Monday, July 12, 2010

Visa Blessings from an Internet Angel

As I am sitting here, taking a much needed break from filling out tiny boxes on countless pieces of paper, making endless phone calls, harassing government officials and deciphering the demands of the Israeli government, I marvel at the implausible blessings we’ve been given during this process. But I guess all blessings are unbelievable and surprising at the time.

As in a previous post, I told you I don’t believe in signs…but sometimes it is really hard not to. We’ve always said the reason we’re moving now and haven’t before is because it seems like today…right at this moment…all roads lead to Israel. Windows open when doors slam shut. New roads open up when dead ends block our way. Blessings are given when we feel like giving up.

I got another one in the form of an internet angel this weekend.

Getting me a visa to enter Israel has been a long and draining process. We are never given the answers we’re looking for and when we do, we are usually pointed in the wrong direction anyway. I have been warned before that the Ministry of Interior is quite conservative. They really don’t like dealing with intermarriages and seemingly make life a bit more difficult for non-Jewish spouses of Israelis.

DH and I were told last week that all I needed to get my B1 visa was to show up at the Ministry of Interior with my passport and marriage certificate once we arrived in Israel. That seemed too easy. It wasn’t possible that it was that easy and that made us even more uneasy. Then my angel arrived, out of the internet abyss and handed me a key to the madness.

As you can imagine, there are not too many interfaith families immigrating to the Jewish State. The Jewish Agency and Nefesh B’Nefesh who are helping my husband make aliyah don’t really know how to handle my situation, so they try their best, but end up with as many questions as we have. My angel came in the form of a fellow international blogger, the author of From 外人 to גוי, who is a non-Jewish gal married to an Israeli guy trying to figure out the maze of Israeli immigration (check out her blog…it’s insightful, well-written and has some amazing photos and videos).

Apparently, as I had anticipated, I don’t just have to show up with my passport and marriage certificate to get my visa. Apparently, as I had anticipated, there are quite a few hoops to jump through before I even step foot on that plane leaving August 31.

Here’s the list of items one will need to get a visa and/or permanent residency from the State of Israel. It’s a little more than a passport and marriage certificate I’d say.

1) Apostilled background check, “Letter of Good Conduct”, with both maiden and married names from the FBI/State Police (You need to be fingerprinted at your local police station.)

2) Apostilled proof of being single from State of Residence and State of Marriage (this document doesn’t exist some states, but the state of Alabama CAN get you one)

3) Apostilled marriage certificate

4) Original birth certificate (if before 1989, no need to order certified and apostilled copy)

5) Passport, plus photocopy of front page and tourist visa

6) Two passport pictures, Israeli size (slightly smaller than American versions)

7) Evidence of shared bank accounts

8) Letter in Hebrew explaining how we met, signed and dated by us

8) Evidence of financial support while in Israel, signed by Israeli lawyer

10) Copy of Israeli apartment deed, signed by Israeli lawyer

11) Signed affidavits in Hebrew with contact info from three Israeli friends vouching for validity of marriage

12) Photos from before, during, and after wedding as evidence of valid relationship

I'm off to get fingerprinted, apostilled, notarized, stamped, copied, signed and checked.  Wish me luck.


  1. Oh my goodness! I am so glad you found someone to walk through this process with you! That is such a complicated list of itmes to get! I wish you all the best with that! I'll be praying for you!

  2. Thanks Jen. We're just plugging'll get done soon though!

  3. good luck, i have been through a similar process - though as an unmarried partner. I did the whole process here in Israel, and it was surprisingly easy - i didn't have to do any finger printing, but did all the apostilling and stuff.