The Ministry of Interior acts unlawfully when it delays the registration of marriages of Israelis married to foreigners. It is worth knowing: Marriage registration can and should be done on the spot.
For years now, the Ministry of Interior acts according to a procedure which determine that the registration of a “mixed” marriage of an Israeli citizen to a foreign spouse, will not take place immediately at the population bureaus, but will be done only after six months. This is true even if the couple presents a marriage certificate from Israel or abroad that is authentically valid and admissible (for example, by means of an Apostille stamp). During the waiting period, the “personal status” of the Israeli citizen in his or her ID will be changed from “single” to “under examination”.
The delay in registration greatly harms thousands of couples, since registration as a married person in Israel carries with it various benefits, some of which are not given to those who are not registered as "married" in their ID card. For example, there are working places that grant benefits to a married person (and his spouse) only after the presentation of an ID that says "Married". In addition, income tax benefits and government assistance in purchasing an apartment are only given to couples who appear as “married” on their identity card.
Beyond these injuries, the delay itself is contrary to the Population Registry Law, according to which the Population Bureau clerk is not authorized to refuse a request to register a marriage if an addmisible marriage certificate is presented. This is also the High Court of Justice’s stance, as was repeated in many rulings over the years. The delay in registration of "mixed" couples also discriminates them against Israelis couples who suffer no delay and register their marriage on the spot after presenting a marriage certificate. This, whether their marriage was conducted in Israel or abroad.
In 2015 a petition was filed to the Hight Court of Justice against the aforesaid procedure of the Ministry of Interior, written by Adv. Michal Luft (HCJ 3987/15 Gisha v. Ministry of the Interior.) Soon after, the Ministry of Interior changed the unlawful procedure, and shortened the waiting period from six months to three months. In addition, the procedure now stipulates that if the registration clerk receives a valid and admissible marriage certificate, he may register the Israeli citizen as “married” immediately and without waiting. However, in reality, the situation has not changed, and the Registry officers ignore this provision. “Mixed” couples are therefore forced to wait between three to six Months in order to be register as married.
See, for example, the case of Roy and Patrick, which was reported about in an article on the website "Mako" on 26.9.2017 (Hebrew) and read Adv. Michal Luft’s interview therein.
The petition is still pending, but until it reaches a final ruling, it is worth knowing that even according to the current procedure, marriage registration can be done on the spot after presenting an admissible marriage certificate. It is important to insist on immediate registration with the registry clerk. If the clerk refuses, it is possible to take legal action which in many cases succeed in leading to a quick registration. It is also possible to wait three months, but we recommend not to wait longer than that, and insist on registration at the end of this period.
If you wish to receive assistance in the registration of marriages in Israel and, generally, in matters relating to registration in the population registry and to acquisition of civil status in Israel, contact our office today.
Link to the revised procedure:
Link to articles on the subject: