Residency and Citizenship

Israeli law allows settling in Israel mainly for Jews and their families, and for Israelis and their families, as well as for recognized refugees. Other foreign nationals are not allowed to live in Israel only because their affectionate sentiment to the country or their connectedness to their friends therein. However, in special cases where exceptional circumstances exist, an application for status in Israel can be submitted for humanitarian reasons.

These requests are examined by an intra-ministerial committee with representatives from the Ministry of the Interior, The Welfare Authorities, The Police, Health Agencies etc. The Committee does not act according to pre-determined written criteria and there is no closed list of cases in which the status will eventually be granted. An exception to the rule is the case of foreign parents to Israeli children, whose Israeli spouse has passed away or was divorced from, whose applications are also examined by the intra-ministerial committee and subject to certain condition, usually approved.

In all other cases, the applicant must convince the committee of the existence of exceptional circumstances in his case, in respect of which he will be severely harmed if deported from Israel and that his absorption in Israel is justified. Due to the difficulty in proving the needed circumstances and the small number of requests approved by the committee, it is highly recommendable that the application be submitted through a lawyer.

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