Following a historic directive issued 8 December 2016 by the Israeli Attorney General, the immigration rights of legally married same-sex couples will be equal to those of heterosexual couples.
According to the new directive, the Ministry of Interior is expected to issue new or amended regulations, which provide the right of naturalisation in Israel to all married foreign partners regardless of gender. However, same-sex marriages cannot be legally performed in Israel.
Until now, same-sex married partners have been recognised as non-married couples, entitling them to residency rather than citizenship.
The new process will allow a foreign national same-sex married spouse the same rights as a heterosexual spouse, to become a resident after six months and an Israeli Citizen after four and a half years. This will allow the foreign spouse to benefit from the State Health Plan, obtain an Israeli ID and exercise voting rights. During the process, the couple will have to provide evidence of a valid marital relationship, including co-habitation, and that their “centre of life” is in Israel. The couple will be required to re-apply for resident status yearly to the Ministry of Interior. After four and a half years the foreign national spouse will be eligible to apply for Israeli citizenship.