Applicants for Aliyah who were born in former Soviet countries (and some Eastern European countries), after January 1, 1990, 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 emigrated after January 1, 1990.

Those required to go through the process with Nativ/Lishkat Hakesher should expect that the approval time will take longer than average. This process is known to be overly bureaucratic. It includes presenting original documentation from your country of origin which supports your Jewish lineage, 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 for approval depends on the documents presented. In some cases, approval can take even longer than nine months.

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

  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Moldova
  • Belarus
  • Estonia
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Armenia
  • Uzbekistan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Georgia
  • Tajikistan
  • Azerbaijan
  • Turkmenistan

In some specific cases, you may not need to be processed by Nativ.

The following categories of people making Aliyah from North America will likely not go through Nativ, but rather have their Aliyah processed 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):

  • You left the Former Soviet Union prior to January 1, 1990
  • You were a minor who left the FSU with your parents more than 25 years ago
  • You were born in the West to parents who emigrated from the FSU

In all of the above cases, you will be required to submit the standard documents in support of your Aliyah application, with some minor modifications as described below.

If you are exempt from the Nativ process, your Aliyah process will be more similar to those have no background in the FSU. You will be required to present all of your civil documents (birth, marriage, divorce, death, as applicable) with apostilles (international authentications) from the country that issued them. You will also be required to submit documentation proving your residency in the West from the qualifying date (either before January 1, 1990; 25 or more years ago as a minor; or your birth in the case of having been born in the West).The Jewish Agency recommends that you first submit a letter to them from a rabbi that knows you to be Jewish and born to Jewish parents. The letter should indicate how the rabbi knows you and how s/he knows your family to be Jewish as well as describe your connection to the Jewish community in your city of residence. Once this letter has been approved by the Jewish Agency as sufficient proof of your Jewish lineage, the Jewish Agency will confirm that you are exempt from the Nativ process and you should proceed with obtaining apostilles on your civil documents.

Advice for Olim making Aliyah from North America through Nativ/Lishkat Hakesher:

Your NBN Aliyah Advisor will be able to guide you throughout this process, but it is important to understand that the actual approval process is managed through the Jewish Agency, who presents your file to Nativ. The Nativ 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 to find assistance from friends or family. Neither NBN nor the Jewish Agency can assist with the completion of this form.)
  • Once you are directed to do so by the Jewish Agency, you will send your original birth certificate, and any other documents requested to support your Jewish lineage, to the Jewish Agency office in Israel. All of your documents will be returned to you once they have been reviewed.
  • The Jewish Agency will present your file to Nativ and inform you of any additional requirements, as well as when the approval is given.
  • 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 through Nativ/Lishkat Hakesher:

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.
  • You will then be contacted by Nativ to schedule an interview.
  • You may be asked to have your documents translated into Hebrew or English and the translation notarized. Apostilles may also be required when making Aliyah from inside Israel.
  • 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 team can continue assisting with your Aliyah process.
  • Your meeting with Misrad Hapnim to complete your Aliyah will be scheduled once NBN has confirmed with Nativ and Misrad Hapnim that you have been approved for Aliyah.

For more information email [email protected]

Note: Nativ approval does not exempt Olim from other requirements of Aliyah, such as a background check. It is a second level of review and does not in and of itself complete the approval process for Aliyah.

* Last updated on March 2, 2023 *

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