Israel,  Love,  Middle East,  Relationship,  Visa

Partner Visa Application for a Foreign Partner of an Israeli

So, you found someone amazing whom you’ve really connected with. However, you live in different countries and one big step in your long-distance relationship is to decide in which country you’ll build your life together.

 

That was  the case with me and Igal. I’m from the Philippines and he’s from Israel. After considering several personal factors, we’ve decided that our next step is to establish our life together in Israel. So, we decided to go through Israel’s Partner Visa.

 

Israel’s Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of Interior Israel) has two procedures for foreign partners of Israelis – (1) married couple procedure, and (2) unmarried couple or married same-sex couple procedure. We are applying under the second case. As such, my posts about Partner Visa will mostly be about the unmarried procedure. However, I’ll try to mention similarities or differences that I know of between the two. I’m going to make several posts about our experience with the partnership visa process and this is the first one. I’ll also try to  include references to the official procedure document of Misrad Hapnim.

Misrad Hapnim's Official Procedure Document

Since you are reading this post, my assumption is that you and your partner are considering to apply for the Partner Visa. Best way to start is by reading the entire procedure document provided by Misrad Hapnim on its website. The official document is in Hebrew. I’d gone through the entire unmarried procedure document and tried to understand the process with the help of Google translate. The document is very informative!

 

These are the procedures with hyperlinks to official guide documents:

I’ll be using the current version of the unmarried couple procedure as I refer to the document on my Partner Visa posts. The current version is dated 8 April 2018.

Procedure Overview

​Per my understanding of the official procedure guide and based on my experience and experiences of other couples, the process looks like this in a nutshell, which applies to both married and unmarried couples:

The BLUE STEPS are the ones which are always expected to happen, while the RED STEPS happen sometimes. Igal and I had gone through Steps A and B and, as of writing, we’re scheduled for Step D. We weren’t required to do Step C. We also won’t need to do Step E since I’m from the Philippines.

Where should you apply?

Before discussing the steps, you need to know first which branch of Misrad Hapnim you should approach. You cannot go to just any branch you want. You need to do the process at the Misrad Hapnim branch that services the city in which the Israeli partner is registered and residing. There’s no escaping this rule since part of the procedure’s documentary requirements are (1) the Israeli’ teudat zehut, and (2) proof of lease/purchase of an Israeli home.

The Partner Visa Steps

Step A: Book 'Appointment 1' with Misrad Hapnim

You have to reach-out to Misrad Hapnim in order to start the ball rolling. You have two options:

  • Visit Misrad Hapnim Branch (Walk-in) – all you have to do is go to your Misrad Hapnim branch, get a queue number to the visa section and, on your turn, say that you want to apply for the Partner Visa. The visa clerk will give you a list of requirements and your Appointment 1 schedule. It’s recommended to queue up early so you’ll be ahead of the line and (somehow) lessen the waiting time for your turn with the visa clerk.
  • Use the online form – you can fill-up Misrad Hapnim’s online form to express your intent to start a partner visa application. The Misrad Hapnim branch you selected will call you to give your Appointment 1 date, while the list of requirements will be sent via post. This option saves you a trip to (and time at) Misrad Hapnim office. However, it might take days (in some cases, weeks) before a couple hears from Misrad Hapnim. Worst case, couple won’t hear from Misrad Hapnim and end up doing the “walk-in” option anyway.

 

When requesting for/booking Appointment 1 schedule, Misrad Hapnim will need the foreign partner’s passport number. So keep that handy.

 

In our case, we used the online form and got a call from Misrad Hapnim the following day. The Appointment 1 schedule given to us was about four months away. Igal got the list of requirements on the post about a month after Misrad Hapnim’s call.

 

Currently, the Jerusalem branch does not require Step A. Couples just go straight to Step B (ie., just go to the branch with all the documentary requirements). That’s great since you can just walk-in anytime you’re ready with all the requirements and no need to wait months for Appointment 1. Again, this is at Jerusalem branch and it’s the CURRENT practice. It might change in the future. Who knows?!

 

For couples in which the Israeli is in Israel and the foreign partner is abroad – note that once you’ve notified/approached Misrad Hapnim to schedule Appointment 1, it is not recommended for the foreign partner to enter Israel. He/She should first be officially invited by Misrad Hapnim before flying to Israel. Otherwise, it’s likely that the border control officer will deny his/her entry to the country once the officer sees on the system that his/her passport number is currently tagged with a partner visa application and Misrad Hapnim has not released an invitation yet. On the other hand, the couple can meet anywhere else in the world while waiting for Misrad Hapnim’s invitation.

 

Here is a flowchart I made about this step:

Step B: Appointment 1 - Submission of Required Documents

This is pretty easy. You just go to your Misrad Hapnim branch and submit all of the documents they want you to provide for the Partner Visa application. There are three cases you’d have to consider with this step:

  1. Both Israeli and foreign partner are in Israel – Personal presence of both is required when submitting the required documents.
  2. Israeli partner is in Israel and foreign partner is abroad – Only the presence of Israeli partner is required. Foreign partner will wait for official invitation from Misrad Hapnim.
  3. Both Israeli and foreign partner are outside Israel – The presence of both at Israeli mission in their place of residence.

I’m not familiar with case three and I haven’t encountered much couples who were/are in that case. As such there’s nothing I can say about it.

 
If, for whatever reason, you weren’t able to provide all of the required documents on the day of your Appointment 1, you have 45 days to give the missing document/s to Misrad Hapnim. Otherwise, your case will be closed (ie., the application will be denied/rejected).
 

D. 6. Initial examination of the evidence to prove the center of life and the honesty of the relationship. Check the documents submitted and make sure that evidence has been submitted to the Center for Life and Relationship Safety.

D. 6.a. In the event that the remaining required documents (other than the threshold documents) are not furnished at the time of submission of the application, as specified in section C.3 above, the applicants will be given a written list of the other documents they must furnish and the invitee will sign a declaration (Appendix B) that he knows that if within 45 days the requested documents are not submitted, his application is cancelled and a notice of refusal will be sent outright. The Director of the Bureau is authorized to extend this date at his discretion.

• If the documents are not actually delivered within 45 days by the applicants, a notice of refusal will be sent by registered mail (Appendix C – Outright Rejection of the Bureau) and the request will be closed.

• If the requested documents have been submitted to the Bureau only after the said 45-day period and the application has been refused and closed, a new application must be opened and an appropriate fee must be collected in accordance with the fee chart. However, a condition for submitting a new application is the presentation of the missing documents in the closed application and if it were not presented, a new file would not be approved.”

(Source: Page 5 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

It’s very important to be very organized and anal when preparing the required documents. Make sure that you have everything on the list. I’ll make a separate post regarding the documents we submitted to Misrad Hapnim.

 

If you fall under Case 2 (Israeli partner is in Israel and foreign partner is abroad) like me and Igal, then expect to hear from Misrad Hapnim again regarding the foreign partner’s official invitation to Israel some days after your Appointment 1. In our case, the clerk told Igal during Appointment 1 that all of our documents look good and that we will most likely move forward but she will call Igal within 10 days to give official advise on my entry to Israel. She did call Igal on the 10th calendar day to verbally communicate the invitation.

 

Per procedure guide, Misrad Hapnim should decide on approval of entry (invitation) within 90 days after submission of all required documents. If more time is needed, then Misrad Hapnim should notify the Israeli partner.

“D. 12.d. As a rule, a decision to approve entry into Israel will be made within 90 days of receipt of the full application from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after verifying compliance with the conditions and requirements in this procedure and an initial examination of the sincerity of the relationship with the Israeli spouse.

However, if the position of the parties is required, a decision will not be reached before their position is passed, but an Israeli should be notified in writing within 90 days of receipt of the full request from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the need to conduct additional examinations before a decision is reached on his application. If the parties’ comments are received, action must be taken in accordance with the “Procedure for Comments Factors’ (Procedure No. 5.2.0015).”

(Source: Pages 8-9 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

The clerk told Igal that, normally, the foreign partner is expected to arrive within 3 months after Misrad Hapnim’s official invitation. The foreign partner will enter Israel on B/2 tourist visa.

 

Try to clarify with your branch on when the foreign partner is expected to arrive in Israel. I’m from the Philippines and a PH passport holder is entitled to B/2 tourist visa-on-arrival with maximum validity of 90 days. I’m wondering if that had bearing on what the clerk said that expected arrival is within the next three months. If the foreign partner needs a pre-arranged visa (ie., B/2 tourist visa issued at Israel embassy in his/her home country), this is what the procedure guide says:

“If the subject is a national who is bound by a pre-arranged entry visa, the consul / Tawarak will grant the relevant mission abroad a B / 2 visa valid for 30 days during which the applicants must apply to the regional authority’s office for continued handling of their case.”

(Source: Page 9 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

Step C: Embassy Interview of Foreign Partner

I’m not quite familiar with this step since I was not required to do the embassy interview. I only heard of a few couples who were asked to do this step prior to Misrad Hapnim’s decision to invite the foreign partner to Israel.

 

During our application’s Appointment 1 (document submission), when the clerk attending to Igal said that our next step is the interview at Misrad Hapnim and we should wait for the official advise regarding the invitation, Igal clarified if we really don’t need the embassy interview. The clerk told him that sometimes Misrad Hapnim requires it but it’s not needed in our case. Igal tried to ask the clerk when would an embassy interview be required but the clerk didn’t want to discuss it. So, this step is only done as needed per Misrad Hapnim’s determination.

Step D: Couple's Interview at Misrad Hapnim

I mentioned earlier that if the foreign partner is abroad then an official invitation from Misrad Hapnim is needed before entering Israel. In our experience, our branch will only book us an interview schedule (Step D schedule) after my arrival in Israel. The clerk told Igal that, when I arrive in Israel, we should visit the Visa Section of Misrad Hapnim together on morning of Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday in order to book the interview. It seems that our branch is just strictly following the official procedure guide.

“D. 12.h. During the 30 days following the arrival of the Invitee to Israel, the applicants must apply to the Bureau in order to coordinate the continued handling of their applications for status in accordance with the provisions of this procedure.

D. 13. After receiving the application:
D. 13.a. The decision will be made after a thorough and in-depth examination, including an interview in accordance with Interview Procedure 5.1.0013 (If the applicant is abroad, a date should be arranged for an interview as close as possible after entering Israel)…”

(Source: Page 9 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

I did, however, hear of another branch giving a couple an interview schedule prior to the foreign partner’s arrival in Israel. I consider them lucky and their branch to be lenient.

 

If the foreign partner is already in Israel, my understanding is that Misrad Hapnim will give the couple the interview schedule after assessing the documents submitted by the couple. Usually, the interview schedule is given during Appointment 1 provided that the couple’s documents are complete and satisfactory.

 

On the interview itself, I have no experience yet since we are still waiting for our booked appointment. However, couples who went through it always say that if you’re a real couple then you have nothing to worry about. The process is to interview the couple separately, ask the same set of questions, and then compare if the answers match or not. The important thing is to be honest. If you don’t know nor remember the answer, then just say so. The interview is part of Misrad Hapnim’s way to assess whether your relationship is fictitious or not.

 

Here are few questions shared by couples who already did the interview:

  1. What is each other’s birthday?
  2. How did you celebrate each other’s birthday?
  3. What is each other’s current age?
  4. What is the last movie you saw in the cinema?
  5. What did you do last Saturday?
  6. How did you meet? When? Where?
  7. What and where is each other’s work?
  8. What is each other’s salary?
  9. When and where was the last trip together?
  10. Which side of the bed do you sleep on?
  11. What are  the names of your partner’s parents and siblings?
  12. How is your relationship with your partner’s parents?
  13. Where do you live?
  14. How many rooms do you have at home?
  15. What are your future plans professionally and as a couple?

Step E: Nativ Interview

Based on what other couples experienced, this step happens when the foreign partner is from an ex-USSR (former Soviet Union) country. Sometimes, it can also happen when the foreign partner is from Eastern Europe but not ex-USSR country. Bottom line – Misrad Hapnim will tell you if you need this. However, if you’re from Eastern Europe (ex-USSR or not), manage your expectation by keeping in mind that there’s a chance you’ll need this step. Nativ interview is done in Jerusalem.

Here is a flowchart I made covering the process until the Misrad Hapnim interview. I didn’t include the Nativ Interview, though. One step is in orange box because, at this point, Misrad Hapnim can either do the solid line or the broken line when giving interview schedule.

Misrad Hapnim's Assessment

During the entire assessment process (Steps A to E), the foreign partner will be under B/2 tourist visa. Unless, the foreign partner is already in Israel and has an existing valid visa. Here is an entry in Misrad Hapnim’s procedure guide:

“D. 10. If the Invitee has a valid residency permit, the existing license will be extended until the completion of the examination. If the Invitee does not hold a valid residency permit, do not remove it until the completion of the examination.

D. 10.a. If the applicant is in a valid B/1 Nursing Care license, a letter must be required from the employer that he knows that the applicant has applied for a status in Israel in accordance with this procedure, and he wishes to continue employing him.

D. 10.b. If the applicant has completed his employment with a nursing employer, his license will be replaced by a B / 2 license pending a decision in his application in accordance with this procedure.

D. 10.c. If at the time of submission of the application, the Invitee holds a valid license (B/1 or A/5) that was received in a graduated procedure by virtue of a prior relationship, the existing license must first be revoked in accordance with the provisions of Procedure 5.2.0017, since this is a discontinued procedure. After that, he will be granted a B / 2 license until the completion of the tests in his new application under this procedure. It is hereby clarified that if the new application is approved, he will have to start a new graduated process under the new spouse.”

(Source: Page 6 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

After successfully going through all the required steps of the partner visa application and getting Misrad Hapnim’s approval on the application, the foreign partner will be issued an unrestricted B/1 Partner Work Visa which allows him/her to work at any company. The visa is renewed annually and is dependent on the continuation of the couple’s relationship (ie., your relationship will be assessed yearly as part of renewal).

 

Now, worst case scenario – if the application is rejected, then the foreign partner must leave Israel within 30 days (14 days if the foreign partner is staying illegally (ie., no valid visa / expired visa)).

“D. 18. If it is decided to refuse the application based on the findings of the interview, both spouses must be invited to the office, and upon arrival, they must be given a reasoned refusal notice in writing with a demand that the invitee leave the country within 30 days, on whose margins the possibility of filing an appeal in accordance with Procedure 1.6.0001 will be noted. In cases where the invitee is staying illegally, he must be required to leave within 14 days. A copy of the refusal letter will be forwarded to the Enforcement and Foreign Administration. The application file must also be closed, the license should be revoked as much as possible by virtue of this procedure, a “refused to stay” restriction should be added and the computerized spreadsheet will be updated regarding the closure of the file.” 

(Source: Page 11 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

Misrad Hapnim has decided. Now what?

As previously mentioned, there are two possible outcomes on your application:

  • Approved
  • Rejected

Let’s now discuss what happens next for each scenario.

Approved Application

Misrad Hapnim will grant a B/1 Partner Work Visa to the foreign partner when the application is approved. This means that the couple will now start their graduated procedure.

 

The couple has to go through numerous annual assessment of the relationship during the graduated procedure. The foreign partner starts with getting a B/1 work visa, then eventually an A/5 temporary resident visa, and then permanent residency/citizenship.

 

Note that if the foreign partner wants/needs to travel abroad, he/she needs an additional visa sticker on her passport so that he/she can re-enter Israel. It’s called a multi-entry visa, valid for one year, and is at an additional cost. Foreign partner who will travel abroad needs the multi-entry visa with the B/1 and A/5. If he/she will not travel abroad, then there’s no need to get the multi-entry visa.

 

For unmarried couples, page 12 of Procedure 5.2.0009 states that the graduated process is:

  • If the Israeli partner is a citizen – 3 years on B/1 followed by 4 years on A/5
  • If the Israeli partner is a permanent resident – 4 years on B/1 followed by 4 years on A/5
  • If the applicants are married same-sex couple –  4 years on A/5

 

After the graduated procedure under Procedure 5.2.0009 (unmarried), the couple can apply for permanent residency as part of Procedure 5.2.0009. Citizenship is not an option under Procedure 5.2.0009. However, I’ve heard that foreign partners who went through and gained permanent residency under Procedure 5.2.0009 can separately apply for naturalization. Check-out this link for Misrad Hapnim’s separate naturalization procedure.

 

Israel allows dual citizenship. If you’re thinking of getting citizenship at the end of the process, check first if your country also allows dual citizenship. If not, then you can only have one. Either (1) keep your original citizenship and just be a permanent resident in Israel, or (2) give-up your original citizenship and become an Israeli citizen.

 

Here’s an entry in the official guide about the graduated procedure under Procedure 5.2.0009:

“D. 22. The graduated procedure:

After approval of the application, a B / 1 residency and work permit will be granted to the Invitee.

D. 22.a. If the applicant is an Israeli citizen, the period of the graduated procedure will be 3 years in the B / 1 license followed by 4 years in A / 5 temporary residence permit, subject to compliance with the terms of this procedure and in the absence of prevention of the updated examinations that will be carried out from year to year.

D. 22.b. If the applicant is a permanent resident, the period of the graduated procedure will be 4 years in the B / 1 license followed by 5 years in the A / 5 temporary residence permit, subject to compliance with the conditions of this procedure and in the absence of prevention of the updated tests that will be carried out from year to year.

D. 22.c. If the applicants are treated by virtue of marriage documents of same-sex couples, the period of the graduated procedure will be 4 years in an A / 5 temporary residence permit, subject to compliance with the conditions of this procedure and in the absence of prevention of the updated examinations that will be carried out from year to year.

D. 28.b. At the end of the cumulative period of the relevant graduated procedure, the couple may submit a request for a permanent residency permit, which will be processed according to Procedure Number 5.2.0023 and subject to compliance with all the required conditions and in the absence of a prohibition under this procedure”

(Source: Pages 12 and 13 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

Note that married same-sex couples will start with a B/1 visa which does not count against graduated procedure. Most likely, it’s the same with other married couples’ graduated procedure.

“D. 14. In applications based on marriage documents for same-sex couples:

First, it is necessary to check that authenticated and translated marriage documents have been presented.

After marriage documents have been presented as required, during the examination of the application on its merits, the applicant will be given a B / 1 license that is not counted during the period of the graduated procedure. The continuation of the treatment will be in accordance with the detailed procedure of the headquarters”

(Source: Page 10 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

According to experience of married couples under Procedure 5.2.0008, the foreign partner married to an Israeli usually starts with a B/1 work visa for six months followed by A/5 temporary resident visa for four years, and then finishes with a choice between permanent residency and citizenship.

 

Per Procedure 5.2.0008 (married couple) guide, my understanding is that the time with A/5 is the one considered to be part of the graduated procedure. I haven’t read it in full but below are some entries from the document. I recommend married couples to download and read the entire procedure guide provided by Misrad Hapnim:

“D.2.a. At this stage and after all the threshold documents as detailed in section C.2 above and insofar as there is no other impediment as detailed in the procedure, it is possible to grant the Invitee a general B / 1 residence permit for a period of up to six months, during which the other tests will be carried out as required.

E.4. The Ashura Center will examine the application for all of its circumstances, and if it is deplored in the negative of the relationship and / or the absence of a common center of life in Israel, the application will be refused. However, if there is a risk of calling the relationship, the visa center may, in the appropriate cases at its discretion, extend the validity of the B / 1 license for another six months only, at the end of which the authenticity of the relationship will be examined again, Or to condition approval of the application at the beginning of a graduated process of depositing a guarantee (bank / cash). The amount of the guarantee will be determined in accordance with the guarantees procedure (5.1.0004). In exceptional cases, at the end of one year, the B / 1 license must be transferred to the appropriate desk at the headquarters for the purpose of consultation and extension of a B / 1 license for one additional year. After this date, a decision must be made on the merits.

E.9. After the approval of the application, with the exception of the application of a resident of the area, a temporary residence permit of type A / 5 will be granted to the Invitee and the accompanying minor as attached to the application. The temporary license will be granted each time for one year and up to a total period of 4 years. When applying for an A / 5 license for the first time, a registration form must be filled out, a person’s file in a new registry will be established, files must be linked to the invitee’s passport and a temporary identity card will be issued.

H.2. An invitee who is not a resident of the Area is obligated to notify the Bureau 3 months prior to the end of the four years of his stay in a temporary residence permit of type A /5, and after clarifying with the representative of his country, what status he wishes to receive at the end of the graduated process – Israeli citizenship or a permit for permanent residency. The application is subject to the personal presence of both spouses.”

Rejected Application

As previously mentioned, the foreign partner is expected to leave Israel within 30 or 14 days, whichever applies. The couple can re-apply after one year. Here are entries from the procedure guide:

“B.10. If the application is refused for any reason at the beginning or during the process, a new application may be filed one year after the day on which the last decision was made in the application (the bureau’s refusal / rejection of the appeal Internal / judicial decision indicating the postponement or deletion of the judicial proceeding ) in so far as they meet the conditions of the decision given.

D. 20. If the application is refused before the gradual process begins or during the process, the applicants will be able to file a new application only one year after the last decision was made in the application (the refusal of the office / rejection of an internal appeal / judicial decision to postpone or delete the judicial proceeding), in so far as they meet the conditions of the decision given.”

(Source: Pages 2 and 11 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

However, if the application was rejected due to failure to provide complete documentary requirements within the allotted period (Step B schedule + 45 days), my understanding is that there is no need to wait for another year to submit a new application. Ask your clerk what steps should you take if you are in this situation considering this entry in the procedure guide:

“D. 21. Exceptions:
D. 21.a. If the request is summarily denied in the absence of the full documents, it will be possible to submit a new application following the departure of the invitee from Israel and presenting the full documentation missing from the closed application, even if one year has not elapsed since the date on which it was refused.”

(Source: Page 12 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

 

Also remember this bullet under section D.6.a for rejected application due to incomplete documents (mentioned earlier under Step B discussion on 45-day grace period):

“• If the requested documents have been submitted to the Bureau only after the said 45-day period and the application has been refused and closed, a new application must be opened and an appropriate fee must be collected in accordance with the fee chart. However, a condition for submitting a new application is the presentation of the missing documents in the closed application and if it were not presented, a new file would not be approved.”

(Source: Page 5 of Unmarried Couple Procedure Guide)

How much does it cost?

Visa Fees

Each B/1 visa and A/5 visa costs 175 ILS.

Each multi-entry visa costs 175 ILS.

For married couples, a fee for opening a case (the application) is 920 ILS.

If needed, each B/2 tourist visa extension costs 175 ILS

 

Multiply the visa fee with the number of years in graduated procedure and you’ll be spending more than 2,000 ILS in total. All rates are as of the time of writing this post.

Other Expenses

Well, you need to go through the application process before getting the first B/1 visa plus there’s the foreign partner’s move. Here are other expenses you might want to consider aside from the visa fees:

  • Getting required documents 
  • Shipping required documents to Israel 
  • Shipping foreign partner’s personal belongings to Israel
  • Plane ticket to Israel

 

In may case, I spent:

  • 384 ILS on getting the required documents
  • 267 ILS on shipping the documents to Israel via FedEx
  • 1275 ILS on shipping my personal belongings (20kg) to Israel visa FedEx
  • 2912 ILS on round trip flight to Israel from Philippines
  • 798 ILS on additional prepaid 10kg baggage on my flight to Israel

In total, I’ve spent 5636 ILS (~1591 USD) on pre-B/1 visa expenses.

 

Try to check on LCL (Less Than Container) shipping when sending personal belongings from foreign partner’s country to Israel. It might be a cheaper option. I didn’t find any for Philippines-Israel route.

 

In case it needs to be mentioned, set aside a budget for living expenses while waiting for the decision on your application. Remember that the foreign partner can’t work while on B/2 Tourist Visa.

Other Things to Consider

Below are tips and reminders I have for you if you are planning to go through the process of getting a partner visa. Click on each item to see brief discussions.

The entire process to obtain the B/1 Partner Visa takes time. You have to prepare yourself with the amount of time the procedure will take. If the foreign partner is abroad, be prepared for the amount of time you need to wait until he/she is invited to enter the country by Misrad Hapnim. Then, when foreign partner is already in Israel, be prepared for the amount of time that he/she can’t work since you guys are still waiting for your application to finish and be approved for B/1 partner work visa.

Obviously, if your branch is loaded with applications then your waiting  time will take longer.

I heard that Tel Aviv branch is swamped and it is not unusual for the entire process to take one year or more (from Step A until getting the B/1 visa).

In our branch’s case (not Tel Aviv), these are some couples’ timelines that I know of:

Us              ||  Step A to B – 4 months  ||  Step B to D – 5 months

Couple 1   ||  Step A to B – 4 months  ||  Step B to D – 1 month

Couple 2   ||  Step A to B – 5 months  ||  Step B to D – 3 months

The long wait until the foreign partner gets a work visa means that couple will, most likely, be reliant on just one person’s income (the Israeli’s income) while going through the process. So, if possible, try to grow both of your savings fund before the foreign partner becomes unemployed while going through the procedure.

I think it really is best to celebrate small victories given that the process takes time. 

  • Misrad Hapnim gave you a schedule for Appointment B (document submission)? Yay!
  • Misrad Hapnim accepted all your documents and didn’t ask for anything more? Yay!
  • Misrad Hapnim issued an invitation for your foreign partner? Yay!
  • Misrad Hapnim gave you an interview schedule? Yay!

I hope you see my point by now. Imagine if you are focused only on the B/1 visa issuance  as measurement of progress, it will take so many months before you’ll even consider that you made progress. I do believe it helps to celebrate each step that you’ve successfully completed.

 

Remember what Theodore Roosevelt said, “Nothing worth having comes easy.” 

Both of you should have a “free” personal status (ie., single, divorced, widowed).

If one (or both) of you is (are) still tagged as married, you probably need a lawyer to help you with your case. Also, see Sections D.13.c and D.13.d (page 10) of Procedure 5.2.0009 guide.

You just need to be organized and ready to prepare all documentary requirements and follow instructions of Misrad Hapnim. You really don’t need a lawyer. However, if you think that your relationship is considered a bit complicated (e.g., one is still tagged as married to someone else) then you might need a lawyer.

I’m used to applying for visas. So, the list of documents that Misrad Hapnim required us to provide was just another simple list to me. I didn’t mind getting and preparing the documents.

Your clerk is handling applications everyday. Misrad Hapnim clerks are probably used to irate applicants. So, if possible, try your best to be nice to the clerk instead of going berserk.

However, there might be instances when you are out of patience. Try to take deep breaths and ask for the manager. Maybe he/she can help you and the clerk on whatever issue you have at hand.

In our case, the invitation was communicated verbally. There was no physical letter/invite provided by Misrad Hapnim. The system was just updated to indicate that I was already officially invited. Border control should see it on the computer.

When I arrived at Ben Gurion Airport, I told the immigration officer that my boyfriend and I are doing the partner visa and that Misrad Hapnim advised that I can already enter Israel. She called someone, did something on the computer, then gave me the blue slip (B/2 visa-on-arrival), and that’s it. Quick and easy.

Nobody really knows what factors can trigger the bank guarantee requirement. From what I understand, it’s Misrad Hapnim’s way of making sure that the foreign partner will leave if he/she is asked to leave.

Check Sections D.12.f (page 9) and D.17 (page 12) of Procedure 5.2.0009 guide.

There is a separate procedure document for bank guarantees (Procedure 5.1.0004) which is also available at Misrad Hapnim’s website. If I understood it correctly, visa related guarantee can go as high up as 50,000 shekels. Up to 100,000 shekels for border  crossing guarantee.

Check-out these self-explanatory entries in the procedure guide (unmarried, pages 2 and 12):

“B. 11. In the event that the Invitee submits an additional / parallel request to receive status in Israel in accordance with another procedure, the Invitee shall be requested to choose one procedure in which his application for status in Israel will be handled, by means of a detailed letter stating in which the procedure chosen to continue treatment, and the second request will be closed. However, insofar as the additional application submitted by the applicant is Application for political asylum according to Procedure 5.2.0012 or request for conversion or application for status under the Law of Return according to Procedure 5.2.0001, the applicant will not be required to choose a procedure as stated above, but will be able to conduct the two proceedings simultaneously according to the provisions of the procedure below.

D. 21.c. In the event that the invitee submits an additional / parallel application to receive status in Israel according to another procedure, except for an application for refugee status, a request for conversion or by virtue of the Law of Return as stated above, the invitee will be asked to choose one procedure in which his application for status in Israel will be handled by means of a detailed letter stating his chosen procedure and his arguments, and the second request will be closed.”

What I learned is that you, as a couple, are considered to have an “open” case with Misrad Hapnim once you are at Step B (documents submission). Having an open case means that Misrad Hapnim should renew the foreign partner’s B/2 Tourist Visa while they (Misrad Hapnim) assess your relationship and decide on whether your application/case is approved or rejected.

Now, the time prior to Step B, you’re not considered to have an “open” case yet and Misrad Hapnim is not obligated to renew the foreign partner’s visa when it expires prior to Step B (documents submission). Hence, there is a chance that the foreign partner will be staying in the country with an expired visa while waiting for your case to be opened. 

However, per previous court ruling (Stamka vs. Ministry of Interior), it seems like Misrad Hapnim can’t require the illegally staying foreign partner to leave the country. I’m not very familiar with this so I suggest you do further research if you are under this situation.

If your clerk renews your foreign partner’s visa prior to Step B, I think the clerk deserves appreciation. My position, though, is that couples should do it by the book and follow the procedure’s by-invitation process on bringing a foreign partner residing abroad to Israel.

The couple is expected to make Israel as the center of  life. I’ve heard that it is not a good idea for the foreign partner to be outside Israel for cumulative period of three months for each one year validity of his/her visa. Ask your clerk on what time period abroad is considered acceptable and won’t cause issues on your visa renewal. We do need some vacation days outside Israel, right?

I also heard that additional time can be added to the couple’s graduated procedure depending on the accumulated time spent abroad throughout the renewal years (eg., additional one year of visa renewal at the end). Again, ask your clerk about it.

It happens. You got the partner visa as unmarried couple then you decide to tie the knot. Procedure 5.2.0008 (married couple procedure) has this entry regarding this situation:

“E.8.c. Israeli and invitee in a gradual process by virtue of a joint life in accordance with the “Procedure for the Treatment of Status of Israeli spouses, including those of the same sex” (Procedure No. 5.2.0009), and married during the procedure, are entitled, after their marriage, to submit an application in accordance with this procedure and to convert the graduated process to a graduated procedure for married couples, subject to their compliance with the provisions of this procedure, and as detailed below:

1. If the applicant undergoes the graduated procedure of a married couple when he / she holds a B/1 license under the graduated procedure in the context of cohabitation, his / her status will be upgraded to a temporary residence permit number A/5 and the continuation of his treatment will be in accordance with the provisions of this procedure, but in any case he must complete the entire period of the graduated procedure.

2. In the event that the applicant undergoes the graduated procedure of a married couple when he has a temporary A/5 license under the graduated procedure in the framework of joint life – the treatment should continue according to the details of this procedure, but invitee must complete 4 years of a temporary residence permit of type A/5 from the date on which the invitee was first granted this license.”

Procedures guides are in Hebrew and are available on Misrad Hapnim’s website. I used Google Translate to create an English version of the documents.

That’s all for now, folks. I hope this post helps you. Goodluck! Yom nifla (יום נפלא)!

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