For those wanting to do Sherut Leumi on a volunteer visa (B/4), you need 4 documents that prove your Aliyah eligibility (אישור זכאות).
Please note: Once you start Sherut Leumi on a volunteer visa, you can NOT switch visa types, including changing to an Oleh visa, until you have completed the 12 months of Sherut.
- Valid passport
- Proof of Judaism
- Birth certificate, apostilled
- Background check, apostilled
You can find more details about these documents here: https://www.nbn.org.il/documents-you-need/ (These are the same documents needed to make Aliyah).
- Copy of the main page of your passport (with your picture), as well as any additional pages that indicate date extensions or name changes.
- Your passport must be valid for at least one year.
- If one or both of your parents held Israeli citizenship at the time of your birth, you are considered, by the State of Israel, an Israeli citizen and therefore you must obtain an Israeli passport if you do not already have one. Then, you do NOT need to do this entire process and should contact your Rakezet, to do Sherut with Israeli citizenship and not as an Oleh.
Proof of Judaism
Acceptable Proof of Judaism (POJ) is a letter from a recognized synagogue Rabbi from a Rabbinical Organization in North America, confirming how the Rabbi knows you and stating that you are Jewish and born to a Jewish mother.
(This letter cannot be from a family member, who is a rabbi.)
- The letter must be in English or Hebrew.
- The letter must appear on official synagogue letterhead.
- It must state the name, location, and telephone number of the congregation, and include your full legal name (as appears on your passport) and your parents’ legal names.
- The letter must bear the Rabbi’s signature, and the Rabbi’s name and title should appear on the letterhead.
- The letter must show the date it was written and must be from within the past year.
- If you converted to Judaism, you will be required to submit different documentation proving your completion of the conversion process. Contact us at [email protected] for further instructions.
- The signature from the Rabbi must be in ink (best in blue or other color ink, and preferably not black). A digital signature is insufficient.
- Click on the following hyperlink for a Sample Proof of Judaism
Birth certificate – authenticated
- Please submit a copy of your original birth certificate (issued from the country in which you were born).
- Your full name and both parents’ names must be listed on the birth certificate. You will need to obtain a long-form birth certificate if your birth certificate does not include your parents’ names.
- For those who are U.S. citizens born outside of the U.S., please note that a Consular Report of Birth Abroad is not sufficient.
- If the birth certificate is in a language other than English or Hebrew, please submit a copy of a notarized translation into English or Hebrew along with a copy of the original certificate.
- Hospital-issued birth certificates are not sufficient.
- If the name on your passport does not match your birth certificate, please contact us at [email protected]
The birth certificate must be authenticated. Click on the following link to learn about apostille (authentication) certification: https://www.nbn.org.il/making-aliyah/the-aliyah-process/apostilles-authentication-of-documents/
Background check – Authenticated criminal background checks are required regardless of where you are from.
- Background checks are valid for only 6 months from their issue date.
- Olim must present a background check for every country they lived in from the age of 14 for one year or more.
- Should you need information about obtaining police background checks from other countries other than the U.S. or Canada, please search online.
US applicants need to submit an FBI background check with a federal apostille (issued in Washington DC).
For those in Israel: Contact NBN to do the fingerprinting and have the background check sent to be apostilled. Cost: 700 NIS, plus $18 paid directly when filling out the FBI form.
Timeline: turnaround is currently 13-15 weeks, and this expires after 6 months. So, if you plan on making Aliyah from overseas in August and are currently in Israel – do this step in mid-March.
- Send an email to: [email protected]
- In the email include your full name, and that you need the FBI background check for Sherut Leumi.
- Please state explicitly if you need the apostilled background check sent to your US address and include the address. Otherwise, the document will come to our Jerusalem office, and you will need to pick it up from there. This currently takes 13-15 weeks.
- You will receive an email to set up the date and time for this, and instructions for payment.
To acquire a background check in the US: You can use a channeling company. An apostille will still be required. The cost is approximately $80-$120 and should take between 4-6 weeks. This can only be done only if you are in the US.
- You can find a local channeling company by searching Google for “FBI Channeler + your local zip code.”
- A list of approved channeling companies can be found here.
- Once you have the background check, which you will receive in digital PDF format 24-48 hours after you submit your fingerprints, you will then need to get an apostille attached to it.
- The PDF background check is recognized as original and can be sent via email to the Office of Authentications or any apostille agency to attach an apostille.
- At the moment, it takes up to twelve weeks to get an apostille from the Federal Government. Using an apostille service will not make the process faster and is considerably more expensive.
- Click here to learn how to request an apostille by mail directly from the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Authentications.
Canadian Olim need to submit a “Certified Criminal Record Check”
- Information about this can be found here.
- Processing time and fee information can be found here. It takes between 3-120 days and costs $25 CAN. This is a federal fee and is in addition to fees charged by the local police or accredited fingerprint company. For a list of private accredited fingerprinting companies, click here.
- The “Certified Criminal Record Check” will need to have Israeli consular approval attached to it. For information about getting your authenticated Canadian document recognized by the Israeli embassy, click here.
Additional Steps Needed:
In order to begin your Sherut, in addition to the volunteer B/2 visa, you will need to:
- Open a bank account in Israel. This will be a foreign resident account and you will need to show your passport to open this account. This is the account where your various Sherut Leumi payments will be deposited monthly, as well as the account where you will receive your after-Sherut benefits such as Ma’anak and Pikadon. See Sherut Leumi benefits.
- Be sure to keep the account active for a minimum of 5 years post-service, to receive the various benefits.
- Bring a small amount of cash when opening the account, to deposit and activate the account.
- Arrange for private health care in Israel. There are many options, and you can find some listings here: Healthcare options. Scroll to the end of the article. Additional options such as Harel are also available.
If you do decide to make Aliyah, please note that if you are under the age of 22, the Army may still draft you. In this case, you can apply for a religious Ptor (exemption) from the Army.
Where to present the documents?
Once you have all the documents in your hand, contact your Sherut Leumi Rakezet, to let her know that you have them. Your Rakezet will assist you and put you in touch with your Amuta contact, to arrange an appointment at Misrad Hapnim, Ramat Gan branch, visa (Ashrot) department, once you are here.
It is important to verify when the Misrad Hapnim office will be open for appointments, as it is often closed at the end of August.
Still have questions? Please contact us at: [email protected]
* Last updated on April 17, 2023 *