The marriage bureau combines three two functions in one place:
1) Administrative: The bureau operates under the auspices of—and thus represents—the Ministry of Interior and Population Registry in order to register those getting married as well as verify of the status of the bride or groom.
2) Verification: The bureau also represents the legal authorities, the rabbinate, and the Ministry of Religion. As such, it is within the marriage bureau’s jurisdiction to ensure that no marriage is being carried out contrary to the law or tradition. This function is linked to the traditional character of marriage in the State of Israel.
The procedure for marriage registration with the local rabbinate in Israel is relatively simple, and generally quick. At times, as in any government institution, you may encounter lapses of the bureaucratic system, such as inefficiency or computer problems. Try to be patient and understanding in case there is a delay.
Take note: Upon registration, you will be asked to fill out a form regarding the family name you wish to take after the marriage.
For Israeli residents
When and Where?
In accordance with a decision of the Chief Rabbinate’s Council, a marriage file (tik nissuin) can now be opened more than 90 days before the wedding (as opposed to the previous requirement to within 90 days of the wedding), but must be opened no later than 45 days before the wedding. At the same time, do not wait for the last moment, which will prevent unnecessary stress should you need to provide further documentation or verify your Jewish status. If a marriage file has already been opened for either of you with another partner, you must cancel the earlier file at the marriage office at which it was opened before you can proceed to register and open a new file.
If you are fluent in Hebrew you are welcome to try our new application that compares and rates all of the marriage registration offices in Israel.
You can open your file in the Marriage registration office of any city. Try to choose the office which is most convenient for you and for those who will be coming to testify for you. If either of your parents were married through one of these offices, the registration process there will be easier. Similarly, try to give preference to a local rabbinate over a municipal one. Temporarily you may be asked by some of the marriage offices, if you are not residents of the region in which you are registering, to provide a certificate proving their unmarried status. This certificate is received at the marriage office of your registered residence.
Click here to view a Hebrew list of Marriage Registration offices.
Who Has to be There?
Both the bride and the groom must be present to open a marriage file. Only in certain, unusual cases will one partner (and when necessary, even another relative) be permitted—with the authorization of the rabbinate and power of attorney—to open a file on his or her own. The other partner will be required to appear separately, at a later date, to sign various forms. Witnesses can testify to your unmarried status at a later point, even without your presence. Only one of you must appear in order to complete the file and receive your ketubah.
In some of the Rabbinate offices you will be asked to arrive with one of your parents for the registration (e.g. Tel-Aviv).
How to Dress?
Since the people you will meet at the rabbinate office are generally religious people and rabbinic figures, try to show respect and dress appropriately. Since you are dealing with a public body, you are entitled to receive service no matter how you dress, but you will be treated with greater respect if you show respect through your dress.
What is Done at Registration
During the first meeting, the couple pays a fee for opening a marriage file, presents documentation, and signs a statement of intent to be married. The marriage registrar opens a file for them and gives them a file number. He will write the date of the wedding in the file, ask the bride to have a short talk with a woman in the rabbinate regarding the wedding date, and ask the couple about the officiating rabbi. About a week before the wedding, and after all the documentation has been presented and all the personal details have been verified, the couple is asked to go to the rabbinate and receive the Ketubah that will be used in the marriage ceremony.
What to bring?
To open a marriage file, you must provide a set of documents that clarify your personal status. Make sure to bring originals (not copies) of all the necessary documents with you. All your personal information will remain confidential. Note: When you come to register, you will be expected to know what date you are planning for your wedding!
Identification Documents and Fees:
1. Identity cards from the bride and the groom
2. 3 passport photos of the bride and of the groom
3. Marriage certificate and ketubah from both sets of parents
4. 600 NIS (Students, yeshiva pupils, soldiers in regular service, National Service personnel, new immigrants and persons on welfare are entitled to a discount of up to 40%.)
5. Certificate of Proof of Unmarried Status*: Unmarried people who are not residents of the region in which they are registering must provide a certificate of their unmarried status. If one of the spouse’s parents (or both) are not married or have married abroad, they may need be asked to go through a process of “Hayter Nisuin” or “Birur Ya’hadut” at a local Rabbinical court.
*Certificate of Proof of Unmarried Status
Unmarried people who are not residents of the region in which they are registering must provide a certificate proving their unmarried status. This certificate is received at the marriage office of your registered residence. To obtain it, you must appear personally at the office and bring the following:
Identity card with an updated addendum, two passport photos, marriage certificate or ketubah of your parents (except if the parents were registered for marriage at the same office), a fee of 135 NIS (as of June 2002), and two witnesses.
Witnesses: You must present two witnesses that can testify to your unmarried status. These witnesses may come with you at the opening of the wedding file or at a later time convenient for them. The goal of the testimony is to ascertain that you are indeed unmarried and Jewish. To this end, the rabbinate officials will ask the witnesses various questions about you and your families. Witnesses should be over 18-years of age who have known you well and know identifying details about you such as the names and occupations of your parents and siblings, addresses of past residences, your occupation and so forth. The witnesses may not be your relatives or related to each other. One witness may serve for both the bride and groom. The witnesses should arrive with their identity cards and the number of your marriage file.
If you have special status (e.g. immigrant, tourist, divorcee, widow(er), convert), bring the relevant documents.
For those about to enter a second marriage, you must bring documents related to your previous marriage:
A divorcee has to provide documentation of the divorce from the Bet Din. If the divorce took place outside of Israel, confirmation by an Israeli divorce court is also required. If the designated bride is divorced, converted, released from a levirate marriage, or has a non-Jewish father, the groom is required to bring confirmation that he is not a Kohen. Such a confirmation can be obtained from a rabbi who knows you or your family according to the instructions of the marriage office.
A widow(er) has to bring an original death certificate of the previous spouse. If the certificate is from outside Israel, it has to be certified by a rabbinical court. Verify that your marital status is updated in the addendum to your identity card.
Certification of Jewish Status
Every immigrant to Israel must demonstrate at the time of marriage registration proof of their Jewish status. Certification of Jewish status can be obtained from the local rabbi (if there is no doubt about Jewish status) or from the local rabbinical court (if verification and authentication of certain documents is necessary), for a fee. The length of time this process will take depends on who is doing the investigation, where it is taking place, and the nature of the documents in your possession. In the process, the Jewishness of the mother of the individual is checked, using the documents that you have presented (original birth certificates of the person in question, his mother and grandmother, his parents’ or grandparents’ marriage certificate or ketubah, or any other documents which indicate Jewish lineage) and through discussion with the mother and/or maternal grandmother. Old family photos of religious ceremonies, family graves with Jewish symbols, etc. can also be offered as evidence. If you have relatives on your mother’s side, in Israel or abroad, who are recognized as Jews, representatives of the Rabbinate should be informed so that they can be interviewed.
Generally, immigrants from Western countries provide certification of Jewish status from authorized Orthodox rabbis. The rabbinate maintains a list of authorized rabbis. For those who did not grow up in Orthodox settings, the certification of Jewish status can be a difficult process.
The following documents can be submitted at the first visit to the Rabbinate:
If the couple is not interested in a rabbi from the local Rabbinate, they are requested to submit for approval the rabbi they choose to officiate the wedding. This rabbi must be recognized by the local rabbinate to perform weddings. If he is registered in a different area, he may be able to resolve this himself.
A Kashrut certificate for the food that will be served at the wedding if the wedding takes place in a place that serves food. Should the chuppah takes place in a separate location from the celebration or if the wedding takes place in a private home, then the rabbinate will not be interested in the food. Take note: The rabbinate will not permit having the wedding at a venue that is opened on Shabbat, even if the food that is served is Kosher.
Ishur Hadrachat Kallah: The rabbinate requests a letter stating the bride had studied the Jewish laws of family purity and ritual immersion (mikveh). In some rabbinates, this is also requested of the groom.
If the bride is pregnant, the groom will have to submit a testament regarding his fatherhood from a local Beit Din.
If the bride is a convert, Chalutza or Chalala (a person born from a forbidden relationship between a Kohen and a woman) or a daughter to a non-Jewish father, the groom must bring a letter from a recognized rabbi stating that he is not a Kohen. Sometimes the two witnesses that testify your unmarried status will be enough.
If you are caught in this process, contact us: 1-700-500-507.