Protocol 5.2.0008 Update: Utah “Zoom Weddings” To Be Treated Same As Other Proxy Marriages

Protocol 5.2.0008 that determines the treatment of applications for status based on marriage to an Israeli citizen, was updated last week. The update to the protocol (which was quite significant) comes as a follow-up to the big update of the corresponding protocol 5.2.0009 that occurred a few months ago, in which the procedures of the online application were added.

The updated procedure 5.2.0008 specifies the rules and instructions of the online application as we already know them, and also states clearly that a renewal application (of an existing status) will also be submitted through the same online application, at least 3 months in advance before the expiry of the existing status. This clause (that exists in proceudre 5.2.0009 as well), puts a rare timeframe limit on PIBA – stating that a renewal meeting must occur at within 3 months of the renewal application (i.e. before the status expires).

With this update, both procedures are brought up-to-date and reflect partner visa procedures as we know them today.

The “news” of the update is the mention of “Utah marriages” in clause ה.2 sub-clause 5 ג (page 11). This clause says that Utah (USA) marriages and El Salvador marriages that happened while at least one of the sides was staying in Israel, will be treated in accordance with procedure 5.2.0009, which gives them a “lesser value” and a timeframe similar to that of non-married couples.

Update July 16th 2023 – the relevant section has been removed from the procedure. Stay tuned for updates.

According to procedure 5.2.0009, those marriages will result in a gradual process that looks like this:

2 years B1 > 4 years A5 > permanent residency > option to apply for citizenship

whereas for married couples who married in a non-proxy marriage, the gradual process looks like this:

Up to 6 months B1 (outside of the gradual process) > 4 years A5 > Choice between permanent residency and citizenship.

As you can see, there is a significant difference in treatment of a proxy marriage versus an in-person marriage, in the procedures for getting a status in Israel.

This addition to the protocol comes as a response to the recent supreme court ruling regarding the validity of “zoom marriages” for registrational purposes. As we said back then, the court only ruled about the registrational value of such marriages and determined that they will be registered like any other marriage. But the court did not rule on the value of such marriages in the fundamental sense, for example for the purpose of obtaining status in Israel.

The distinction that PIBA made between Utah marriages and in-person marriages was the be expected, as the same procedure was already applied years ago to El Salvador proxy marriages.

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Adv. Lior Beres
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