Shivat Zion

FAQ | Frequently Asked Questions


In order to qualify for making Aliyah, you must meet at least one of the following conditions:

  1. you are Jewish (born to a Jewish mother or converted to Judaism by a Rabbinical Court recognized by the State of Israel), or
  2. you have a Jewish father or grandfather, or
  3. you are married to an eligible person, or
  4. you are widowed by a Jewish person

In addition, you must meet the following conditions:

  • 5. you do not to pose a risk to the national security of Israel
  • 6. you do not to pose a risk to the public health

Are you still in doubt? Click here to get more information.

If you are not yet an Israeli citizen, yes.

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.

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

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

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.

Who qualifies for the status of Toshav Chozer and what you must do when returning to Israel, is explained in this guide.

If you are eligible for Aliyah but you are not sure if it is the best option for you, the Ministry of the Interior offers the possibility of temporary residence (A1 visa). See our guide here.

If you are eligible for Aliyah, you are also eligible for the A1 visa.

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.

Aliyah Process

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 start your Aliyah, and here to understand more about the whole process and documents.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

The passport is valid for the period specified therein. The police clearance must not be older than 6 months. The other documents (such as marriage, birth, death certificates, etc.) do not have an expiration date. As long as they are apostilled, they are valid. Note that the proof of Judaism might be valid for only one year, depending on the verification and requirements of the Jewish Agency and Misrad HaPnim.

You need to submit both documents - the marriage certificate as well as the divorce certificate - each of them with apostille.

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.

Please see the following tutorial clips on how to use the Jewish Agency portal. To learn how to register, click here. To learn how to fill out the questionnaires and pay the fee, click here.

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.

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.

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.

It usually takes about 3-6 months.

Making Aliyah from within Israel (shinui status) is usually faster.

The process of making Aliyah from abroad is different from implementing shinui status (Aliyah from within Israel). If you have begun the Aliyah process abroad, you will be able to use the already submitted documents. However, there are a number of additional forms to fill out. You must call the Jewish Agency and open a file for shinui status. The process of shinui status is explained in this guide.

The A1 visa is valid for 1 year and can be renewed annually. Having an A1 visa does not oblige you to serve in the army. Neither does it entitle you to receive the benefits of new immigrants (such as Sal Klita, discounts, ulpan, health insurance, etc.). Furthermore, the A1 visa holder does not receive an Israeli passport and must arrange private health insurance for his stay in Israel.

If you are abroad, contact the Jewish Agency's Global Center. Find the phone number for your country here. If you are in Israel, make an appointment with the Ministry of the Interior in your city.

See our guide for the entire list of documents you must submit.

Practical Planning

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.

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.

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.

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

There is no exact answer, since it depends on the specific flight, but usually Olim can travel with 2 checked suitcases (2 x 23kg) per person.

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.

First Steps in 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.

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.

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.

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).

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.


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.

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.

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).

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Yes, but they do get a significant discount. See more details about benefits in general here.

There is a tax discount on income earned in Israel in the first 3.5-4.5 years after Aliyah. In Israel the tax reduction is determined by a point system. 
The discount changes over time as follows:
Olim who came on Aliyah after 1.1.2022 receive tax discounts for 4.5 years from the date of Aliyah:

First 1 year: 1 point 

1 – 2.5 years: 3 points 

2.5 – 3.5 years: 2 points 

3.5 – 4.5 years: 1 point 

Olim who came on Aliyah before 1.1.2022 receive tax discounts for 3.5 years from the date of Aliyah:

First 1.5 years: 3 points 

1.5 – 2.5 years: 2 points 

2.5 – 3.5 years: 1 point

New Olim or returning Israelis who have resided abroad for at least 10 full years (and for whom the center of life was abroad during those years), receive 10 years of tax concessions and benefits. For a period of 10 years, eligible new Olim and returning residents are exempt from tax on all income that originates outside Israel. The exemption covers all passive income, such as interest, dividends, allowances, royalties and rent from properties. Income, whether derived from the realization of assets and investments abroad or from current passive income abroad, is tax-exempt. See also here.

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

If you earn a passive income 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.

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 10 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

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

New Olim who want to either import a car themselves or buy it through a car dealer (importer) are exempt from Purchase Tax (מס קנייה) but must pay Import Tariffs (מכס) of 50% + VAT (17%). Please note: The discount is on the taxes only, not on the price of the car itself! The VAT is paid for the value of the car + the Import Tariffs. So if a car costs NIS 100,000 the Import Tariffs are NIS 50,000 and VAT of 17% is charged for NIS 150,000 = NIS 25,500. The total paid tax would be the Tariffs + VAT = 75,500, making the price of the car NIS 175,500. More information can be found here. So all in all, unlike regular Israelis, as an Oleh you pay taxes of ca. 75% of the car's value. These percentages are not exact, but serve as an approximate point of reference. The exact discount can be determined by an official car dealership only.

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.

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.

We advise you to first check here if you meet the criteria of a Toshav Chozer. In order to determine what benefits you are entitled to, you must apply for your first year of the so-called adaption benefits by filling out this form. Please be aware that an Israeli bank account is required in order to receive financial assistance.

You start to lose some of the Aliyah benefits if you stay in Israel for:

  • more than 2 cumulative years in the last 3 years, or
  • more than 3 years in the last 7 years


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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Rights & Obligations

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. Especially if he leaves Israel within the first year of his Aliyah, he may have to pay back benefits which he received.

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.

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.

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.

No, until your Aliyah is finalized you are not allowed to work. However, when applying for shinui status at Misrad HaPnim you can also apply for a temporary work permit.

To verify your obligation, contact the IDF Meitav Overseas Recruitment Department for instructions, via whatsapp at +972-52-945-8579, email, or phone at +972-3-7387080

Religious women can get an exemption from army service. Until the exemption (ptor) from the army is actually in your hands, you must follow all the instructions of the army. Married women are automatically exempt from IDF service.

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

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.

It depends. According to Israeli law, all Israeli citizens between the ages of 18-21 are required to be enlisted into the IDF. If you fall within this age group, are healthy, and are unmarried, then you may be drafted.
If you are between 22-27 years old, you are exempt from serving but can choose to volunteer for service. Olim (immigrants) who are 28 years old and above do not need to serve and cannot volunteer for service.
Important Note: There are some exceptions to the rule above. Olim may be drafted despite being officially overage, for example, if they received a deferment or postponed their service until finishing their academic studies. It's also possible that people who made Aliyah after having an A1 Visa for a few years will be drafted despite being overage.

In general, the duration of service for Olim in this age group (as of June 2020) depends on the age of Aliyah, personal status, and state of health. See the following chart for details.

In general, Olim who are 22-27 years old upon arrival in Israel are exempt from service, but they can choose to volunteer for 18 months. Olim who are 28 years old and above are dismissed from service and cannot volunteer to serve.

This is IDF lingo for a candidate that is draftable to the IDF by Israeli law.

It depends. Certain pre-existing medical conditions may lead to service exemption. The IDF decides whether to draft you based on your preliminary health screening at your First Summons (Tzav Rishon). At this time, you will receive a numeric value referred to as your “profile number.” A service candidate with a numeric profile value of 21 or 24 is dismissed from service. Learn more about the IDF profile number.

The IDF will give you a Hebrew test during your First Summons (Tzav Rishon). Depending on your results, you may be sent to a 3-month Hebrew Ulpan course at Michva Alon base (the IDF’s education division base).
It is advisable to study well in the Ulpan.
This may be your key to successful integration into the IDF – and perhaps into Israeli society altogether. Hebrew can open doors for you, both professionally and personally, within the IDF and outside of it, so it’s worth the effort to learn the language as best you can before your active service.

The IDF Ulpan begins after your official drafting. You will go to the Ulpan in uniform, and the 3-month Ulpan course is considered part of your official service.

No. The IDF understands that new Olim need some time to adapt to living in Israel. Therefore, Olim are only officially required to enlist 1 year after their Aliyah date.

Yes, you can enlist before your 1-year adaptation period is over. However, it’s good to know that the IDF runs Ulpan courses only 3 times a year: July-August, November-December, and March-April (the IDF decides on the exact dates).
If you wish to learn Hebrew in the army Ulpan – and we suggest you do – then try to get your draft date arranged accordingly.
If you wish to enlist within your first year of Aliya, contact the IDF Meitav Overseas Recruitment Department for instructions, via WhatsApp at +972-52-945-8579, email, or phone at +972-3-7387080.

No, pregnant women and mothers of children are exempt from serving in the IDF.

The (medical) profile is a number assigned to each potential recruit that reflects their physical and mental fitness for serving in the IDF. It is determined during a person's First Summons to the IDF (Tzav Rishon) and affects the type of role and duties they will have in the military.
Click here for more information on IDF medical profile numbers.

Yes. Doctors/dentists who make Aliyah have a different status regarding the duration of military service. There is also a differentiation between male and female doctors/dentists. For more details, click here.

Yes, but there are special stipulations for your case. See here for more details.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

We suggest selecting at least one program up from the most basic program. There is an increase in price, however, from our experience, the return on the increase is worth it. This is the best way to ensure better quality - and less expensive healthcare if the need arises - down the line. This is also the suggestion to non-Olim Israelis.

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.

You will find extensive updated information about healthcare in Israel here.

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.

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

Our Service

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.

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