Israeli Family-Law Forum - Citizenship/Visas

Much depends on the particular circumstances but in proceedings before the Supreme Court of Justice in Jerusalem, Israel,  in January 2017, a Ukrainian mother-of-two, who was due to receive permanent resident status later in the year,but  faced action to remove her and her children from Israel, in similar circumstances, managed to reach an agreement with the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Population & Immigration Authority whereby she would withdraw her petition against them, and in return she would be entitled to apply for permanent residency as planned, and later on, citizenship, and her application/s would be considered positively, providing that Israel remained the centre of life for her and the children, there were no other major changes in their circumstances, and she provided all the necessary documentation.

 

 

 

You and your father can make a joint application to the family court in Israel for an order to conduct genetic testing to prove his paternity. If the results of the D.N.A testing are positive, then this will provide the missing link showing your entitlement to citizenship as the grandchild of a Jew, under the Law of Return, presuming that your late grandfather's paternity is registered on your father’s birth certificate (you say your father "has all his papers"). The Family Court can give a judgment declaring your father’s paternity and your eligibility to citizenship, and give appropriate instructions to the Ministry of Interior, regarding your status. In 2016 our office represented a Ukrainian non-Jewish grand-daughter of a Jewish citizen in similar circumstances , before Petach Tikva Family Court, where court-ordered genetic testing conducted in Israel and the U.S.A, where her father resides, resulted in a declaration of paternity, which provided the missing link, on the road to citizenship.

You need to prove there is a biological parent-child connection between this man and yourself . To  do so, you need an order from the Israeli family court so that the necessary D.N.A. testing can be ordered. The more identifying or contact details your mother knows about this man, the easier the process will be . If he is traced  but will not co-operate, you can still proceed. If genetic testing proves that you are the son of an Israeli citizen, and you get a court judgment declaring that he is your father, then you will automatically be entitled to Israeli citizenship yourself , though you will need to apply for it at the Israeli Ministry of Interior. 

There are options under the 1952 Israeli Citizenship Act for cancelling a minor's Israeli citizenship, even in the absence of the other parent's consent, on the basis of one parent's declaration only, subject to certain conditions, such as providing a court judgment or ruling  that the applicant parent has sole guardianship or parental decision making powers.

Non-Israeli parents overseas, with sole decision making authority ,can face difficulties trying to deal with such issues before Israeli Consulates abroad, in which case some legal respresentation, either on the basis of correspondence, with the relevant overseas representative, or the Ministry of Interior in Israel, can assist, although ultimately, there may be no choice ,but to opt for  legal action in Israel ,against the Israeli Ministry of Interior, at a special administrative section of the District Court , requesting it to order the Minister of Interior to act as requested, if the latter's refusal is contrary to law, unreasonable and arbitrary.

 

Yes, parents of a child born overseas, and living outside of Israel, can apply via their local Israeli Consulate to make a "declaration of waiver of Citizenship" for a minor, according to Section 10(c) of the 1952 Citizenship Act.

Yes! A special procedure exists for samples of genetic material to be taken overseas where one party resides outside Israel ,even though the whole testing procedure is controlled by the Israeli hospital laboratory appointed by the Israeli family court order to handle the testing. For example, in 2015 Petach Tikva Family Court ordered paternity testing to establish a parent-child relationship between an adult  Ukrainian citizen who had fled to Israel in 2014 and claimed citizenship through her Jewish father, an American citizen, living in the US. The adult daughter gave a DNA sample in Israel, whereas arrangements were made for the father to give a DNA sample in New York, after co-ordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel and the Israeli Embassy in New York.Our law offices successfully represented both the father and daughter whose relationship was formally established by court judgment in September 2015,  following court-ordered genetic testing.

File a joint application together with your father, to  the Israeli family court for an order for genetic testing to establish paternity.This can be done even though your father is outside of Israel. Once DNA testing establishes paternity the court will give orders to the Ministry of Interior in Israel to register you as an immigrant and your family will be able to get status in Israel, too. 

Our law practice successfully represented a 40 year old Ukrainian mother who had fled the Ukraine with her husband and children, but who was refused status under the Law of Return, in similar circumstances. In September 2015, following the results of paternity testing conducted according to court order, the Petach Tikva Family Court gave a declaratory judgment declaring the two applicants father and daughter (File 5409-04-15). The authorities had previously recognised the father as Jewish and the Jewish agency had even issued him a visa to emigrate to Israel though he had immigrated to the USA instead, while the grandfather, who was Jewish, had actually emigrated to Israel, and had been granted citizenship. 

 

Yes, if paternity is recognized, then a child born to an Israeli citizen is automatically an Israeli citizen though an application can be made by both parents, or one of them, in certain conditions, to relinquish the minor’s citizenship up until the minor is 16. 

If your marriage was registered at the Ministry of Interior and you have completed the 5 year process of phased citizenship, and have become an Israeli citizen, then you should not be at risk, if you divorce. If you are within the process,and have either full  custody or joint custody over your children, then your chances of remaining in Israel should be reasonably good. Clearly, the more co-operative your husband is, the greater your chances of remaining in Israel, with the children, if this is what you wish.
 
 It would be wise to seek individual professional legal advice,  and discuss the possibility of drawing up a separation or divorce agreement with your husband,if he is co-operative. The ideal would be to reach a court authorized agreement,at the appropriate time, which would ensure that you are the sole custodian, with him having generous visitation, or that there is shared and equal parenting in a joint custody arrangement. In either  of these two scenarios  it would be in the children’s interest that  you would remain in Israel, so that they could have the opportunity of growing up knowing both of their biological parents. Should the Ministry of Interior not respect such an arrangement , regarding your status, and seek to order your expulsion, you could bring legal action at the District Court’s  special court of  administrative matters.

Yes! In August 2010 The Supreme Court of Justice upheld a decision given by the Ministry of Interior cancelling the citizenship granted to a man who “immigrated” to Israel in 1991 from Bulgaria, on the strength of false documentation about his mother’s Jewishness. The Ministry of Interior discovered the truth in 2007 after carrying out a serious investigation with the relevant documentary sources overseas.