Residency and Citizenship

Due to the geographical proximity and the common historical and national background, many residents of the territories maintain close ties with Israeli citizens and residents of East Jerusalem. Most residents of East Jerusalem have the status of permanent residents, not citizens, in contrast to Arab citizens of Israel living in the rest of the country. This status often leads to difficulties such as difficulties in entering and leaving Israel, discrimination in granting status to a foreign spouse, revocation of residency, obstacles in the way of acquiring citizenship and even technical difficulties in obtaining service at the Population Authority office of the Ministry of the Interior in East Jerusalem.

Palestinian Authority residents face even greater difficulties with regard to work visas or entry permits for visiting relatives, business or any other purpose, and many of them encounter “prevention” (security or police) that is often unjustified and can be removed.

The enactment of the amendment to the Citizenship Act in 2003 posed further new difficulties for residents of the territories who are married to Israeli spouses and apply to get permission to live in Israel with their spouse, and today this can only be done under specific conditions or for special humanitarian reasons. However, in spite of the growing barriers, it is still possible to change difficult decisions (such as revocation of residency or refusal of entry) and to promote family reunification proceedings. However, it is important to get legal counsel in a timely manner, in order not to miss the statutory dates.

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