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Guide for New Immigrants to Israel

Israel gives immigrants assistance and benefits to encourage Jews to come on aliya despite the more attractive economic conditions they have abroad.

New immigrants receive a range of rights from the government that help them cope better with the difficulties of acclimatization involved in the transition.

Every new immigrant who comes to settle in the State of Israel is entitled to assistance in various areas, as will be explained below. Most of the aid is granted by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption. Training courses are offered to help an immigrant’s integration to the workplace.

To get the maximum benefits you have to change your status from "tourist" to immigrant (“oleh”), and get an immigrant document.

To get your rights, you should contact your personal absorption counselor in the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and build with him a personal and individual absorption plan for yourself and your family which is tailored to your needs.

An immigrant document is - a booklet issued by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption to one who received immigrant status.

The document is for one family and the names of the couple and all their children up to the age of 21 appears in it. It details all the kinds of assistance which the family is eligible for. (Children over the age of 21 receive their own immigrant
document.)

Who is defined as an immigrant?

In Israeli law, "a new immigrant" is defined as anyone 17 and up, who recently entered Israel and wants to reside permanently in it under the Law of Return.

One who became naturalized in Israel outside of the Law of Return, is not considered a new immigrant regarding the benefits, and usually does not get these benefits.

Only those entitled to receive citizenship status in Israel under the Law of Return may apply for immigrant status.

The Law of Return grants - the right to immigrate to Israel to every Jew in the world who wants to immigrate to Israel. It automatically confers Israeli citizenship on a Jew who it defines as "one who is born to a Jewish mother or who converted to Judaism, and is not a member of another religion."

This right is also granted to "a child and a grandchild of a Jew, a spouse of a Jew and the spouse of the child and grandchild of a Jew."

The Law of Return does not apply if the one requesting citizenship is active against the Jewish people, is endangering the public health or national security, has a criminal record and is likely to endanger the public peace.

Others who are eligible to immigrant rights (sometimes only partial rights) :

An immigrant citizen — One 17 and older who was born abroad to an Israeli citizen and would be eligible for the status of an "immigrant" under the Law of Return when he came to settle in Israel, were he not a citizen already (by birth). His legal status is the same as an immigrant’s. If he lived continuously abroad from his birth until the day he moved to Israel, even if he visited Israel up to four months a year, his visits do not take away from his status as living abroad.

Adult son of immigrants — A 17-21 year old single who immigrated to Israel with his parents and is registered in his family's immigrant document, or a person whose status as an immigrant was issued within the year before or after his parents obtained immigrant status, is also entitled to all the kinds of assistance that an immigrant gets, excluding housing assistance which he cannot get separately from his family. A minor son of immigrants who is under the age of 17 and moved to Israel with his parents and is included in his family’s immigrant document, or his status was issued within a year before or after his parents obtained immigrant status, is not eligible for customs breaks.

Minor son of immigrants — a minor who was 14-17 years old when he immigrated to Israel without his parents, his status is the same as an immigrant concerning the immigrant basket of benefits. His entitlement to the absorption basket of benefits is determined by his age. He can get additional types of assistance when he turns 17, or after graduating high school.

Minor immigrant — a minor who immigrated to Israel between the age of 14-17 years without his parents, and is in a boarding school in the first year of his immigration, and studied in this framework at least until he reached the age of 17, may receive assistance from the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption only after he turns 17.

Returning minor — a minor who left Israel with his parents (or the parent who had custody of the minor) before the age of 14 years, and was 17 years or older on the day that he received his status, and would be eligible for the status of an "immigrant" under the Law of Return were he not a citizen already (by birth) and he lived abroad for at least four consecutive years before he applied for the status.

His status is conditional on his parents not living abroad in the previous five years for an Israeli government purpose or to represent an Israeli entity abroad before the minor came to Israel.

The situation is the same if the parents worked for a private or public Israeli employer or a firm registered abroad but which is managed in Israel, or the name of the firm is the same as the corporation that was previously registered in Israel, or if the name of the firm is identical (or in principle identical) to the name of the company where his parents worked in Israel.

A returning minor can visit up to four months in any calendar year in the previous four years before his request to change his status, and shall be entitled to special visits in addition to the four months, for example: for studies at an accredited institution, and military service.

Immigrant family and / or a mixed family — when all family members are defined as immigrants, and / or an immigrant was married to a veteran Israeli and they have a child who was born abroad before the other parent acquired immigrant status and / or was born after obtaining immigrant status on condition that a year has passed since the couple left Israel.

Does living in Israel before changing one’s status to an immigrant affect one’s benefits?

•  One who lived in Israel for a continuous or cumulative period not exceeding three years before receiving immigrant status, will receive full assistance as an immigrant except for the absorption basket which he is not entitled to unless he lived in the country for less than 24 months consecutively, or 24 months within 3 years, before receiving immigrant status.

•  If he lived in Israel for a continuous or cumulative period of 3 to 5 years before receiving immigrant status, he is entitled to partial immigrant assistance for one year, such as learning Hebrew in an ulpan, assistance for scientists, business entrepreneurs assistance, employment assistance and housing assistance for three years from the date he acquired immigrant status.

•  If he lived in Israel more than 5 years continuously or cumulatively within seven years before receiving immigrant status, he is not entitled to an immigrant document and is not entitled to assistance as an immigrant from the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and the Ministry of Housing.

What entitlements does an "immigrant visa" confer?

The immigrant document given by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption confers a variety of benefits from 3 main authorities: The Ministry of Immigration and Absorption, the Customs Authority and Income Tax Authority.

Here are the benefits :

1. Cost of plane tickets. The Jewish Agency helps immigrants come to Israel by turning the cost of their passenger tickets into a grant, after their eligibility was verified.

2. Absorption Basket - includes financial assistance aimed at helping new immigrants in Israel to settle in, such as:
rent assistance for the first year and living expenses for the first six months. The assistance is given to a immigrant couple in the following way: The first stage is given to immigrants upon their arrival at the airport: part of it is given in cash (2,500 NIS), and another part as a bank deposit that requires opening a bank account (3,800 NIS). The rest of the monetary grant is given in six monthly payments of 4,800 NIS. A person receives a total grant of 35,100 NIS (about $9,000).

An individual immigrant receives instead 18,412 NIS, a single parent receives 29,412 NIS. Retirees receive an amount that fluctuates between 19,333 and 29,080 NIS.

For every extra person in the immigrant document up to the age of 21, the supplement to the absorption basket will be 7,233 to 10,980 NIS.

A family of 6 and more will get a supplement to the absorption basket of 5,024 NIS.

Immigrants who changed their status after they arrived in Israel will receive the first payment of their absorption basket through the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption as a deposit in their bank account.

An immigrant who was abroad during his period of eligibility for a continuous period exceeding six months, the period he was abroad will not be counted in the period he is eligible for assistance. An immigrant or one of his family members who was abroad for less than 6 months, will cause the cessation of his absorption basket payments. He can renew them only when he returns to Israel within a year of his original arrival.

To renew the Ministry of Immigration an Absorption payments, he should go to the branch near where he lives equipped with a passport stamped with the date that he returned to Israel.

Conditions to receive the absorption basket :

 •  One who didn’t live in Israel for a continuous / cumulative period of more than two years, in the three years before receiving his immigrant status / entitlements.

•  One who was not a resident of Israel in the past and he first entered Israel with an immigrant visa.

•  One who requested the benefit within one year of receiving immigrant status.

3.  Employment Assistance - (The eligibility period for this assistance is up to ten years from the date one immigrated, except where noted otherwise.)

•  Guaranteed income grant for job seekers, as well as supplemental income for those making a low income, those studying in Ministry of Labor courses, and those who reported to the Employment Service, on condition that both spouses are unemployed. (The eligibility period is up to a year after immigrating. After the absorption basket payments end, the grant period continues on for another six months.)

Those who are exempt from seeking a job include one who is learning in an ulpan 5 days a week, a pregnant woman from the 13th week of her pregnancy, a mother of a child younger than 2 years old, a single father of a child up to 2 years old, a mother of a disabled child up to the age of 18.

• Vocational consultation and advancement, and finding jobs.

•  Vocational retraining courses, and vocational training (not including retraining teachers). The eligibility period is up to ten years from the date one immigrated.

•  Assistance to scientists - The grant period up to four years, and the eligibility period is up to three years from the date one immigrated.

•  Assistance to entrepreneurs - to establish a business in Israel or transfer an existing business abroad. (This is a one-time bonus).

•  Assistance to artists - recognized by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption who provided the necessary professional certificates. They may be entitled to a financial grant, assistance in exposure, specialized courses and financial support.

•  Assistance for athletes - or authors. The eligibility period is up to ten years after immigrating.

4.  Assistance in learning Hebrew in an ulpan - The eligibility period is up to a year and a half after immigrating. The grant period is for five months.

5.  Housing assistance -

•  Rental assistance - for those without an apartment and in those places specified in the regulations. The eligibility period:
from the second year when one immigrated until the fifth year.

There are certain conditions where the benefit may be extended, depending on the family situation, such as for a lone soldier, elderly immigrants and those who receive Guaranteed/Supplemental Income.

•  Loan Assistance (mortgage) - Up to 95% of the value of an apartment for living purposes, contingent on the applicant's number of points which depends on his personal situation. The eligibility period is up to fifteen years from the date when one immigrated.

•  Public housing assistance - to the homeless - This aid depends on the applicant's personal situation. (This is a one-time grant.)

6.  Bituach Leumi - Health services free of charge, for a period of 12 months from the date one immigrated to Israel.

7.  Kupat cholim - New immigrants are entitled to a 50% deduction of the maximum quarterly payment for health services in the first year from the date they immigrated to Israel.

8.  Municipal tax discount - Immigrants get a 90% discount for 100 meters of their apartment for 12 out of the first 24 months from the date they immigrated to Israel.

9.  Grant to lone soldiers - During their compulsory military service (which may be applied up to five years from the date they immigrated to Israel).

10.  Customs breaks for an immigrant - (also regarding reporting money brought into Israel). For the guide to these benefits, click here.

11. Tax breaks — for an immigrant. For the guide to these benefits, click here.

How can I become eligible for immigrant status?

A new immigrant (besides a returning resident or a returning minor) who lives abroad -


A new immigrant (excluding a returning resident or a returning minor) who is living abroad
You should contact the Jewish Agency in your country, open an immigration file and provide the various required personal documents to prove your eligibility to immigrate to Israel. After the Jewish Agency examines them, it will recommend whether to grant you an immigrant's visa when you enter Israel.

The Jewish Agency is the body set up to link with government offices to arrange immigrant visas, and to connect you with a representative from the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption that will welcome you when you enter Israel.

After your immigration is confirmed, a representative from the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption will meet you when you land at the airport before passport control.

You have to bring the following documents when you enter Israel:

•  A valid passport with immigration confirmation (an identity card for an immigrant citizen).

• A n original birth certificate translated to Hebrew or English accompanied by an Apostile signature from the consulate. (If there was a change of name, you must bring the document indicating the name change.)

•  An updated certificate of good conduct from your country of origin translated to Hebrew or English accompanied by an Apostile signature from the consulate. (If necessary, you may be asked to bring a federal or district certificate of good conduct from your district.)

•  Original certificate of personal status (marriage or divorce certificate).

•  Documents indicating your connection to Judaism (from the rabbi of your community abroad).

•  Three passport photos (for every person) sized 45/55 mm.

•  In the case of the death of a spouse, you will need a death certificate.

•  For minors immigrating alone, a guardianship certificate (and a court verdict).

•  Forms filled out requesting to immigrate.

You will be issued an immigration certificate and a "population registry slip" (a temporary identity card) which will have your identity card number.

You can also get an identity card from the Interior Ministry's representative at the airport on the day of your arrival.

You can sign up for one of the Kupot Cholim in Israel at the same time by filling out a Kupat Cholim registration form.

When you obtain immigrant status, you become an Israeli citizen. Citizens have rights and duties to the State of Israel.

There is no need to give up your previous citizenship, and you can maintain your dual citizenship.

Please note : Your period of eligibility for immigrant benefits begins from the date that you received your first Israeli identity card from the Population and Immigration Authority in the Ministry of the Interior, or the date when you received a certificate of eligibility when you entered Israel at Ben Gurion Airport, whichever comes first.

If you came as a tourist to Israel — and you want to change your status from that of a tourist to an immigrant -

A new immigrant - can apply directly to the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption nearest to them or directly to the Interior Ministry.

An immigrant citizen and / or returning minor - can request Israeli citizenship and change their status from a tourist to an immigrant. The change can be executed only in the Interior Ministry.

When you submit your application to the Interior Ministry, you must bring the following documents :

•  A foreign passport valid for at least a year.

•  An original birth certificate translated to Hebrew or English accompanied by an Apostile signature from the consulate. (If there is a change in name, you must bring the document indicating the name change).

•  Original certificate of personal status (marriage or divorce certificate).

•  Three passport photos (for every person) sized 45/55 cm.

•  Documents indicating your connection to Judaism (from the rabbi of your community abroad).

•  An updated certificate of good conduct from your country of origin translated to Hebrew or English accompanied by an Apostile signature from the consulate. (If necessary, you may be asked to bring a federal or district certificate of good conduct from your district.)

•  Returning minors have to report to the army and bring confirmation that they enlisted, or an exemption from army service.

•  You must fill in the following forms :

1.  Immigrant application form (Authorization form 4).

2.  Identity card application form (Population registry form 1).

3.  Immigrant Registration Questionnaire Application form (Population registry form 14).

4.  Health declaration form (Authorization form 81).

5.  Jewish Agency Referral form (Authorization form 114).

6.  Declaration of religion and nationality form (Authorization form 36).

Please note : You may be asked to bring a notarized translation of non-Hebrew documents. A minor under the age of 16 will require the presence of one of his parents..

After receiving immigrant status, it is important to call the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption and make an appointment with a document and eligibility counselor in the branch nearest your home. The purpose of the visit is to receive an immigrant document which will facilitate your absorption and get information and guidance towards utilizing your immigrant rights and benefits.

Bank Account :

It is recommended that you come to the meeting at the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption with bank certification that you opened a joint bank account in Israel. After opening a bank account in the country, you must fill out a confirmation form signed by the bank that you opened an account. You can get a sample form in our office or download it here.

A local bank account is necessary because all financial assistance from the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption will be transferred only to a bank account in the country. Assistance for a couple will only be paid to a joint bank account.

When giving over your bank account information, you (at least one of the spouses) will be asked to sign a request form to transfer aid payments.

Health insurance premiums (Bituach Leumi) :

One who is recognized by the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption as an “immigrant” can during his visit to the Ministry of Absorption fill out and submit an application for Bituach Leumi to recognize him as a resident so he can register for the Kupat Cholim of his choice, and fill out and submit a claim for the Children’s Allowance, if he has children under the age of 18 years. He has to fill out a residency questionnaire form (Bituach Leumi form 628), Kupat Cholim registration form (Bituach Leumi form 666) and Children’s Allowance claim form (if the children are under the age of 18) (Bituach Leumi form 5052).

To save oneself the hassle of applying directly for Bituach Leumi, it is recommended to submit the applications to the Ministry of Immigration and Absorption.

An immigrant, returning citizen, and returning minor, will be entitled to health services from Social Security immediately, free of charge, for a period of 12 months from the date he immigrated to Israel.

Registration for the Kupat Cholim :

If you did not register for a Kupat Cholim at the airport, you can also at this occasion fill out an application form to join one of the Kupot Cholim of your choice.

You can also go to the post office nearest your home and fill out the required forms to sign up for whatever Kupat Cholim you want.

Getting an ID card :

By law, every Israeli resident 16 years old and over, must always carry his identification card.

If you were not given an identity card (and were only given the accompanying slip to a ID card) when you arrived in Israel, you must contact the Interior Ministry office nearest to your home and bring the following documents when submitting your application :

•  Immigrant document.

•   Foreign passport valid for a year.

•  Original birth certificate, translated to Hebrew or English with an Apostile stamp from a consulate. (If there was a change in name, you will need to provide a document attesting to it.)

•  Two passport pictures (for each person), size 45/55 cm.

 •  Original family status document (marriage, divorce).

 •  In the event of a death of a spouse, a death certificate.

 •  Fill out the following forms :

1.  Identity card application form (Population registry form 1).

2.  Immigrant Registration Questionnaire Application form (Population registry form 14).

3.  Declaration of religion and nationality form (Authorization form 36).

Who is considered a second time immigrant?

A person who was entitled to immigrate by the Law of Return, and gave up his Israeli citizenship, or one who declared “I do not want to be Israeli” and ceased to be a resident of Israel because he lived abroad for at least seven years before moving here, or his residency expired for some other reason (such as he became the resident of a different country abroad) can receive immigrant status a second time.

In order to become naturalized again, you should contact the Interior Ministry branch nearest you and bring the following documents when submitting your application:

•  A foreign passport valid for at least a year.

•  Two passport photos, sized 45/55 mm.

• Original and certified certificates and documents proving you are Jewish or qualify under the Law of Return. (from the rabbi of your overseas community).

•  Original certificate of personal status (marriage or divorce certificate).

•  Fill out the forms as follows :

1.  Immigrant application form (Authorization form 4).

2.  Identity card application form (Population registry form 1).

3.  Immigrant Registration Questionnaire Application form (Population registry form 14).

4.  Health declaration form (Authorization form 81).

5.  Declaration that in your previous stay in the country you weren’t a resident (Authorization form 125).

6.  Declaration of religion and nationality form (Authorization form 117).

7.  Declaration form for becoming a citizen (Civil form 28)

You may be asked to bring a notarized translation of non-Hebrew documents.

Please note : A second-time immigrant will only enjoy customs benefits, as we explained in our Guide to Customs for Returning Residents.

The duty to be drafted for compulsory army service

The time and type of army service which the immigrant has to do is determined by the age of the immigrant when he arrives in Israel, his medical profile, and his marital status at the time of recruitment.

New immigrants will be invited to the recruitment center for their army service after they have lived in the country for one year.

Definitions and Concepts :

A  new immigrant — if he arrived in Israel at the age of 16 years and more.

Arrival in Israel — the length of his army service is determined by his age on arrival to Israel rather than the date he officially immigrated.

Regular service —  compulsory military service in the Israeli army for Israeli citizens.

Reserve service — is compulsory in Israel for Israeli citizens who have completed their regular military service, and were integrated in the reserve forces, to reinforce the regular army in an emergency.

Database (reserves) — this means you might be called for military service (reserves) according to the need of the army.

Note that the first table relates to men only. An unmarried woman will be called in for regular service only if she moved to Israel under the age of 20.

 Age arrived until 05/31/2015 :


Age arrived from 01/06/2015 :

The calculation for a doctor, or a dentist :

Male doctor: up to the age of 32 — must do 18 months of regular service.

Dentist: until age 29 — must do 18 months of regular service.


Contact information :

Ministry of Immigrant Absorption

Telephone Information Center: +972-3-9733333.


Questions and Answers:
What are the rights of one who immigrated through the Law of Return
Answer:
He is entitled to many benefits to help set him up economically, such as with employment, housing, and tax benefits. Refer to the Guide for full details.
Does a new immigrant have to do compulsory army service
Answer:
He will have to report for the draft or get a deferment one year after his entry to Israel.
I'm married with a child. Do I have to do army service
Answer:
One who is married with a child is exempt from the draft.
Is a woman obligated in army service
Answer:
If she is over the age of 28, she is exempt from the draft. Under this age, she must do a minimal draft which depends on her age. For more information, refer to the Guide.
I’m a religious woman. Do I have to do army service
Answer:
A religious woman is exempt from military service on religious grounds. She has to make a declaration to this effect to the Ministry of Defense.
I’m a new immigrant and have children. Am I eligible for Children’s Allowance
Answer:
Yes, the Children’s Allowance is paid to the mother’s account or the couple’s joint account.
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