in his/her country of origin, and an age criterion – 67 years for men and 65 for women. Our firm helps to regulate the status of elderly parents of Israeli citizens both according to this special procedure and by means of the Humanitarian Committee, in cases in which these conditions do not apply.
Help to Asylum Seekers
The issue of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel is a very complex issue. In spite of the fact that every immigrant, including those from Sudan and Eritrea, is entitled to file a petition for asylum, the percentage of petitions approved is minimal. Even so, the visas of asylum seekers from Sudan and Eritrea are not permanent due to the state’s changing policy towards them.
Our firm handles all matters related to asylum seekers and refugees, including filing asylum petitions and escorting petitioners to hearings and interviews at the RSD (Refugee Status Determination) unit, and helping with visa renewals, stay permits, release from detention, etc.
Family Reunification in the Territories
We handle the regulation of entry, stay, and status in the territories for purposes of maintaining family life. This painful topic has been subject to harsh limitations for a long time now, and we are trying step by step to help family members of residents of the occupied territories to live together.
Petitions to Enter Israel and the Territories and Requests for Vistas, including for Representatives of International Organizations, Researchers, Academics, Experts, Etc.
In the last years, Israel has made it difficult for aliens to enter the country and the territories and stay in it/them, especially aliens who come to engage in activities considered to be political or humanitarian in nature. Our firm handles all the stages of the process to receive entry and stay visas from the Ministry of the Interior and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, including entry of ex-Palestinians, entry for humanitarian reasons, entry of experts and activists from Israeli and international organizations, and prevention of entry at Ben Gurion Airport.
We handle the regulation of entry into Israel of experts, students, researchers, volunteers, businesspeople and academics.
We also deal with people requesting to work in the territories for entities such as organizations, non-profit associations, or the academia, including obtaining work, stay, and other permits for research purposes from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and from various ministries.
Requests to Remove an Impediment to Entry to Work in Israel
“When a person eats and drinks, he is obligated to feed converts, orphans, widows, and others who are destitute and poor. In contrast, a person who locks the gates of his courtyard and eats and drinks with his children and his wife, without feeding the poor and the embittered, is not rejoicing in a manner related to a mitzvah but rather is rejoicing in his own gut” – Rambam, Hilchot Yom Tov, 6:19.
Our firm handles cases of Palestinian workers in which the State of Israel refuses to regulate the entry of said workers into the country for security reasons, due to criminal or other impediments. Atty. Tamir Blank handles thousands of requests to remove these impediments, and in many cases the Israeli Security Agency (Shabak) and the army rescind their decisions concerning said impediments when a petition is filed with the administrative court or the Supreme Court. These petitions enjoy a high rate of success.
Aid to Residents of East Jerusalem
Our firm specializes for many years now in helping Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem with regard to all issues concerning their status in Israel.
Reinstatement of Revoked Status
Upon the conquest of Jerusalem in 1967, residents of East Jerusalem were granted permanent resident status by virtue of the Law of Entry into Israel, that is, they were formally considered to be immigrants who entered the city. This status grants them full social rights, but prevents them from obtaining an Israeli passport (they receive a travel document known as “laissez passer” instead), they are not entitled to vote in elections for the Knesset, and are not entitled to regulate their children’s status by virtue of their mere birth but rather have to follow complicated bureaucratic procedures. Every request for services requires the permanent resident to prove that the center of his life is in Jerusalem.
In addition, in spite of the status bearing the title of permanent, the Ministry of the Interior implements a practice of revoking the residents’ status when certain conditions occur. Our firm has handled and continues to handle dozens of cases of requests to reinstate statuses with much success. In one such case, the court recently set a precedent according to which residents of East Jerusalem are to be considered to be “native residents”, in contrast to immigrants who entered Israel (<link>), and their status should in general be reinstated, even if it was revoked using an expansionary policy.
Filing of Petitions for Naturalization
Every permanent resident is entitled to submit a petition for naturalization. The naturalization procedure at the Ministry of the Interior requires you to file many documents that attest to the center of your life being in Jerusalem / Israel (such as, for example, water bills and municipal tax (arnona) forms, school certificates, salary slips, etc.), and after reviewing them the Ministry transfers the petition to security / police entities for their examination. The procedure includes a basic Hebrew test, and prior to receiving citizenship you are required to swear allegiance to the country. The Ministry of the Interior raises many obstacles when petitioners from East Jerusalem file these petitions.
Our firm has vast experience in representing petitioners who file naturalization petitions (<link to related ad>), filing complete and comprehensive petitions, escorting petitioners to hearings, and urging the authorities to handle the request, including by contacting the courts. Atty. Adi Lustigman has been interviewed by the press on that subject many times (<link>).
Registration of Children in East Jerusalem
In light of their special status, and as reflected by the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision), the registration of children of East Jerusalem residents, especially if one of the parents is not a resident of Israel or if the children were not born in Israel, might prove to be very difficult.
If the child is born in Israel and is not registered with another Population Register, upon completion of the registration process the child will receive resident status. In cases where the child is born outside Israel, the Ministry of the Interior defines the process as one of family reunification. The residence process requires two continuous years of temporary residency, after which permanent residency can be requested. However, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision) applies also to children of residents older than 14 years of age, if they were born in the territories or registered with the Population Register there. They will be able to regulate their stay in Israel by means of stay permits, but will not be able to receive status.
Our firm, in cooperation with HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual, has spearheaded many changes in the Ministry of the Interior’s proceedings regarding regulation of the status of children, and it is conducting legal proceedings and acting through parliamentary and other ways to bring about change in favor of the children and their resident parents. Unfortunately, up to this day the Ministry of the Interior many raises obstacles in the path to regulating status, especially in borderline cases. Our firm has very broad experience in aiding in and handling such cases.
Family Reunification in East Jerusalem
The status of married spouses of Israeli residents is regulated through a step-by-step regulation procedure known as family reunification. This procedure can be very complicated, and our firm has taken care of hundreds of families that have asked to be reunited in Israel, and continues to do so. This starts with the collection of documents and the orderly preparation of the petition, and continues with us escorting petitioners to file the petition and to interviews and hearings at the Ministry of the Interior, writing letters to urge the Ministry to work faster, until the petition is approved or an appeal is filed, if needed. Our firm handles both “regular” cases of family reunification and also those that present a security / criminal impedimetn which we attempt to remove.
About the petition: The procedure is quite long. First, in case the spouse is not in Israel, a special request to invite him/her to the country must be filed. Then, the petition itself must be filed, including a large quantity of documents such as marriage certificate, authenticated and translated (if the marriage took place abroad), authenticated and translated birth certificate, certificate of marital status, multiple documents that attest to a domestic partnership and life in Israel, etc. The spouses are interviewed separately to examine the sincerity of the relationship, and only after being approved the family enters the step-by-step process. For spouses of permanent residents, the duration of this process is five years and three months, and only after 27 months the alien spouse will receive temporary residency (assuming he/she is not a resident of the territories). Each and every year throughout the process, the spouses must provide proof that the marriage is real, that the spouse has no criminal or security impediment, and that they live in Israel (and not, for instance, in the territories beyond the Green Line). To provide proof regarding the last criterion, many documents are needed to demonstrate that the center of their lives is in Israel, and to prove facts by means of affidavits. center of life is in Israel.
At present, as a result of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision), specific procedures are in place for residents of the territories (people who lived in the territories / were registered with the Palestinian Population Register). The process can be entered only when the female spouse, who is a resident of the territories, is 25 years of age or older, and in cases when the male spouse, who is a resident of the territories, is 35 years of age or older. Furthermore, residents of the territories are not granted a status that provides them with rights, only a license from the Coordination and Liaison Administration that is renewed every year / two years, without an upgrade horizon, as long as the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision) is in force. This license does not grant any rights except for a permit to stay in Israel and to work.
Our firm helps people exercise in full their rights vis-à-vis the National Insurance Institute, including, among others, in matters of residency and disputes over center of life, to expedite the registration of children in health maintenance organization according to the special arrangement that applies to residents of East Jerusalem, and to regulate the receipt of various allowances, etc.