Shivat Zion

FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions

0Eligibility

  • Can I get an Israeli passport without making Aliyah?

    If your parents are not Israelis and you were not born in Israel or have previously made Aliyah, the only way to obtain a passport is by making Aliyah.

  • Can I let my eligibility get checked by the Jewish Agency before gathering all the rest of the required documents?

    You even have to. Only after the Jewish Agency has verified your eligibility, will you know which documents are required in your case.

  • Do you have to be Jewish to make Aliyah?

    According to the Law of Return, a person is eligible to make Aliyah if at least one of the following conditions applies:
    – Jewish (by birth or by a recognized conversion)
    – child or grandchild of a Jew
    – married to an eligible person
    We advise you to fill our eligibility questionnaire so we can advise you about the rights you most probably have.

  • How can I find out whether my conversion is recognized?

    You must open an application file with the Jewish Agency and submit the conversion documents for verification.

  • How do I prove that my grandfather was Jewish?

    The proof is a letter of the Rabbi which must meet strict conditions. More details you can find here. This document cannot be replaced by a ketubah or an evidence that your ancestors were buried in a Jewish cemetery. In some cases, additional documents may corroborate the information in the letter, but do not replace it.

  • I am Jewish, but my spouse is not. Can we both make Aliyah?

    If you are not yet an Israeli citizen, yes.

  • I can't find proof about my Jewish roots, how can I prove that I am Jewish?

    Look for the community or Rabbi who knew your parents and grandparents. Only through the Rabbi’s inquiry will you be able to prove your eligibility. More information on the conditions of that letter you can find here.

  • Is there an intermediate option so that I can live in Israel without making Aliyah?

    If you are eligible for Aliyah, you will also be eligible for a Temporary Resident visa. In this case you must file an application with the Jewish Agency’s Global Center and follow the instructions on the documents and forms to be submitted.

  • Why should I make Aliyah?

    Am Yisrael (the Jewish People) has the privilege to return to the Land of Israel under Jewish rule, after more than 2,000 years living in the Diaspora. Nowadays it’s pretty convenient to make Aliyah and move to Israel, compared to how it was in the beginning of the return to the land of Israel (starting some 140 years ago). It nevertheless requires good preparation and readiness to accept and adjust to a new reality. It’s not easy, but worthwhile. You and your family can spend the rest of your life in the Land of Israel. There are also other aspects and reasons that can be beneficial, such as education, Jewish communities, Jewish culture and business/professionally related considerations. It is important to really want to make Aliyah in order to overcome the first bumps after coming to Israel, we therefore recommend to have a strong ideological base for taking this step.

  • 1Aliyah Process

  • Do I need to pay?

    The Jewish Agency charges a one-time fee for opening the application. The amount differs in each country and depends on the number of family members making Aliyah together.

  • How do I begin my Aliyah process?

    To begin your Aliyah process, you must personally call the Jewish Agency’s Global Center. You will need to answer some preliminary questions and will be informed about your eligibility and about how to proceed. You can find the phone number for your country here.

  • How do I get an apostille on my documents?

    This differs per country. You can find more information on each country here.

  • How do I get my criminal record?

    This differs per country. You can find more information here.

  • How do I make Aliyah?

    Depending on your personal (family) situation, your background and the countries you (and your family members) lived in, you will need to gather a number of documents and get approval on your eligibility for Aliyah from the Jewish Agency for Israel. Click here to check your eligibility, and here to understand more about the whole process and documents.

  • How long does the Aliyah process take?

    The Aliyah process usually lasts between 6 months to 1 year, depending on many factors such as the applicant’s status and the length of time it takes to submit documents. You can find a rough timeline here.

  • I am already in Israel on a tourist visa, how can I make Aliyah?

    You need to call the Jewish Agency or book an appointment at Misrad HaPnim in order to open a Shinui Status file. You will be asked to present several documents and forms. Please mind that you must have all the original documents with you to be able to have an interview. More information on Shinui Status you can find here.

  • I have a pet that I want to bring to Israel, how do I arrange this?

    There are several things to arrange beforehand when making Aliyah with a pet. Your pet has to have a microchip and be vaccinated proven by a serological test. Besides that, there is some paperwork to do. You can find more details here.

  • Which documents do I need to make Aliyah?

    Depending on your background, family situation and countries you have resided in you need different documents. Click here to learn more about the specific documents you need.

  • Which documents require a notarial translation and for which ones does a simple translation suffice?

    Don’t translate any documents unless you are explicitly required to do so. In the majority of the cases the Jewish Agency will do the translations.

  • 2Practical Planning

  • Can I choose my exact date of Aliyah?

    After finishing the entire Aliyah process and having received the visa in your passport, you can talk to the shaliach and together with him schedule your Aliyah date which must happen within 6 months. But please note that you cannot choose the date of the flight before the whole process is done.

  • How do I get all my furniture and belongings to Israel?

    Depending on your original place of residence, several organizations help Olim to pack and move. Please contact us to get personal advise in this matter. In addition to the option of organizations helping out, regular moving companies can help you as well.

  • I will need a car. Is it worth it to ship my car from abroad or is it better to buy one in Israel?

    In the first 3 years after Aliyah, Olim are entitled to import a car with a tax reduction. That shipment does not count as one of the 3 tax-free shipments that Olim are granted. However, importing a car is a complex process. Consider the involved costs and bureaucratic hassle before taking a decision:
    • You will need a large container which can be costly.
    • You need to arrange insurance for when the car is on the ship.
    • You will probably have to pay a shipping agent who takes care of the paperwork and import licenses.
    • When you are in Israel, you will have to convert your driver’s license rather soon in order to get your car released. Depending on your past, this might be just the bureaucratic process of conversion, or will involve lessons and re-testing.
    • You have to be present at the port (either Ashdod or Haifa) to get your car released.
    • Try to find out beforehand whether your car can be serviced in Israel, i.e. that the parts are available and that there are qualified mechanics for it. If your car is not available locally, it will get complicated.

  • My Aliyah date was set, what documents do I need to take with me?

    You need to take all original documents with you in your hand luggage. See our guide explaining everything in detail.

  • What are the things I need to think about when starting to plan my Aliyah?

    Many different things have to be thought off regarding your Aliyah process, the actual move and life in Israel. We created a timeline to give you a general overview.

  • 3First Steps in Israel

  • How do I convert my driver's license?

    If you had a valid driver’s license for at least 5 years immediately preceding your Aliyah, you can convert your license without taking any lessons or tests. In order to convert your foreign driver’s license to an Israeli one, follow the steps explained in this guide.

    Please note that your foreign driver’s license is valid in Israel for only one year. You should therefore convert your license before that first year passes.

  • I don't speak any Hebrew. How do I manage at the beginning?

    Most of the people speak English (and sometimes other languages as well). Nevertheless we advice you to take advantage of your benefit for a free Hebrew course (Ulpan).

  • I make Aliyah alone. Are there any options to settle temporarily and integrate more easily?

    There are Aliyah programs for young Olim (age 18-35) such as Hebrew language courses on Kibbutzim or in cities, preparation for college or graduate studies, guidance for employment and preparation for recruitment into the IDF. To get an idea of programs and costs, click here.

  • What are the first things I need to take care of after arriving to Israel?

    There are a number of things you need to do. First of all you should open a bank account (see our guide here). It is important to have an active bank account in order to be able to continue with the next steps, such as going to Misrad HaKlita (see our guide here), registering at an HMO (see our guide here), choosing an Ulpan or registering your children for school (see our guide here). An overview of the first steps in Israel you can find here.

  • Which health insurance (Kupat Cholim/HMO) should I choose?

    The health insurance that best suits you depends on your personal needs, the needs of your household, the place of residence and other factors. We created a guide with some basic information. If you still need help, please contact us.

  • 4Benefits

  • Am I eligible for financial assistance (Sal Klita)?

    You are most probably eligible for the Sal Klita if you:
    • spent less than 24 (consecutive or cumulative) months in Israel within 3 years prior to your Aliyah
    • spent less than 3 years in Israel within 7 years prior to your Aliyah
    A Katin Chozer gets the Sal Klita only if he spent less than 1 year in Israel prior to the Aliyah (exceptions might be made for recognized study programs).

  • Do I have to pay taxes on my pension from abroad after making Aliyah?

    Olim are exempt from declaring and paying taxes on their pension in the first 10 years after their Aliyah. See also here.

  • For how long do I get financial assistance (Sal Klita)?

    If you are eligible to get Sal Klita, a monthly payment will be transferred to your Israeli bank account for 6 months.

  • For how long is health care free of charge?

    If you don’t have an income, you will get the basic health insurance for free during the first 6 months after Aliyah. If you are unemployed after the first 6 months and receive income support from Misrad HaKlita (Dmei Kiyum), you can get free health care for an additional 6 months. For this you must notify Bituach Leumi.

  • How do I get a free flight ticket when making Aliyah?

    Do not book and pay the flight on your own, since you won’t get a refund. Speak to your shaliach or Jewish Agency office instead and they will arrange it for you.

  • How do I get financial assistance (Sal Klita)?

    The Sal Klita is paid in 6 monthly payments to your Israeli bank account. Olim Chadashim and Ezrachim Olim will get their first portion partly as an initial cash payment upon their arrival at the airport, partly wired to their Israeli bank account. A Katin Chozer or someone who received shinui status won’t receive the first payment at the airport, they get all the payments via bank transfer.

  • How do I receive my benefits?

    In order to receive your benefits, you first need to have an active bank account. How to open a bank account, you can learn here. Once your bank account is active, you can go to Misrad HaKlita. There you will get information about your benefits and status as an Oleh Chadash. After your first visit at Misrad HaKlita you will start receiving the monthly Sal Klita payments.

  • How long is the benefit for a Hebrew Ulpan valid?

    The first Ulpan must be attended within 18 months of your Aliyah. In order to receive full reimbursement, you must attend at least 80% of the lessons. To get a certificate at the end of the course, you must take the final exam. There is an option for a second Ulpan within 10 years of your Aliyah, only one of the two can be a private Ulpan though. For more details click here and/or contact us. Children in grades 1 through 12 can receive additional Hebrew lessons in the first year of Aliyah.

  • How much money do I get as financial assistance (Sal Klita)?

    During the first 6 months, a certain amount of money will be transferred directly to your Israeli bank account. The amount varies based on your age and the number of family members. In order to get an indication, you can calculate the amount you will probably get here. If you are not an Oleh Chadash, but possess a special status (e.g. Ezrach Chozer, Katin Chozer, etc.) your benefits might differ. You can find here more information on the eligibility for benefits.

  • I am already in Israel and want to make Aliyah from here (shinui status). What benefits do I lose?

    The benefits vary based on your status and other factors. If you make Aliyah from within Israel, you will not receive the Aliyah flight ticket, the free SIM card and the taxi from the airport. An overview of the benefits you can find here. Please note that only Misrad HaKlita can give advance ruling on your personal benefits.

  • I am over 55 years old. Are there any absorption options for me?

    There are no absorption programs provided by the Jewish Agency for that age group. But you can get in touch with us for other options tailored to your personal situation.

  • I get an income from abroad. Do I get a tax discount on it?

    If you earn an income (active or passive) abroad, you are probably eligible for tax breaks within the first 10 years of your Aliyah. There might be restrictions if you have lived in Israel prior to Aliyah.

  • I left Israel after having made Aliyah. Do I still have benefits when I return?

    If you left Israel within the first 10 years after your Aliyah, you probably have some benefits left. You can check this with Misrad HaKlita (once you are back in Israel) or by calling and opening a file for Arachat Zakaut with the Jewish Agency.

  • I need a temporary residence when I arrive in Israel. Am I eligible for Merkaz Klita?

    If you are younger than 55, you might be eligible. If you want an absorption in a Merkaz Klita, you need to request it early in the Aliyah process, since the spots are limited. You can do that when filling out the questionnaires from the Aliyah portal.

  • I want to buy property with a mortgage. Is there a discount?

    In the first 15 years, you might be eligible for low interest rates when buying your first own property in Israel. If your spouse owns or owned a property in Israel, you won’t be granted the discount.
    It is in any case recommended to check the interest rates, since some places might give even better rates regardless of the Aliyah benefit.

  • I want to buy property. Are there any tax benefits?

    In order to be eligible to receive the benefit of reduced property purchase tax, you must meet the following conditions:
    • The purchase must be completed within 7 years after Aliyah
    • You must use the property personally, i.e. as your home or as your business
    • The benefit can be used only once for a residential property and once for a commercial property

  • I want to send my child to daycare. Can I get a reduction?

    You might be entitled to a reduction in daycare costs for Maon or Mishpachton in the first 2 years. The Maon or Mishpachton has to be recognized by the Ministry of Economy (Tamat). To check if your Maon or Mishpachton is recognized, click here.
    In order to receive the benefit, each parent must fulfill one of the following criteria:
    • Learning in an Ulpan (minimum 24 weekly hours each)
    • Being registered with Misrad HaKlita or Sherut HaTaasuka as unemployed and seeking a job
    Besides the discount for Olim, an additional reduction can be applied for based on the parents’ income.

  • I want to study at the university. Do I get tuition benefits?

    Based on your age, tuition assistance is available for different study programs if the institution is recognized by the Student Authority:
    • Up to age 23: Mechina (preparatory year course)
    • Up to age 27: BA
    • Up to age 30: MA
    • MA students might get up to 1 year of Hashlamot (prerequisite classes) paid.

    In order to receive the benefit, you must start your studies within the first 3 years after Aliyah. The army and Sherut Leumi are not counted in the 3 years.

  • What are my benefits with regards to income tax?

    There is a tax discount on income earned in Israel in the first 3.5 years after Aliyah. In Israel the tax reduction is determined by a point system. The discount decreases over time as follows:
    • First 1.5 years: 3 points
    • 1.5 – 2.5 years: 2 points
    • 2.5 – 3.5 years: 1 point

  • What are my benefits with regards to rental assistance?

    Starting from the 8th month of your Aliyah, you will get rental assistance for up to 5 years from the date of your Aliyah. The amount depends on your family status and the number of years you have resided in Israel. More information and a table of amounts you can find here (Hebrew only).

  • What are my benefits?

    The benefits vary based on the candidate’s status, the number of family members making Aliyah together and their age. In general, olim chadashim receive the so-called Sal Klita (financial assistance), health insurance for six months, Hebrew ulpan, and various tax benefits. A chronological overview of the benefits including the period of time that they are valid, you can find here.

  • What are the conditions of the customs benefits?

    You can bring 3 shipments of appliances and household goods tax-free to Israel. This benefit applies up to 3 years after Aliyah. Extensions are granted in exceptional cases, such as military service, full-time study or a 6 months absence from Israel. If you are a former A1 temporary resident, you first need to open a file with the Customs Authority in order to clarify your status. Don’t bring in any shipments before you receive that clarification.

  • Where can I get an Israeli SIM card?

    Upon your arrival at the airport, you will get an Israeli SIM card with free minutes to call and internet data allowance. The SIM card is free for 3 months. This gives you enough time to choose your preferred phone company and plan.

  • Which benefits does an Oleh Chadash get when buying a car in Israel?

    You get a small tax discount in the first 3 years after Aliyah. However, consider the following limitations:
    • The discount applies only to buying a brand-new car
    • You are not allowed to sell the car for 5 years (unless you sell it to another Oleh Chadash)
    • Only you and your spouse can drive the car, you can’t add other drivers to the insurance

  • 5Education

  • Do Olim get free university education/courses?

    Specific types of Olim can get discounted, subsidized and/or free courses. Your Klita counselor at Misrad Haklita can give you the precise answers about this, since these depend on your age, status as Oleh and some other factors. A general overview of your benefits can be found here.

  • Does Israel have free education?

    Education and special education for children is free in Israel by the law of “Chok Chinuch Chova” (the law for mandatory education). This law applies to the ages 3-18. Other types of education do charge tuition fees. In some cases these might be (partially) subsidized. You can find some basic information on the educational system here.

  • I am making Aliyah with children at school age. Which school do I need to send them to?

    Each country has its own educational system. The right school depends on many factors, such as the age of your children, your religion (level of observance), the language and more. You can find an overview of the Israeli educational frameworks here.

  • I want to study in a private ulpan. Are they free of charge as well?

    Some private ulpans are fully subsidized, others are not. You need to check this out with the ulpan itself or contact us.

  • Which Ulpan should I go to?

    This really depends on your level of Hebrew, age, family situation and the place of residence, whether you want to go to a boarding program or a morning/afternoon/evening program etc. A guide for ulpan study you can find here. Contact us for personal advice regarding your specific circumstances.

  • 6Rights & Obligations

  • Am I obligated to remain in Israel if I make Aliyah?

    The oleh chadash is not required to remain in Israel for a minimum period of time, but his departure might result in the loss and reduction of some benefits.

  • Can I keep my citizenship(s) when making Aliyah?

    This depends on the country you have your citizenship(s) from. Some countries don’t allow dual citizenships, while others allow even more than two. Israel does allow multiple citizenships. Thus, you have to check the laws of your country of origin. If you need help with this, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Can I leave Israel within the first year of Aliyah?

    There is no prohibition of leaving Israel or a mandatory minimum stay in Israel. However, consider the following consequences when leaving Israel:
    • If you leave Israel in the first 6 months after Aliyah, the Sal-Klita-payments will automatically be frozen upon your departure from Israel and unfrozen as long as you return within the first year of your Aliyah. If however your return exceeds one year after your Aliyah date, you won’t get the Sal Klita-payments anymore and might lose other benefits as well.
    • If you leave Israel within the first year of your Aliyah, there is no issue with Bituach Leumi because your national insurance is part of Misrad HaKlita in the first year. If you want to leave Israel after the first year for a longer period of time, check the consequences with Bituach Leumi.

  • If I am retired when making Aliyah, do I get a pension from Israel?

    Whether you are entitled to an Old-Age pension in Israel depends on several factors. More information you can find here.

  • If I make Aliyah, will I be obliged to do military service?

    Israeli military service is mandatory for certain groups of people, others are waived. To verify your obligation, contact the IDF directly through their website.

  • What can I do in order not to lose my citizenship(s) when making Aliyah if the country I make Aliyah from doesn't allow dual/multiple citizenship?

    The Israeli authorities are aware of the problem that some countries don’t allow dual/multiple citizenship and provide a solution by signing the “waiver to renounce Israeli Citizenship” (Tofes Arli). In practice it means that you don’t get an Israeli passport, but will get a Teudat Zehut and will have all the rights and obligations of an Israeli citizen and Oleh Chadash (besides that you won’t be able to vote in national elections, only in local ones). You do not lose any Aliyah benefits when signing the waiver.

  • Will I get my pension from my country of origin in Israel as well?

    According to the law of most European countries, you can receive the Old-Age pension also in Israel. Check the details with your country of origin or contact us.

  • 7Housing

  • How can I find an apartment/house in Israel?

    There are two large real estate searching platforms (Hebrew only): Yad2 and Madlan. Furthermore, many post their apartments on Facebook in various groups. Contact us for advice tailored to your personal situation and targeted area.

  • I want to settle in Israel. How do I find a suitable community?

    Finding a suitable environment is very important for your integration in Israel. There are numerous options. Contact us and we will try to help you find a solution based on your personal situation.

  • What is direct absorption?

    If you choose direct absorption, you organize the accommodation on your own and are entirely responsible for making all the necessary arrangements. Many Olim temporarily rent an apartment or stay with family and friends upon their arrival.

  • What is structured absorption?

    Structured absorption is an option for people up to 55 years old who want to stay at an absorption center (Merkaz Klita) before deciding where they will live long-term. Olim can stay at the absorption center for up to 6 months at a low rental cost. You can request a spot in the questionnaire in the Aliyah portal and speak about it with your shaliach during the interview. But the actual receipt of a spot depends on the availability of the center.

  • Which absorption options (initial homes) are there?

    When completing the questionnaires in the Aliyah portal, you will be requested to decide for an absorption type, i.e. your initial home. There are several types of absorption, such as direct absorption, structured absorption, Kibbutz (first home in the homeland), etc. Contact us for more information and finding a solution tailored to your personal situation.

  • 8Health

  • I need medications on a regularly basis. How can I ensure to obtain the same medications in Israel?

    We recommend to bring a 3 months supply of your medications with you. This allows you time to arrange appointments and prescriptions in Israel.
    If you want to check whether your medication is included in the basic health plan, click here and type your medication in the search bar.
    There are medications covered by supplemental health plans for up to 50%. For this you need to check the list at each HMO: ClalitMaccabiLeumitMeuhedet.
    Here you can find a price list of drugs marketed in Israel. It shows the full non-subsidized price, including VAT. The price for drugs subsidized by the HMO may be significantly lower.
    You can always contact us with any related question.

  • Is dental care included in the regular health insurance?

    For adults, dental care is not covered by the health basket. There are public and private dental options. However, children up to age 18 are entitled to dental care through their HMO. Teenagers between the age 17-18 are eligible for plaque removal twice a year free of charge.

  • Is it safe to drink tap water in Israel?

    Yes, tap water in Israel is safe to drink. The Ministry of Health even recommends drinking tap water.

  • Which health insurance (Kupat Cholim/HMO) should I choose?

    The health insurance that best suits you depends on your personal needs, the needs of your household, the place of residence and other factors. We created a guide with some basic information. If you still need help, please contact us.

  • 9Our Service

  • Does Shivat Zion also help me with problems when I'm already in Israel?

    Yes, we are here for you to assist with any issue from the moment you think about Aliyah until the moment you settled down in Israel and feel secure. If you have a specific problem you can fill the Trouble shooting form here.

  • How can I contact Shivat Zion?

    Either by WhatsApp, by scheduling a phone call or by email. You can find here all ways to contact us.