IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, approved a law last week to allow Jewish heritage immigrants (Olim) to obtain passports immediately upon arrival in Israel.

What does the change mean? Effective immediately, Olim coming to Israel under the Law of Return will be able to obtain passports immediately upon arrival. Previously, Olim had to reside in Israel for a year before they could be issued a passport.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Israeli passports.
  • Who is affected: Jewish heritage immigrants to Israel (Olim).
  • Impact on processing times: The change will reduce the amount of time it takes for Olim to obtain passports, as they will no longer have to wait a year before applying.

Background: The Law of Return allows for all Jewish heritage immigrants to reside and apply for citizenship in Israel, regardless of their nationality. Until recently, however, this group of immigrants had to make Israel their primary place of residence and had to reside in the country for at least a year before they could obtain passports. The Knesset gave final approval last week to legislation allowing Olim to apply for and obtain passports immediately upon arriving in Israel, even if it is not their primary country of residence.

BAL Analysis: The change will make foreign travel from Israel easier for newly arrived Olim and will be particularly helpful to those who still have family or business interests abroad.