Suzanna and Khalid were able to submit an application in the summer of 2018 through their lawyer. They had to provide numerous certified and apostilled3 documents, along with pictures of the wedding and contact information for Suzanna’s immediate family members. Suzanna also had to supply the names and contact information of any friends from the Arab world. The couple has spent hundreds of euros and thousands of Israeli shekels on the various documents they have had to provide, including birth certificates, a marriage contract, a document confirming Suzanna’s unmarried status before her marriage to Khalid, and a document clearing Suzanna of any criminal history. Many of those documents had to be translated into English or Hebrew.
When the couple submitted their application, Khalid had an interview with ministry officials. They asked him simple questions about the couple’s relationship, such as how they met, how they handle the fact that Suzanna didn’t convert to Islam, whether Suzanna’s family has a problem with Khalid being Muslim, and whether Khalid visited her family. Two facts helped Suzanna and Khalid in this process: They have a long-established relationship that began in Jerusalem, so it is easy to verify; and Suzanna is known to the Ministry of Interior, because she once had a diplomatic passport when she worked in Jerusalem.
While their lawyer has made the process simpler for them, they still fear things going wrong when they go to the ministry on their own. Typically, their lawyer doesn’t go with them when they need to renew Suzanna’s visa; he just calls ahead of their visit to make sure things are in order.
During one of those visits, they didn’t see the manager they usually dealt with. The staff person who worked with them went back to square one, asking questions about their relationship and where they met, requesting a new document, and claiming that she needed to investigate their case before reissuing Suzanna’s visa. Luckily for them, someone in the office created a scene at that moment, so the staff person quickly renewed Suzanna’s visa so they could leave. Later, Khalid told their lawyer what had transpired, and the lawyer said there was no need for that document; in his view, the staff person was only trying to complicate the matter unnecessarily.