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Frequently Asked Questions

The Application Process | Applying Online | Aliyah Rights & Benefits | Israeli Documentation | Health Coverage | Communities & Schools | Finding a HomeFinancial Planning | Studying Hebrew | Employment

The Application Process

I recently decided that I want to make Aliyah. What is the next step? Congratulations on your decision! If you are interested in starting the Aliyah process from the US or Canada, please feel free to visit our website and fill out our one-stop-shop online application. This application allows prospective Olim to apply for Nefesh B’Nefesh services AND Aliyah approval from The Jewish Agency for Israel in one application. If you are making Aliyah from the UK, you need to open a Tik Aliyah (Aliyah File) through your local Israel Aliyah Center. For a listing of local Aliyah representatives, see our Directory of Shlichim. If you are already living in Israel as a tourist, feel free to look into our Guided Aliyah Program, or visit our website to learn more about how to make Aliyah through Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of the Interior).

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How far in advance of my Aliyah do I need to submit an application? We recommend that you submit an application about six months prior to your Aliyah. To begin your online application click here.

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I submitted my application. When will I hear back from Nefesh B'Nefesh? Soon after the Nefesh B'Nefesh office receives your application, you will receive an email indicating whether there are any missing components or additional documents that are necessary in order to complete and process your application. Once we receive all of the necessary components, the review process generally takes four to six weeks. Note: If the process is extended due to external factors, we will be in touch with you to let you know.

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Am I eligible for financial aid? Financial aid is awarded to individuals or families based on financial need, adequacy of Aliyah preparation, and likelihood of success. Applicants who are assessed to have sufficient funds for Aliyah, or who do not have a viable Aliyah plan, will not be awarded financial aid. If you are not sure whether your net worth exceeds our eligibility criteria, please contact Liz Bernstein, NBN Director of PreAliyah, directly via email at liz@nbn.org.il before beginning the application process. Your correspondence is completely confidential and you will receive a response within 48 hours.

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Is the online application available to everyone? No. At the moment, the online application is only available to those making Aliyah from the US, Canada and the UK. Any individual who is making Aliyah from within Israel must download an application and fill out the paper version.

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The summer deadline has passed, but I have not completed my application. What should I do? Primacy for funding goes to those who apply to Nefesh B'Nefesh by the initial deadline. Nevertheless, we encourage you to send in your documentation as soon as possible and complete your application. We will do our best to review your application and get back to you in a timely manner.

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I have been approved for Aliyah by the Jewish Agency. Do I need to submit The Jewish Agency for Israel documents that are requested on the online application? The joint Nefesh B'Nefesh- Jewish Agency online application is designed for those who have not opened an Aliyah file with the Jewish Agency. To this end, you will be requested to submit documents for both Nefesh B'Nefesh and The Jewish Agency. Since you have already been approved for Aliyah, there is no need for you to submit all the documentation you submitted to the Aliyah office; however, there are a number of documents that we will need copies of. Once you have completed the online application, you will receive a missing components e-mail, detailing what documents are missing from your application. This e-mail will take into consideration the documents you have already submitted to The Jewish Agency (please be sure to indicate that you have been approved for Aliyah on the appropriate section of the online application).

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Should I open a bank account when I come to Israel on my pilot trip? Will it save time in receiving funding from the Government (Sal Klita)? You can open a bank account when you are in Israel on your pilot trip, but you will need to open a tourist account. Once you make Aliyah, you can then switch over your tourist account to an Israeli account. There is no significant advantage in doing this prior to your Aliyah, as you will receive your first Sal Klita payment in cash at the airport. Once you receive your Teudat Zehut (Israeli ID booklet), you will have time to open your bank account, then provide Misrad Haklita (Ministry of Absorption) with your bank account details. Misrad Haklita will deposit your subsequent Sal Klita payments over a period of 6 months.

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I completed the paper application. Now that the online application is available, should I fill it out online? No. The online application was designed as an alternative to the paper application, for those who prefer the online experience. There is no reason to complete the application again if you have already finished it. Since the paper application does not have a list of required documents at the end of the application, you will be requested to submit additional documents once we process your application.

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I want to make Aliyah this summer from the US or Canada. Do I need to open an Aliyah file with the Jewish Agency? If you are making Aliyah from the US or Canada, the joint Nefesh B'Nefesh and The Jewish Agency for Israel online application replaces the need to open an Aliyah file. You will be required to attend a meeting with a Jewish Agency Shaliach where you will asked to present your original documents and ask any questions that you may have.  Please Note: If you are making Aliyah from the UK, you must open an Aliyah file with your Aliyah Shaliach (representative). For contact information for your local Aliyah Shaliach, see our Directory of Shlichim.  

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Applying Online

My password is not working. I can’t log into my application! You can create a new password by going to the login page (dag.nbn.org.il), and clicking the link on the bottom where it says “Forgot your password? Retrieve it now!” This takes you to a page where you can enter the email address used to register for the application) and click to reset the password. You will receive a new, randomly generated password by email. Please note that this will immediately disable any previous passwords for your file, so be sure to only click once. Once you have logged in again, you can reset the password to one of your choosing. Please also note that if another family member is also logging into this application, they may have reset the password, so make sure to communicate with them whenever you change it.

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I never received an email with a new password. Please check your spam folder. If you still can't find the email, write to appsupport@nbn.org.il and we will do our best to help you.

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I can’t go to the next page. The button is grayed out. You can’t go forward until all the required fields have been filled out.

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The text is cut off/blown up, and I can’t see or click the parts of the screen that I need. This is probably an issue with your screen resolution. You can try adjusting it on your computer, or you can adjust the zoom in the browser by holding the Ctrl button and pressing the “+” and “-“ keys.

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I finished my application a long time ago, and I still haven’t heard anything from NBN. Please check to make sure that you pressed the “Final Submit” button on your application. Only when this is done, can the application be fully submitted. When you’ve pressed the “Final Submit” button, you will immediately receive a confirmation email (check your spam folder if you don’t receive it). Please also note that once the application is submitted, it can take up to 2-3 weeks for our Applications Department to initially review it. They will then send you an email with a link to your personal application webpage, where you can review any components that are still missing in your file as well up upload documents to your application.

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Where do I find the forms that I need?
You can download the forms that you need from personal application webpage by clicking on the icon associated with that item.

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I need to upload more than one file for one of my documents. How do I do that? Click on the ‘upload’ button next to the document that you are looking to upload, click ‘browse’ to choose the file and then click ‘upload file’. If you need to attach another document for the same item, simply repeat.

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The application says that this field is required, but I don’t know what to write here. If you aren’t able to answer a particular question, or there are details that need to be explained at greater length, you can email the information to the applications department at a later date, once you receive confirmation that your application was received and processed. In order to move forward on the application, write "Needs further explanation" as your temporary answer.

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No matter what I do, this application just doesn’t work! Why do I have to go through this? If you find it easier, you can fill out a paper application instead of the online one. From the Applications Page on our website you can download the application (as a .pdf file) and print it; or you can call our Pre-Aliyah Advisory team at 866-4-ALIYAH and we’ll email you a copy.

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The issue I’m having is not on this list -- OR -- I did what you told me to do, and it didn’t work. In that case, please email appsupport@nbn.org.il and we will do our best to help you.

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Aliyah Rights & Benefits

What are my benefits as an Oleh? The Israeli government provides new Olim with many benefits. For details, see Oleh Rights.

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I'm 18 and I'm making Aliyah with my family. Do I have my own Aliyah benefits? If you are between the ages of 17 and 21 and you are making Aliyah with your parents (i.e., within the same 12 month period), you will lose certain Aliyah benefits. For details see Benefits for "Ben Olim"

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My parents are Israeli. Do I have any Aliyah benefits? To find out whether you are eligible for Aliyah rights and benefits, see Differences Between Ezrach Oleh & Katin Chozer.

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I'm 19 years old and I'm making Aliyah. Will I need to serve in the army? See Military Service for Men and Military Service for Women. In general, most new Olim who are 19 years of age, do serve in the army; some serve longer than others. For more information about service for men, please see: http://www.aka.idf.il/giyus/general/?CatID=58461&DocID=64403. For information about Garin Tzabar, please see http://www.israelscouts.org/siteDisplay.php.

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I have been living in Israel for 3 years. Do I have any Oleh benefits? Yes, you are entitled to certain Aliyah benefits, with some exceptions. Please see Benefits Affected by Previous Stays in Israel.

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I made Aliyah 6 months ago and I am unemployed. Am I entitled to unemployment benefits? Yes. Please see Unemployment in the First Year. If you made Aliyah over 12 months ago, you are not entitled to regular unemployment benefits, but you may be eligible for income support (Havtachat Hachnasa) through Bituach Leumi. Please visit your local branch of Bituach Leumi to find out if you are eligible.

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Israeli Documentation

I have to go back to the U.S. for a visit, right after I make Aliyah. Am I allowed to leave the country? Yes, you can travel right after making Aliyah, but you must have a Teudat Maavar (Travel Document). See Traveling Abroad as a New Oleh.

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How do I obtain an Israeli driver's license?  See Obtaining a Driver's License.

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Health Coverage

Are there any preconditions for acceptance to Kupat Cholim (public health clinics)? Everyone has a right to basic Kupat Cholim coverage. However, extended coverage policies are also available; and these extended policies have limitations. For more information about Kupot Cholim, see Health Care Overview and Kupot Cholim. Note: Each extended coverage policy has different regulations.

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I'm currently taking certain medications. What Israeli medication is available and equivalent to the American medication that I'm using? It is extremely important to clarify whether your medications are available and covered, for your specific condition, before you complete your plans for Aliyah. Even if your medications ARE covered, be sure to bring a two to three month supply of medications with you when you make Aliyah.

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Are there mental health services available through the Kupat Cholim system?  It is possible to receive short-term mental health treatment through the Kupot.  More commonly, however, these services are accessed through the Tachana L’Briut HaNefesh (public psychological services), Misrad Harevacha (welfare services), non-profit clinics and private mental healthcare providers. The Social Services Department can help with referrals. For more information, email postaliyah@nbn.org.il.

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Communities and Schools

I need some guidance in identifying a suitable community. See our online Communities Guide for detailed information about communities throughout Israel. Contact information for each community is provided, as well as descriptions of housing options, local schools, cost of living, employment opportunities, etc.  For more specific information not covered in the Guide, be in touch with communities@nbn.org.il.

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How do I go about finding the best Israeli school for my child? For an overview of the school system, see Finding Schools for your Children: An Introduction  which includes the NBN Schools Database, where you will find profiles of almost 200 schools throughout the country. For additional information, write to education@nbn.org.il.

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Finding a Home

How will I find a place to live in Israel?  To begin with, we generally recommend that Olim rent, rather than buy, during their first year in Israel. This gives them the opportunity to make sure that they really find the right community for themselves before making a major financial commitment.  Rentals can often be found on local community listservs, including http://www.janglo.net/ (Jerusalem) and groups.yahoo.com/group/taanglo (Tel Aviv), and on apartment hunting sites, including www.homeless.co.il, www.flathunting.com, and www.madas.co.il. Some Olim choose to begin their lives in Israel at an Absorption Center.  For more information about Absorption Centers, please contact your Aliyah Shaliach.

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Financial Planning

Will my assets and income from outside of Israel be taxed by the Israeli government, and vice versa? On January 1, 2009, a new tax law went into effect granting new Olim a ten year exemption from paying taxes on foreign earned passive and active income. This exemption does not apply to someone who is working in Israel for a foreign company. For details, see: Income Tax Guidelines and Tax Law for New Olim and Returning Residents

While these articles provide general guidelines on the subject, we recommend that you consult with an accountant about your individual circumstances. A listing can be found on the AACI web site at http://www.aaci.org.il/articlenav.php?id=30. If you need additional assistance, write to employment@nbn.org.il.

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Studying Hebrew

Is there an Ulpan offered in my community? For a comprehensive listing of Ulpan options, please see our Ulpan Guide. For information about Hebrew language resources (other than Ulpan), please see Hebrew Language Resources. Additional courses and programs are listed on the NBN Business Directory.

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Employment

I'm worried about finding employment in Israel. I'm not sure how to go about looking for a job. Employment is the most common and pressing concern for most Olim. To help get you started with the job hunt, see our online article entitled Starting the Employment Search that outlines how to go about looking for work in your field. Our site also contains detailed information about a wide range of professions in Israel. For additional information as well as to find out about current job openings and professional contacts, please email our employment department directly at: employment@nbn.org.il.  If you are currently living in the U.S., Canada or the U.K.: To find out when NBN will next be in your area and to set up an appointment with an employment counselor, please see our Calendar of Overseas Events.

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I'm a health services professional. How do I become licensed in Israel? The licensing process for each medical profession is different. See our online articles about each medical field on the Employment Index. For questions that are not covered on our web site, please see the Misrad Habriut (Ministry of Health) site at www.health.gov.il or email Lizi Martin, the NBN liaison to Misrad Habriut at lizi@nbn.org.il. In addition, Nefesh B'Nefesh runs a special seminar geared towards medical professionals once a year, in the New York and London areas. Details of the seminar will be posted on our Calendar of Overseas Events. If you are a physician, you should start the process of having your specialty recognized, even before you make Aliyah by contacting the Moatzah HaMadait (Scientific Council). For details, see Physicians.

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I do not speak Hebrew. I'm making Aliyah in 6 months. Will I find a job? Practically all jobs in Israel require some level of Hebrew fluency, so if your Hebrew is weak, it is a good idea to start studying Hebrew before you arrive. Strong Hebrew skills broaden the range and type of job opportunities that will be available to you. There are excellent resources available even while you are overseas, including local Ulpanim in the U.S., Canada and the UK, Israeli Ulpan teachers who will work with you by phone and Internet, and a variety of language-learning programs that are available online or on CD. For a full listing of Hebrew resources, see Hebrew Language Resources. To read the recommendations of other Olim, see Survey of Educational Resources. After you arrive in Israel as a new Oleh, you will be eligible for a free 5 month Ulpan course. For details about different Ulpan courses in Israel, see the Ulpan Guide.

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How much money does it cost to live in Israel? For a sample budget see our online guide Aliyah Budget for a Family,  Aliyah Budget for Seniors and Aliyah Budget for Singles. Keep in mind, however, that expenses vary greatly depending on your personal lifestyle. It is important to speak to people in Israel who share your background and lifestyle. Ask them to share information about their monthly expenses. Plan a pilot trip in which you can meet with individuals or families and gain a better sense of what expenses you can expect, given your personal needs and background. Keep in mind that once you arrive as a new Oleh, it generally takes about 6 to 9 months to find a job in Israel, so budget ahead of time in order to support yourself during this transitional period.

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I want to open a business when I arrive in Israel. How do I do this? For information about running a business in Israel, see Running a Small Business in Israel. This article describes the various resources that are available to help you get your business going. In addition, be in touch with the Employment Department at rachel@nbn.org.il to receive contacts and further information. Finally, you will probably want to consult with an accountant. You can find accountants listed on the NBN Business Directory. For an additional listing, please see the AACI website.

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What type of salary can I expect to make in Israel? As in any country, there is a huge range of salaries in Israel depending on your field and professional background. Before you make Aliyah, speak to as many professional colleagues as possible to find out what type of salary you can expect. For names of contacts, write to employment@nbn.org.il. If you are in the hi-tech field, a salary survey is available at www.cji.co.il. There are other salary surveys available in Hebrew. Keep in mind that your first job might not be your dream job, but it will provide you with Israeli work experience and a source of income. Once you have that first job and have been working in Israel for several months, you can start looking around at a less pressurized pace and target a more ideal position.

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How do I find professional contacts in my field? If you have friends and relatives in Israel, it is likely that they will know other professionals in your field. In addition, the Internet is an excellent source of identifying the names of colleagues. For example, for listings of companies, institutions and organizations in a wide range of fields, see Israel's Science and Technology Home Page. (On this site, the names and personal email addresses of contacts are frequently listed.) Linked In (www.linkedin.com) is also an invaluable networking tool which can connect you with other professionals in the corporate world. Many people successfully identify contacts using www.google.co.il. For additional information about Internet resources, see Employment Resources.

Once you've identified the names of colleagues, be in touch with them directly by email by sending a focused, brief letter and attaching your resume. Explain that you are planning your Aliyah and you'd like advice regarding the types of opportunities that are available. Keep in mind that each person who you connect with, should be able to give you the names of 5 additional contacts. In many cases, it is not productive to ask specifically about job openings, since most Israeli employers will not consider hiring you until after you arrive as a new Oleh. If you need assistance tracking down professional contacts, write to employment@nbn.org.il. For more information about getting started with your job hunt, see Networking and Starting the Employment Search .

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I'm a student and I have not yet decided what to major in. I plan on making Aliyah and I’m wondering what fields are good in Israel? If you're not sure what direction you see yourself taking professionally, see our online article entitled Choosing a Career. For some basic information about a wide number of jobs in Israel, see Recommended Professions: A Guide for Students. If you have further questions, please be in touch with the NBN Employment Department at: employment@nbn.org.il for a personalized consultation.

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Is it better to go to college here in Israel, or to make Aliyah with a degree from abroad? If you are planning on making Aliyah and building a career in Israel, there are many advantages to pursuing a degree in an Israeli university. In certain professions (nursing, for example), it pays to study in Israel because foreign-trained professionals must go through a lengthy licensing process after Aliyah, before they can practice. In other professions, (law, for example) it is worth training in Israel because you will have more options for specialization open to you. For further information, please see Going to College in Israel. For a listing of university options in Israel, please see Higher Education.

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I plan on telecommuting. I have several clients who I can work with remotely after making Aliyah. How will the taxation work? Speak with an accountant who has knowledge of the Israeli tax system as well as a background in foreign tax law. You can find accountants listed on the NBN Business Directory.

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I heard that one pays over 60% income tax... To calculate the amount of income tax that you will pay on your Israeli salary, check out the Hilan Tax Calculator (Hebrew language site). See also: Income Tax Guidelines.