WHO CAN MAKE ALIYAH
A quick word here of who can make Aliyah from outside of Israel: Any Jew can make Aliyah. What is a Jew? A Jew (for purposes of Aliyah) is someone who was born to a Jewish mother, or someone who has converted (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform) or any person who has at least one Jewish grandparent. Non-Jewish spouses and children and spouses of children are also allowed to make Aliyah. Remember there is a burden of proof of Jewishness, a letter from a Rabbi. This is only a very short summary here, for more information contact your Shaliach from the Jewish Agency. Also, the definition of who is a Jew for purposes of Aliyah is different from the Orthodox definition which is much more stringent.
FORMS FROM THE JEWISH AGENCY
Forms, forms, and more forms. There are forms, which include both your and your whole family, and then each family member has their own forms. Actually once you get started it isn’t all that bad, it’s just getting that initial momentum going. The Aliyah Shaliach from the Jewish Agency will send you everything you will need to fill out with a list of Documents that also need to be supplied. If you don't yet have an Aliyah Shilach then you need to back up a step and get one. This was covered in Aliyah For Dummies - Step 1. You can find the Jewish Agency Aliyah office nearest you by looking on the following web page. http://www.nbn.org.il/planning/shlichim_list.htm.
The first page of the forms is Oleh Chadash – Aliyah Checklist which is very helpful. Remember that Oleh means immigrant (olim is plural) and Chadash means new (Olim Chadashim is plural for New Immigrants). Use it, as it will help keep you a little more organized. Print a checklist for each person in your family. For some family members there will be items on the checklist they won’t have to do so just cross those items out. You also need other documentation including: Passport size photos of each person making Aliyah, including children; Photocopies of passports including all pages with stamps for entering and exiting Israel in the past 7 years; Copy of Civil Marriage/Divorce/Birth Certificates; and proof of Judaism which needs to be a letter from a Rabbi on Synagogue letterhead.
The Aliyah Questionnaire covers the head of the household, spouse and minor children. Children age 18 and older need to fill out their own Aliyah Questionnaire. This is basic information like name, passport number, date of birth, religious affiliation and so on. Attach passport pictures to the space provided on page two of the questionnaire.
The Entry-Exit Form is pretty self-explanatory. It is documenting each entry into Israel in the past seven years along with the dates. You can find the dates on the stamps in your passport then you will have to calculate the number of days, months, or years you were in Israel on each trip.
Waiver of Confidentiality essentially gives the Jewish Agency the right to medical information and government information that may have a bearing on your Aliyah for you, your spouse, and your children. Each adult needs to sign one of these. On the bottom there is a place for notarization however notarization is not required at this time.
The Health Declaration is very basic health information. If you take any medication you will need to make a list of what you are taking, dosage, and purpose. If you have any disabilities or long term illness you might want to include a doctor’s summary when you submit your papers. Basically they are checking for communicable diseases and other serious diseases or disabilities for which you may need special care.
The Oleh Declaration has two sections. The first section makes you aware of the four types of visas you can have to enter the country. Your Aliyah Shaliach will help explain these if you have any questions. The second section is a declaration that you have not resided previously in Israel or, if you have, it gives space for the pertinent information on dates, visa, identity number and so on. Each adult candidate needs to include two of these.
Finally we come to the Visa Application. This is pretty straightforward. If something doesn’t apply to your situation then leave it blank. There is one spot that is slightly confusing. Lines 10 and 11 refer to your passport. Line 10 is the passport number and line 11 is, in this order, where the passport was issued, the date it was issued, and the date it expires. If you read it from right to left it makes more sense than if you try to read it from left to right. Yes, it is in English but is thought out in Hebrew. Each Oleh needs to submit two copies of the completed Visa Application.
The cost for processing comes out to $50 per person.
Good, now you have everything signed, sometimes two signatures on the same page, dated, and ready to put in the mail. It is highly recommended that you make at least one copy of everything and two copies would be better. While you are making copies it is a very wise idea to make several copies of your passport to be kept in different places. If you ever loose your passport the copy will help in getting it replaced.