Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting my Visa

There are several ways new immigrants can come into Israel.  Most of them make "aliya" - that means, they are coming in to become a citizen.  Any Jew, from anywhere in the world, has the right to do this.  A non-Jew still can, but I expect it is not nearly as straight forward. (Anyone know or care to share via comment?)

As an expat coming into Israel who is not Jewish and not making aliya, I ordinarily would not be granted a work permit (B1), just a visitors permit (B2).  A B1 Visa is a temporary work permit - good for up to 24 consecutive months, but requiring renewal after 12. 

As the wife of an Israeli, I get to go through what they call the step-by-step process for gaining a B1 Visa which will allow me to work.  I came in on the B2 tourist visa (good for 90 days).  I have an interview this Sunday, August 1st, to review all the paperwork we've gathered.  This includes bank statements, pay stubs, photos, certified copies of birth and wedding docs, US police clearance (yes, I had to get finger-printed before I left - never done that before!), signed letters from Israelis who know us, our Tel Aviv apartment lease, passports, utilities statements, Tel Aviv city tax statement, Dan's Israeli ID that shows he is married, letter from Ford explaining why we are here, and more.   If the office decides it's enough (even the lawyers are kept guessing about what "enough" is), we get to actually be interviewed in separate rooms to prove the story of our relationship checks out.  Once we pass this, they may issue the B1 Visa to me on the spot, or it may take a while longer.  So, I could have it by end of August, or not until October, because everything shuts down for a couple weeks in September for the high holidays here.

Once I get my B1, I have to show up in person to renew it each year.  If our assignment gets extended to 5 years, I will have the right to become a citizen.

In the meantime, check out my Tel Aviv resident card:

1 comment:

  1. Success! After waiting for our 10:15 appointment and finally getting to the desk around 11:30am, we sat down and went through the documentation with the clerk. We were warned that while we'd gather everything they usually ask for, the clerks will ask for different documents each time. This time they decided that my birth certificate, police clearance, and marriage certificate wasn't enough. They want a statement of my status before marriage (government proof I wasn't previously married or married at the time, and that I have no children.) Despite this additional request (one we're not sure how to even fill, but we'll start by scheduling an appointment with the US Embassy here), they issued me a 6 month B1 work visa on the spot. The lawyer was surprised, as she rarely sees that. But obviously we're a straight-forward case. So in November we'll schedule a follow-up appointment to go in with the additional documentation and get the 1 year renewal.

    I can now work, so if you know anyone who needs an American in Israel, let me know!