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Making Aliyah: Apostille Needs for Americans Moving to Israel

What is Aliyah?

Aliyah refers to the historical movement of Jews from the diaspora to the Land of Israel, which now encompasses the current State of Israel. Making aliyah, or relocating to the Land of Israel, is one of Zionism's most basic concepts, sometimes known as "going up" towards Jerusalem. The inverse activity, emigration from the "Land of Israel," is called yerida in Hebrew ("descent"). The State of Israel's Law of Return grants Jews, their children, and grandchildren automatic residency and citizenship rights in Israel.

Most Jews have lived in exile for most of history, and aliyah, while a national ambition for the Jewish people, was seldom pursued before to the establishment of the Zionist movement in the late 1800s. In 1882, a large-scale Jewish immigration to Palestine started. More than 3 million Jews have moved to Israel since the State of Israel was established in 1948. Israel and its surrounding territories accounted for 42.9 percent of the world's Jewish population in 2014.

Documents Required for Making Aliyah to Israel

"Any Jew is eligible to make aliyah to Israel" and so earn Israeli citizenship, according to the first article of the Law of Return. The law, on the other hand, makes no provision for proving one's Jewishness or demonstrating one's Jewish ancestry. The Israeli Ministry of Interior's method for submitting an aliyah application includes a list of papers that must be submitted.

Religious certificates proving that the applicant is Jewish or of Jewish descent, as well as civil documentation proving who the applicant is, are both necessary for the Israel aliyah procedure.

Religious Documents:

A person making aliyah to Israel does not need to provide a specified set of papers, according to the Ministry of Interior policy. Any document proving religious affiliation, such as a Jewish marriage certificate (called ketubah in Hebrew), bar mitzvah certificate, proof of burial of parents or grandparents in a Jewish cemetery, membership in a synagogue, membership in Jewish organizations, and any other document that can show a person, or any of their parents and grandparents, are Jewish, is acceptable. A individual making aliyah to Israel will also be required to submit a letter of recommendation from a rabbi or another Jewish group to the Ministry of Interior officials.

Civic Documents:

A person making aliyah to Israel will need to bring their passport and birth certificate, as well as, if feasible, their parents' birth certificates, to verify who they are and how they are related to their Jewish parents and grandparents. A married couple with children must present their marriage certificate as well as their spouse's and children's birth certificates.

Aside from that, everyone making aliyah to Israel must also submit a document called a "no criminal record certificate." This police clearance is obtained from a police department (for example, the FBI Backgorund Check) to demonstrate that the aliyah applicant and prospective Israeli citizen has no criminal history and will not pose a threat to the Israeli population.

Authentication of Documents Through Apostille

It should be noted that these documents must be originals. If not, an Apostille is required to authenticate the papers in accordance with the 1961 Hague Convention. This authentication method is similar to that of a Notary Public, but on a global scale. Outside of Israel, this authentication process can be completed at the Israeli Embassy Consular Department.

You could also choose to outsource the apostille process to a service such as American Apostille & Notary Services to assist in this process. There is no margin for error with the authentication or apostille process. If mistakes are made, both your time and money will be wasted and you'll have to start all over again. If you want to look into outsourcing this part of preparing to studying abroad to someone with experience, please email me at or call 848-467-7740 to request my services or learn more.

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