Success stories

Fayez Qwaider

In 2012, Fayez Qwaider, a permanent resident  of Jerusalem, married a woman from Nablus and brought her to live with him in Jerusalem. Two years later, the couple had a baby boy.

However, according to the consolidated version of the ‘Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law’ (5763-2003), a resident of the region who marries a resident or citizen of Israel must apply for family unification to stay in Jerusalem with his or her spouse.   The Law alsoallows for children under the age of 14 who are born to a parent who is acitizen / resident of Israel, to receive the same status as this parent. For Fayez’s wife and son to legally reside with him in Jerusalem, he must tosubmit a family unification request on behalf of his wife, and an application for his son to be included in Israel’s population registry with the Israeli Ministry of Interior (MoI).

Prior to filing these documents, Fayezconsulted the Community Action Center(CAC) and admitted that he was afraid of divulging information about his wife’s place of residence, as she was illegally living with him in Jerusalem,making him fearful that his wife’s lack of status and permit would result in her deportation or incarceration. CACadvised him to tell the MoI that his wife and son are indeed living with him in Jerusalem, so as not to deny his request based on the center-of-life condition.

Fayez, still fearful, ignored CAC’s advice and told the MoI that his wife and son live in Nablus. One month later, his request was denied because,according to the MoI, his wife and son had not maintained a center-of-life in Jerusalem for two years prior to submitting the application.  Thus, Fayez’s son, Fuad, would not be eligible for permanent residence in Jerusalem, and his wife would not beeligible to receive the child support subsidies.  

According to the law, a proper hearing session must precede such a rejection – but this was not granted to Fayez. CAC issued an appeal on this basis, arguing that the 10-word statement signed by Fayez, alone, was not sufficient for a rejection. The MoIthengranted Fayez a hearing, during which CAC asserted that the statement “my wife and son are living in Nablus” is abstract, as the definition of the word “living” is too ambiguous.CAC stated that Fayez’s wife and son were “living” in Nablus for a short period of time, but that their permanent place of residence had been in Jerusalem for two years prior to the date that the application was filed. The attorney furnished evidence in support of this claim. The MoI’s rejection, solely based on a vague, short statement, and without a proper hearing, displayed prejudice and is against the due process afforded to him by law.

Following this hearing, the MoI partially accepted Fayez’s request by granting his son an A/5 Visa, or temporary residency, for two years before granting him permanent residency. The Visa entitles the child to all the social rights to which permanent residents are entitled – among them social security and national health benefits – but it must be renewed annually under stringent examinations. This decision was illegal, as the attorney proved that all the conditions for permanent status were fulfilled.

CAC appealed this decision in court,where it again proved that Fayez’s spouse and son’s center-of-life had been in Jerusalem preceding the submission of his requests. Fayez’s son was then granted permanent residency status, and the court ordered the MoI to reimburse CAC with 2,000 NIS for Fayez’s legal fees.Following our request, Fayez’s Family Unification Application was also accepted, allowing his wife to legally reside in Jerusalem with her husband and son.

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