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The Complications of Registering an Apartment

on a Foreign Passport

Congratulations, you have decided to buy an apartment in Israel. Hopefully, you will benefit greatly from this investment and this purchase will yield you good returns in every way.

But wait. If you are a foreign resident (and not an Israeli citizen) there could be possible complications that may arise in the way that you will register your apartment.

In Israel, the ownership of apartments is registered in the Land Registry and Settlement of Rights Office (TABU), or through other relevant registration venues. This is accomplished by noting the seller's and the buyer's name(s), identity number(s) and type of identity document(s) (Israeli ID document or Foreign Passport). This article discusses the registration of an apartment using a foreign passport.


An apartment that is registered elsewhere, as in an authorized housing company (Chevra Meshakenet) or/and in the Israel Lands Administration, is not discussed in this article, although the following discussion might also be relevant to these and other registration venues.


What is the situation when an Israeli citizen registers his/her rights using an Israeli Identity Document?

The procedure for an Israeli citizen who uses his/her Israeli identity number as it appears in this citizen's identity document (teudat zehut) is usually simple. his/her Israel identity number never changes throughout his/her lifetime and this number is registered in all documents pertaining to the sale.


What is the situation when a foreign resident registers his/her rights using a Passport Number?

Usually the rights of those who are foreign residents (and not Israeli citizens) are registered according to their foreign passport number. However, a person's passport number changes when his document is periodically renewed. This will create a problem when proving ownership or transferring real estate rights, as the seller's new passport number will not match the previous passport number that is listed in the TABU. Presenting your expired passport will not solve the problem, as the TABU will only accept a valid and current identity document (e.g. a valid passport)

We do not recommend registering your apartment using your Social Security Number (SSN). Although a SSN has the similar benefit of not changing, but be aware, SSN's are at risk to possible identity theft as they are unprotected. This is a risk that is not worth taking.

Let me suggest some basic recommendations:

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