Guide for getting or canceling citizenship status
For your benefit, we prepared a detailed and clear guide concerning how to acquire and cancel Israeli citizenship. We divided the guide according to the following topics:
* The conditions necessary to obtain Israeli citizenship .
* Waiving Israeli citizenship .
* Losing Israeli citizenship .
Note! When you acquire citizenship, you acquire both rights and duties in the country in which you are a citizen.
Definitions and Concepts:
Citizenship Act - is the law that determines the conditions for obtaining Israeli citizenship.
Citizen - is one who has acquired or received citizenship under the Citizenship Act. Citizenship bequeaths duties and rights as prescribed by law to one who is a citizen of a country. In most cases, obtaining citizenship in another country usually does not affect one’s eligibility to receive Israeli citizenship. Similarly, an Israeli citizen who also has another citizenship is legally an Israeli citizen in every way (except he cannot serve as a member of the Knesset).
An identity card — is the official document that identifies its bearer as a legal resident of the State. It contains his personal details. Every citizen from age 16 is required to obtain an identity card and carry it with him.
A citizenship document — is a document that testifies that the holder is a citizen. One can get it from Interior Ministry branches or Israeli consulates.
Passport — is an official document for a citizen that wants to visit foreign countries, which allows the person to enter to and exit from it.
An Israeli citizen who also has a foreign passport, can only enter or exit from Israel using his Israeli passport.
Every citizen is entitled to receive a passport allowing him to enter or exit Israel.
An adult — is a person 18 or older, or a person who is married even if he is not yet 18.
A minor — is an unmarried person 18 and younger.
The conditions necessary to obtain Israeli citizenship.
There are seven ways to acquire citizenship:
1. The Law of Return - automatically confers citizenship on anyone who is eligible for immigration according to the Law of Return.
The Law of Return applies to all Jews in the world, and confers on them the right to move to /to immigrate to Israel.
A Jew is "someone 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 grandchild of a Jew, to the spouse of a Jew, and to the spouse of a child and grandchild of a Jew."
The Law of Return also stipulates that to be eligible for immigration, one has to express his desire to settle in Israel.
Although citizenship is automatically acquired under the Law of Return, a person can relinquish it and declare that they don’t want Israeli citizenship up to three months from the date of his immigration or his registration as an immigrant.
A minor foreign national who was born abroad and immigrated to Israel with his parents (or the parent who has legal custody of him) will be included in his parents’ relinquishing of citizenship. If only one parent immigrates with the child, the other parent's consent is required.
Despite this, a minor whose parents relinquished his citizenship will be allowed in the period between his 18th and 22nd birthday or within a year after his mandatory army service to notify that he is canceling his parents’ declaration. He will become a citizen by the Law of Return from the date that his parents’ declaration was cancelled.
The Law of Return does not apply to persons engaged in activities against the Jewish people, or those who may endanger the public health or national security. The Law of Return does not apply to one with a criminal past that might jeopardize public safety.
2. Living in Israel - One who lived in Israel prior to the establishment of Israel as a subject of the British Mandate, and was registered as a resident according to the Population Registry Ordinance - 1949, or from the establishment of the state until this Act came into force was in Israel or the area that became Israel after its establishment, or entered Israel legally during this period.
3. Birth - Citizenship is given to one born in Israel, if his father or his mother are Israeli citizens at his birth.
Citizenship is also given to one born abroad if his father or his mother are Israeli citizens at birth. However, the grandchildren who are born outside Israel are not Israeli citizens. The grandchildren are still eligible for Israeli citizenship by the Law of Return (if they are Jews) or if they are granted citizenship by the Ministry of the Interior.
Even one born after the death of a parent who is Israeli, is considered an Israeli citizen.
4. Birth and residence in the country - One who was born after the establishment of Israel in Israeli territory and is not a citizen of any other country, shall have Israeli citizenship if he requests it during the period between his 18th and 21st birthday, and if he resided in Israel five consecutive years immediately before submitting his application.
5. Naturalization - an adult who is not an Israeli citizen can obtain Israeli citizenship if he meets the following requirements:
• He lives in Israel.
• He resided in Israel for three out of the five years immediately before filing his application for citizenship.
• He is eligible for a permanent residency visa to live in Israel.
• He settled in Israel, or intends to settle.
• He has basic knowledge of Hebrew.
• He relinquished his previous citizenship or proved that he would relinquish his previous citizenship upon becoming an Israeli citizen.
Even after his citizenship was confirmed, the applicant has to make a declaration when he receives his citizenship to the effect of: "I confirm that I will be a loyal citizen to the State of Israel."
If one partner of a married couple is an Israeli citizen or sought to become a citizen, and fulfilled the conditions stated above in section 5, his partner can obtain Israeli citizenship by naturalization even if he/she did not fulfill the conditions stated in paragraph 5 above. However, the process until the partner eventually gets citizenship is a slow one.
A person’s naturalization also gives citizenship to his minor children if they are Israeli residents, provided that the other parent declares that this is their desire too.
6. Conferring citizenship - The Minister of the Interior may grant citizenship as he sees fit. This citizenship is generally given to those whom the State wishes to honor, such as Righteous Gentiles and the like. Likewise, the Minister of the Interior may confer citizenship on a minor at the request of his parents.
7. Adoption - An adopted minor shall be given citizenship if he was adopted by Israeli citizens under Israeli law.
Waiving Israeli citizenship.
an Israeli citizen who is not a resident may file a Declaration to Relinquish Israeli Citizenship at an Israeli consulate abroad.
If a family requested to relinquish their citizenship, they have to fill out a separate declaration for every adult. If the minors are Israeli citizens, they are included in the declaration form of one of their parents as long as both parents consent.
Important! A minor can not relinquish his citizenship independently, even if he has his parents’ consent.
Despite a minor being included in the family’s (parents) request, a minor aged 16 years must appear in person to give his consent to relinquish his citizenship, in person and in writing.
If only one parent is giving up his citizenship, the consent of the other parent is required to include the child in the request.
If the second parent is not an Israeli citizen, it is sufficient to have the consent of the parent who is the Israeli citizen.
To include the child with the parents’ consent:
In Israel: Parents are required to state their agreement in person, or give their consent by declaring it before an Israeli notary.
Abroad: The parents are required to express their consent in person to an official Israeli representative, or by a notarized statement with an Apostille stamp.
If the parents are divorced, the parent who wishes to relinquish citizenship has to present a court judgment determining that he has exclusive custody of the minors in his jurisdiction, or the consent of the other parent as described above.
Important! The decision to relinquish citizenship is solely subject to the jurisdiction of the Interior Minister or any person authorized by him. As long as this consent was not given, the one who wants to relinquish Israeli citizenship still remains an Israeli citizen.
Take into account that the Interior Ministry's policy requires, among other things, that applicants prove that they lived three years outside the State of Israel during the five years that preceded their request to relinquish their citizenship.
Note! Giving up Israeli citizenship does not exempt one from prior civil obligations before the citizenship was canceled. For example: if one was required to join the draft due to the Israeli National Service law, relinquishing citizenship will not exempt one from the draft.
Providing false information and details knowingly or deliberately concerning the acquisition or loss of one’s or someone else’s Israeli citizenship will result in penalties prescribed by law.
Losing Israeli citizenship .
The applicant should go in person to the Israeli consulate near where he lives, and bring with him:
• An Israeli or foreign identity card / passport.
• Update from the Population Registrar on his personal status up to the point in time when he filed his request to relinquish citizenship.
• Proof that he settled his duties to the IDF.
• An adult (18 +) should fill out a "Declaration to Relinquish Israeli Citizenship for an Adult." The adult should explain the reason why he is giving up his citizenship. You can receive the form from our office or click here to download the form.
• A minor (under 18 and unmarried) should fill out a "Declaration to Relinquish Israeli Citizenship for a Minor." You can receive the form from our office or click here to download the form.
• Show confirmation that one acquired a different nationality, or an official letter from government authorities guaranteeing to give him citizenship once he has relinquished Israeli citizenship. (The confirmation form has to be valid, and within two years of issuance. The certificate is valid only in English or if it was translated into Hebrew).
• A letter explaining why he wants to relinquish his citizenship.
• Payment of a fee.
Israeli citizenship will be canceled under the following conditions:
. An Israeli citizen illegally left Israel for an enemy country or acquired its citizenship. (Cancellation of citizenship will also apply to his minor children who are not residents of Israel).
. If he did an act which constitutes a breach of loyalty to the State of Israel.
. If it can be shown that he obtained citizenship based on fraudulent information. (Cancellation of citizenship will also apply to his minor children).
Questions and Answers:
I was born abroad and one of my parents is an Israeli citizen. Am I a citizen of Israel
Yes. You are a citizen of Israel, and all civil rights and obligations apply to you.
I was born abroad and one of my parents who was born abroad is an Israeli citizen by virtue of his parents. Am I considered to be an Israeli citizen by virtue of my parent
No. Because your parents were born abroad, you do not have Israeli citizenship by virtue of your parents.
I am an Israeli citizen who lives abroad. Can I cancel my Israeli citizenship
If you lived abroad permanently over five years, you may apply to relinquish your citizenship at a Israeli consulate.
After I relinquish my Israeli citizenship, am I exempt from my obligations as an Israeli citizen, (army service, paying Bituach Leumi premiums, etc.)
Any civil duties you were required to do prior to the cancellation of citizenship must be done even after your Israeli citizenship was no longer in effect.
A minor who was included in the Israeli citizenship of his parents, and one of his parents canceled their citizenship, does he need the other parent's consent to revoke the minor’s citizenship
Yes, he requires the consent of both. If only one parent gives up his citizenship, the consent of the other parent is required to include the child
Can a minor revoke his Israeli citizenship independently
A minor can not revoke the citizenship even with the consent of his parents.