The Law of Return delineates the right of every Jew to immigrate to the state of Israel. With regard to the law, “A Jew is a person born to a Jewish mother, or who is a convert to Judaism, and is not a member of another religion.” Also, the law specifies that persons of other faiths who are the descendants, grand-children, or partners of Jewish persons are permitted to immigrate to Israel as well.
The procedure of issuing an immigration visa may be conducted in one of two manners – at the relevant Israeli consulate abroad prior to the actual immigration, or after the physical immigration to Israel. (It is possible for an immigrant to stay in Israel via a tourist visa until his/her Immigrant status is granted).
If the procedure is to take place at an Israeli consulate abroad, the applicant will be required to present photocopies of his/her passport, an apostille-confirmed birth certificate (An apostille is an international stamp which testifies that a document is issued by a State authority or an official entity), documents testifying to the immigrant’s Jewish identity or his/her eligibility under the Law of Return (i.e., a letter from the congregation’s rabbi, the parents’/grandparents’ Jewish marriage contract, etc.). If uncertainty prevails, the consulate may require additional documents and/or reject the application.
The procedure conducted in Israel after the physical immigration entails applying for the visa at the relevant Ministry of Interior, submitting documents confirming the applicant’s Jewish identity and eligibility to immigrate, , presenting documents to Nativ or The Contact Office (A unit at the Prime Minister’s Office which examines their authenticity) if the applicant is from the former USSR, and scheduling an additional appointment at the Ministry of Interior once a confirmation of eligibility for citizenship is granted and the visa is issued.
Throughout the above-mentioned stages, the Ministry of Interior may request the applicant to submit additional documents or information. In cases where the request is not authorized, the applicant may petition to the High Court of Justice. Legal support for the procedure opposite the Ministry of Interior may minimize bureaucracy, save the applicant’s time, and allow him/her to obtain the immigration visa more easily.
An Aliyah Examiner Visa is given to Return-eligible applicants who seek to inquire into the possibility of settling down in Israel. Commonly, it refers to Return-eligible persons who consider immigrating to Israel and seek to explore the local living conditions prior to reaching a decision.
Frequently, an Aliyah Examiner (A.K.A. Aliyah checker) Visa is granted for a one-year period, with the possibility of a 3-years’ extension. The applicant must adhere to the exact terms required by Immigrant Visa applicants, whereas an extension request is subjected to the terms and regulations of Israel’s Ministry of Interior.
Prior preparation prevents poor performance!
Whether the requested visa is Aliyah or Aliyah Examiner, the application process is comprehensive – one which requires prior preparation, particularly in light of the procedure’s complexity and implications. Inadequate planning and a lack of experience in drafting the request (and submitting the support documents) to immigrate to Israel, will significantly lengthen the process and cause unnecessary delays in obtaining the visa. Considering this, it is advisable to consult an attorney who specializes in immigration law prior to applying.
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