Changing Your Status to New Immigrant in Israel

updated 2013

AACI Status Articles
Changing Your Status to New Immigrant in Israel
U.S. Israeli Citizenship
Returning Residents
U.S. Citizenship of Children
If you are interested in changing your status in Israel, it's a good idea to FIRST make an appointment with an AACI counselor to review the procedure and check for updates.
Applying for Oleh Status
Make an appointment in the Visa Department of the local branch of the Ministry of Interior (Misrad HaPnim).  It’s hard to get through by phone so it’s recommended to go in to make the appointment.  At the same time, request the form for applying for Oleh status according to The Law of Return (Lefi Hok Ha'Shvut) and a list of required documents. 
It may take several weeks before your appointment. From that date, the procedure, barring complications, takes approximately 3 weeks. 
Listed below are the regional offices of Misrad HaPnim. Ministry’s Website: www.piba.gov.il  Email: pniot@moin.gov.il.
Shlomzion HaMalka 1
02 629 0222
Sderot Menachem Begin 125
03 7632534
Remez 13, 2nd fl.
09 830 2111
09 830 2121
Kiryat Hamemshalah
Sderot Palyam 15
04 863 3380
Beer Sheva
Kiryat Hamemshalah
Rechov Tikva 4
08 626 3840
Bring the following to your appointment and make copies of all the relevant documents to give to the Pnim clerk.  
  • Current passport.
  • Proof of Jewish heritage, such as: 1. A notarized letter from a recognized rabbi overseas. 2. Burial papers of parents or grandparents in a Jewish cemetery. 3. Your marriage certificate (Ketubah) or that of your parents. 4. A Get (divorce papers) if you are divorced. 5. Bar or Bat Mitzvah Certificate with other documents of Jewish living. 
  • If you are a convert, also bring all your conversion papers, with a description of the conversion course and the date it started and finished and including a notarized letter of recommendation from the rabbi(s) who taught and converted you, a letter from the Mohel (circumciser) if you are male and full contact information on the Beth Din (Jewish court). 
  • 2 passport photos for each member of the family. (Israeli passport size)
  • A hand written statement explaining why you wish to make Aliyah, or be prepared to make one upon request.
  • Birth certificates, marriage and/or divorce certificate with apostil* when valid.
  • If you are single, you may be asked for a certificate stating your marital status or a letter explaining that this certificate is not available from your place of aliyah 
  • A letter from a physician stating the status of your health may be requested
  • Record of Good Standing with an apostil.  Letters of good standing are often required for changes in citizenship.  This letter can be obtained from the police department in your home state, as can a police report.  Often, your home state’s website will explain how to obtain these items.
  • If you are a single parent, you will also need a notarized letter with an  apostil, signed by your ex-spouse stating that your child(ren) under 16 years of age have been granted permission to move to Israel and under which status
  • A filled out form for the application of Oleh status
  • A hand written statement explaining why you wish to make Aliyah, or be prepared to make one upon request
Be prepared to wait - if you have not done so, request the application for Oleh status and fill out the form while you wait.
In Tel Aviv, the Jewish Agency Information Center at 9 Marmorek Street, 2nd floor, can start your aliyah process before you go to your appointment with the Misrad HaPnim clerk.  Fax your proof of Jewish heritage to the Jewish Agency office and include a phone number where you can be reached.  The Jewish Agency fax is 03 7628438.  Your documents will then be examined and hopefully pre-approved.  Your Jewish Agency contact is Ms. Silvia Lefkowitz, her phone number is 03 7628424.  Silvia is available at the Center on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Thursday mornings, between the hours of 8:00am and 12:00pm.  An appointment is not necessary. 

Israeli Citizenship

Receiving Oleh status and a teudat zehut (identity card) does not make you a citizen of Israel, yet. Israeli citizenship will be automatically bestowed upon you three months after becoming an Oleh, if you have not chosen to opt out of Israeli citizenship.
If, before the three months are up, you refuse Israeli citizenship, through a declaration at the Misrad HaPnim, you will receive the status of Permanent Resident. There are three differences between Israeli Citizen and Permanent Resident status: 
  • A Permanent Resident can vote only in local elections, an Israeli Citizen can vote in both local and national elections
  • A Permanent Resident is not issued an Israeli passport, but the foreign passport is stamped indicating PR status
  • A Permanent Resident cannot receive Returning Resident status with its accompanying benefits even after the Permanent Resident has lived abroad for the requisite period of time
  • It is important to note that Permanent Residents serve in the Israeli Army on the same basis as citizens
*Most North American Olim become dual citizens.  If you do not object before the three months are up, Israeli citizenship is bestowed upon you, thus, "passively acquired".  This enables Americans to retain their dual citizenship.
Once you have become an Oleh, you should go to the local office of the Ministry of Absorption (Misrad HaKlitah).  Website: www.moia.gov.il  Email: info@moia.gov.il.  Bring all the documents you brought to Misrad HaPnim, your current and past passports, your Teudat Zehut and 2 passport photos in order to receive your Immigration Booklet (Teudat Oleh).  Also bring a letter from your bank with the details of your immigrant shekel bank account.  Any monies you are entitled to will be deposited into this account.
See chart below for regional Misrad HaKlitah offices:
Hillel 15
1 599 500 923
02 625 0977
Tel Aviv
Esther HaMalka 6
1 599 500 901
03 520 9173
Bareket 3, 9th floor
1 599 500 905
Sderot HaPalyam 15, 3rd floor
1 599 500 922
Beer Sheva
Zalman Shazar 31
1 599 500 921
08 623 8810
The personal advisor will look at a computer printout of all your entrances and exits to and from Israel in order to see if your period of eligibility for Klitah rights will be altered.  Speak to an AACI counselor about this beforehand so you fully understand.  If all is in order, you will be given a Teudat Oleh, which must be shown to receive your rights.  Make sure that the information written in the Teudat Oleh is correct. 
Receive your Health Insurance (Bituach Briut) voucher from Misrad HaKlitah, which entitles you to the first twelve months of health coverage free if you are not employed.  
Your personal advisor will explain your rights to you and will give you a form to register for an Ulpan.  You may start a free 5 month Ulpan at one of the authorized Ulpanim during the first year.  You may be eligible for the Absorption Basket (Sal Klitah).  Ask your personal advisor at Misrad HaKlitah.  Give the advisor the letter from your bank with your account details so that any payments may be deposited directly into your bank account.
After you change your status, make an appointment with an AACI counselor or attend an AACI post-Aliyah seminar to receive a full explanation of all your Oleh privileges.
Oleh Chadash or Temporary Resident (A-1)
The Temporary Resident (A-1) status is given at the discretion of Misrad HaPnim.  A-1s are no longer given Ministry of Absorption (Misrad HaKlitah) rights, such as housing and ulpan benefits.  An A-1 does not receive a Teudat Oleh.  The A-1 status is given for a maximum of three years, at which time you may apply to become an Oleh Chadash, as described above. See the AACI information sheet.
*See the AACI Apostil information sheet.
Be'hatzlacha - Good luck!

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