This article is designed to bring clarity and manage expectations for people born in the former Soviet Union and plan to make Aliyah.

Potential Olim who were born in former Soviet countries (and some Eastern European countries) are required to submit additional documentation for approval from Nativ (also known as Lishkat Hakesher, a special branch of the Prime Minister of Israel’s office) in order to complete the Aliyah process.

This process is required for all applicants who were born in the former Soviet Union and immigrated after 1972. (If you immigrated to North America prior to 1972, your approval will still be through the usual channels, Nefesh B’Nefesh and The Jewish Agency if you are making Aliyah from abroad; Misrad Hapnim with the NBN Guided Aliyah department if you are making Aliyah from within Israel.)

Here is a list of countries that are required to undergo this process:

Poland Russia
Hungary Ukraine
Bulgaria Moldova
Romania Belarus
Czech Republic Estonia
Slovakia Lithuania
Croatia Latvia
Serbia Georgia
Montenegro Armenia
Albania Kazakhstan
Slovenia Kyrgyzstan
Macedonia Uzbekistan
Bosnia Herzegovina Tajikistan
Azerbaijan Turkmenistan

This process is known to be overly bureaucratic and will take extra time. It includes presenting original documentation form your county of birth and possibly a personal interview. It is therefore recommended to start this process well in advance of your projected Aliyah date (at least nine months prior). The actual timeframe of approval depends on the documents presented. In some cases, approval can take even longer than nine months.

Advice for Olim making Aliyah from North America

Your NBN Aliyah advisor will be able to advise you throughout this process but it is important to understand that the actual approval process is run through the Jewish Agency who presents your file to Nativ. The application process is in addition to your online application to NBN and the Jewish Agency. The following are the steps you can expect once you have applied online for Aliyah:

  • The Jewish Agency will provide you with an application packet. You must fill this out in Russian and in pen. (If you don’t speak or write Russian, you will need find assistance.)
  • Your application will be submitted to the Jewish Agency along with your original birth certificate (an apostille certification will be needed if your certificate was issued after 1998).
  • The Jewish Agency will present your file to Nativ and inform you of any additional requirements and when the approval is given.
  • At this point, they will also coordinate the return of your original birth certificate.
  • After notification of approval, you can arrange your Aliyah flight with NBN.

For more information or to track your progress with Nativ, please contact the Jewish Agency directly.

Advice for Olim making Aliyah from within Israel

Once you have approval from Nativ, your Aliyah process can be completed through NBN’s Guided Aliyah. To begin you need to fill out our online application and then follow these steps:

  • Go to your local branch of Misrad Hapnim with your passport, original birth certificate, and marital status documentation and request the Nativ Application Packet (also called a “She’elon”).
  • Fill out the questionnaire in Russian and mail it with the pre-addressed envelope.
  • After approximately 3-4 weeks, you will be contacted by Nativ to schedule an interview.
  • At the interview you may be asked to present additional documentation.
  • Once you have had your interview, please inform your NBN Aliyah advisor so our Guided team can continue your Aliyah process.
  • Your Aliyah meeting will be scheduled once NBN has confirmed with Nativ and Misrad Hapnim that you have been approved for Aliyah.

Please note: Nativ approval does not exclude Olim from other requirements of Aliyah from within Israel such as a background check.

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