Second Citizenship
April 8, 2024
Reading Time: 7 min

How to obtain Israel citizenship: aliyah and 3 other ways of getting an Israeli passport

Individuals get Israel citizenship at birth if at least one of their parents is a citizen of the state. Non-Jewish foreign nationals may get naturalised if they live in the country for at least 3 years as permanent residents and prove their fluency in Hebrew.

One of the benefits of obtaining an Israeli passport is visa-free access to more than 150 countries. The state also demonstrates stable rates of economic development. Citizens get high wages and have social security and support from the country.

Nikolai Nikonov
Nikolai Nikonov

Told about the benefits of Israel citizenship and how to get it

How to obtain Israel citizenship

How to obtain Israel citizenship: aliyah and 3 other ways of getting an Israeli passport

Israel citizenship overview

Many individuals seek Israeli citizenship due to their Jewish heritage, either by birth or through ancestry. Israel is considered the homeland of the Jewish people, and becoming a citizen of the country allows individuals to connect with their cultural and religious roots.

Others may seek Israeli citizenship to move to a modern country with a highly developed free market economy and state-of-the-art medicine.

Financial investments in Israel do not lead to citizenship: the country does not have a formal Israel citizenship by investment program similar to those offered by other developed countries.

Israeli citizenship is available through various paths, such as:

  • birth;

  • descent;

  • naturalisation;

  • marriage.

Speaking Hebrew is often a prerequisite for obtaining citizenship, particularly for individuals applying by naturalisation. The authorities do not specify the required language level. Applicants show their knowledge of Hebrew when submitting applications at a Population and Immigration Authority office.

The application process for Israeli citizenship typically involves submitting required documentation, undergoing background checks, and attending interviews as necessary. The process may vary depending on the applicant’s circumstances and the authorities’ discretion.

The Ministry of Interior oversees the citizenship application process and makes decisions regarding eligibility and approval.

Israel allows dual and even multiple citizenship. At the same time, renouncing all previous citizenships is a mandatory condition of obtaining a passport by naturalisation. In some exceptional cases, applicants are exempted from this condition and can keep both passports. The exemption is provided by the Minister of the Interior according to the Citizenship Law.

The practical guide on second citizenship for children's better future

Practical Guide

The practical guide on second citizenship for children's better future

7 key benefits of acquiring Israel citizenship

1. Family reunification. Individuals whose family members reside in Israel can reunite with their relatives and build a life together in the country.

2. Strong passport. Israeli passport allows visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 156 countries, including the Schengen Area, the UK, Japan, and New Zealand.

3. Access to healthcare. Israel has a universal healthcare system, meaning that all citizens are entitled to healthcare services under the National Health Insurance Law. The system is funded through taxation and provides access to various medical services.

Israel is home to several top clinics and plastic surgery centres known for their advanced techniques, skilled surgeons, and high-quality patient care. Some notable clinics include Assuta Medical Centers, Rabin Medical Center, and Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.

The clinics offer a wide range of services, including plastic and reconstructive surgery, cancer treatment, and cardiac surgery, and welcome patients from all over the world.

4. Education opportunities. Israeli citizens have access to public education, including universities and colleges, at subsidised rates. Israel is among the world’s top 5 most educated countries, with half of its citizens having completed higher education.

5. Beneficial social safety net. Israel has various social welfare programs and benefits available to residents, including unemployment benefits, housing subsidies, and financial assistance for families in need.

6. Dual citizenship. Israel recognises the concept of dual citizenship, allowing individuals to hold an Israeli passport with a passport from another country. The only exception is non-Jews who obtain citizenship by naturalisation and are required to renounce other citizenships.

7. Cultural connection. Israel is a diverse and multicultural society, with people of various backgrounds and ethnicities living and working together. This multicultural environment fosters cross-cultural understanding and collaboration. For foreigners with Jewish roots, obtaining Israeli citizenship can provide a deeper connection to the Jewish people’s culture, history, and traditions.

Benefits of Israeli citizenship

The Baháʼí World Centre is the spiritual and administrative centre near the Haifa, Israel. Many of its locations were inscribed on the World Heritage List

Israel citizenship by birth

A child born to an Israeli father or mother is an Israeli citizen. Immigration laws in Israel are based on the “jus sanguinis” principle, so-called the “right of blood”, giving birthright citizenship to children of Israeli citizens. Citizenship is passed down from parents to their children, even if children are born abroad.

A parent can apply for their minor children if at least one parent is an Israeli citizen. In this case, the child’s place of living must be in Israel, and both parents must grant their consent.

Document requirements are the following:

  1. IDs of parents applying.

  2. Israeli and foreign passports of parents and a child.

  3. Property purchase or rental contract.

  4. Consent from both parents.

Children born in Israel to non-Israeli parents do not receive any legal status in the country.

Law of Return and getting Israel citizenship by descent

Any Jew can move back to Israel and obtain citizenship by making Aliyah. In the late 19th century, 99,7% of all Jews worldwide lived outside of their historical homeland. Today, Israel’s Law of Return codifies the Aliyah concept as a central idea of the Jewish culture. It states that every Jew has the historic right to return to Israel and legally reside there.

The following categories are entitled to get the Israel passport under the right to aliya:

  • a child of a Jew;

  • a grandchild of a Jew;

  • a spouse of a Jew;

  • a spouse of the child of a Jew;

  • a spouse of the grandchild of a Jew.

To apply for citizenship by descent, the applicant presents anID card or passport, a birth certificate, and a filled out application form.

Israel citizenship by marriage

Foreigners married to Israeli citizens can apply to be naturalised. However, marriage to an Israeli does not grant an absolute right to obtain citizenship. The couple has to undergo a “gradual process”, receiving several visas along the way. Permanent residence and citizenship in Israel are obtained at the end of the process, after approximately five years.

Eligibility criteria for a couple are the following:

  • the applicant is a permanent resident with a valid permanent residence permit;

  • the applicant is in official marriage with an Israeli citizen;

  • the couple shares a household;

  • the couple has settled in Israel;

  • the couple is in Israel to apply.

Document requirements for citizenship application are the following:

  1. ID, foreign passport or Israeli travel document.

  2. Property purchase or rental contract.

  3. Confirmation of receipt of National Insurance benefits.

  4. Statement from place of work.

  5. Confirmation of residency in the area obtained at the local council and signed by the head of the council.

  6. If the couple has children — certificates from a school or another educational institution.

Acquiring the Israel passport by naturalisation

Permanent residents of Israel can obtain citizenship by naturalisation. This option doesn’t require confirming the origin to go through the naturalisation procedure. The process is also called integration into Israeli society.

Eligibility criteria for applicants are the following:

  • be currently in Israel and reside in the country for 3 out of 5 years before applying;

  • have a permanent residency status;

  • speak Hebrew at a basic level;

  • renounce other citizenships or provide evidence that they will be renounced after naturalisation.

Document requirements include an ID card, an international passport or travel document, evidence of living in Israel for the last 3 years, and proof of renouncement of the foreign citizenship.

Fast obtaining a passport by naturalisation is possible in Malta. Investors get a residence permit and apply for citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment in one or three years.

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Maltese citizenship

How to get citizenship in Israel by naturalisation: step-by-step process

Applications for naturalisation in Israel are submitted at the Ministry of Interior’s Office — the Population and Immigration Authority branch nearest to the permanent resident’s home. Typically, the obtaining process takes 6 months.

1

1 month

Preparing documents

An essential condition is to prove having lived in Israel over the past few years. This can be done by providing relevant documents, such as:

  • paychecks from an employer;

  • children’s school certificates;

  • copies of the municipal tax;

  • utility bills.

2

1—3 months

Sending documents

The citizenship department of the Population and Immigration Authority reviews the application. The answer is given within a few months.

3

1 month

Preparing additional documents

The department may request additional documents when those supplied by the applicant are insufficient or unsuitable.

4

1 month

Interview

When all the necessary documents are provided, the applicant is summoned for an interview.

5

1 month

Obtaining a passport

If the application is approved, the permanent resident schedules a meeting at the Ministry of Interior, declares allegiance to the State of Israel, and receives a certificate recognising them as an Israeli citizen.

Other grounds to become a citizen of Israel

Citizenship by virtue of living in Israel. Anyone who lived in the Land of Israel on the eve of the State establishment becomes a citizen from the day Israel was established.

Citizenship by virtue of adoption. A child adopted by a citizen of Israel becomes an Israeli citizen on their adoption day. If the adoption takes place outside of Israel by Israeli citizens who are not residents of the State, the adopted child can obtain citizenship provided that both adoptive parents give their consent.

Citizenship by virtue of the grant. This path of obtaining citizenship is reserved for the Minister of the Interior. Under this path, citizenship is granted for exceptional services when a foreigner or their family makes a real contribution to Israel’s security, economy, or other areas.

Benefits of dual citizenship in Israel

The Israel legislation allows individuals to maintain their ties with Israel while enjoying the rights and privileges accorded to Israeli citizens, including the right to reside, work, and vote in Israel. Dual citizens are also subject to the same obligations, such as military service requirements, if applicable.

Dual citizens can travel with one of their passports — the Israeli or one from another country — which facilitates the ease of travel and access to different countries. They can seek consular assistance from both Israeli embassies or consulates and diplomatic missions of another country of their citizenship when travelling abroad.

While Israel allows dual citizenship, it’s essential to learn the laws and regulations governing nationality in both Israel and the country of current citizenship. Some countries have restrictions or limitations on dual citizenship, so individuals should familiarise themselves with the relevant laws.

Grounds to lose Israel citizenship

In Israel, there are specific grounds that can lead to the loss of citizenship. Here are some of the common reasons:

  1. Renunciation. A person may voluntarily renounce their Israeli citizenship by submitting a formal declaration of renunciation to the Ministry of Interior.

  2. Acquisition of another citizenship. If an Israeli citizen voluntarily acquires a passport from another country, they may lose their Israeli citizenship unless they have obtained permission from the Israeli government to retain it.

  3. Disloyalty. Israeli citizenship can be revoked if a person engages in acts of disloyalty to the State of Israel, such as serving in the armed forces of an enemy state or engaging in espionage against Israel.

  4. Fraud or misrepresentation during the naturalisation process. If a naturalised person obtained Israeli citizenship through fraud, false representation, or concealment of relevant information, their citizenship may be revoked.

  5. Terrorism or treason. Individuals convicted of terrorism, treason, or espionage against the State of Israel may have their citizenship revoked.

  6. Residency abroad. Israeli citizens who reside outside of Israel and actively maintain their primary residence abroad for an extended period without the intention to return may lose their citizenship.

  7. Military service. In some cases, Israeli citizens who refuse to fulfil mandatory military service obligations without a valid exemption may face loss of citizenship.

Other countries to get second citizenship: alternatives to the Israel passport

🇲🇹 Malta citizenship by naturalisation for exceptional services by direct investment. According to the legislation, foreigners wishing to get Malta citizenship for exceptional services must fulfil three mandatory financial conditions:

  1. Buying or renting real estate in Malta for €700,000 or more. The investment should be made in a single property. If the applicant chooses to rent real estate, the rental should be at least €16,000 per year.

  2. Making a contribution to the Malta National Development and Social Fund. To obtain citizenship in 3 years, the investor makes a contribution of €600,000. An investment of €750,000 accelerates the process to 1 year.

  3. Making a charitable donation of €10,000 to a Maltese registered philanthropic, cultural, sporting, scientific, animal welfare, or artistic non-governmental organisation.

🇹🇷 Turkey citizenship by investment. To become a Turkish national, an investor must contribute at least $400,000 with the option of purchasing residential or commercial real estate. The time frame for getting a Turkish passport by investment is 6—8 months.

Turkey’s citizenship provides life in a politically stable country with low crime rates, a good environment, and broad education and healthcare opportunities.

Individual cost calculation of the Turkey citizenship

Individual cost calculation of the Turkey citizenship

All ways to obtain Israel citizenship: key takeaways

  1. There are several ways to acquire Israel nationality, including descent, naturalisation, and marriage.

  2. Key benefits of Israeli citizenship include having a strong passport, living in one of the financial hubs, and access to a strong social welfare system and free education.

  3. Israeli citizens are allowed to hold dual citizenship and even multiple citizenships. However, those who undergo a naturalisation procedure are required to renounce all other nationalities.

  4. Israel does not have a formal citizenship by investment program.

  5. Citizenship by investment is available in several other countries, including Malta and Turkey.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

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