This post is relevant for international couples where the foreign partner is residing in Israel with a visa that they got unrelated to their relationship. Usually, foreigners who reside in Israel prior to the relationship will have a B1 restricted work visa (caregiving, construction, agriculture, expert) or an A2 student visa.
What happens to my current visa once I apply for a partner visa?
Unfortunately, there is some contradicting information about pre-existing visas in the partner visa procedures (incl. in 5.2.0008, 5.2.0009, and 5.2.0011). The contradiction is originating in two clauses:
- Restriction to have two parallel applications for different visas
All procedures mention that an applicant cannot have two parallel visa applications open and that they must choose one course and close the other. This means that if you submitted an application for a restricted work visa, for a student visa, or for any other visa (with the exception of refugee, Aliyah, or conversion applications), and at the same time you applied for a partner visa, you must choose only 1 application and close the other.
Because of this clause, PIBA often tends to force people to give up their existing visa, when applying for the partner visa (they give a B/2 tourist visa instead). In our opinion, this clause only refers to a situation where a status was still not granted, i.e. when the parallel applications are still being processed. In this case – PIBA won’t process both of them and you need to decide on one.
- Existing visas/permits will be extended
This is a clause that appears later in the procedure, which kind of contradicts the first one, or more correctly, contradicts what PIBA does in the name of the first clause.
According to this clause, for an applicant that has a valid visa at the time of application for the partner visa, PIBA should extend the existing visa until they reach a decision about the partner visa application.
The clause is general, and after it, they give information about specific conditions and exceptions:
- B/1 caregiving visa who is currently working – the B/1 will be extended upon submitting a written approval from the employer, saying that he/she is aware of the partner visa application and that he/she agrees to keep employing the foreigner
- B/1 caregiving visa who isn’t working – If there is a valid B/1 visa but the foreigner is not working anymore, the B/1 will not be extended and it will be degraded to a B/2 visa.
- Previous partner visa – in case the foreigner still holds a valid visa they got from a previous gradual process, the visa will be canceled according to procedure 5.2.0017, and they will be granted a B/2 visa until a decision is made in the current application.
What if my current visa expires soon / expired?
In case your visa expires soon, and you are planning to submit an application for a partner visa together with your Israeli partner, you should do so before your visa expires. After applying, you will have to go to PIBA as soon as possible to settle your status, before your current visa expires. In most cases, you will be granted a B/2 visa (considering that you weren’t eligible for a renewal of your existing visa).
In case your visa already expired, it means you are staying in Israel illegally. After applying for a partner visa, legally you cannot be deported until a decision is made in your partner visa application. However, the fact that you stayed in Israel illegally in itself might cause complications in your partner visa application, as for PIBA this would mean you have a history of violating immigration laws, and they might see your partner visa application as a “last resort” to stay in Israel.
We highly advise you to not reach a situation where you stay in Israel without a valid visa. Obviously, if your visa was extended automatically and you just don’t have the valid sticker, that’s ok.