Birth and Bituach Leumi
For non-Israeli citizens who intend to live and start a family in Israel, it is important to register for Bituach Leumi as soon as possible. Bituach Leumi pays for health insurance, which covers doctor’s visits throughout pregnancy and beyond. More importantly, it is Bituach Leumi – not kupat cholim – that pays for hospitalization following a birth. If you need to see a doctor before you register for Bituach Leumi, explore different insurance options. Most kupot cholim (healthcare providers) offer different plans in which you can pay privately monthly or per doctor’s visit.
Israeli citizens or children of Israeli citizens who have not established residency in Israel and therefore do not have Bituach Leumi coverage will be requested to pay for the birth out of pocket. For clarification, please contact Chaim V’Chessed.
Registering at the Hospital
Before giving birth, you’ll need to register in the hospital that you plan to use.
If you have a teudat zehut, you can register in one of three ways:
- Go to the hospital with both spouses’ teudot zehut and register in the kabalat leidah office.
- Call the hospital of choice and they will fax you a registration form that you must complete and bring or fax to them together with copies of both spouses’ teudot zehut.
- Register online. Some hospitals require that you scan the teudot zehut and send the image with the registration form. Others allow you to bring the teudot zehut along to the birth.
An Israeli woman whose husband does not have a teudat zehut must follow the instructions below for visa holders.
If you are a visa holder, you will need to first register at the hospital, then arrange for payment for the birth by Bituach Leumi. Some hospitals will arrange this on your behalf, see below.
You can register in most hospitals Sunday through Thursday during working hours.
Registration in Bikur Cholim and Shaare Zedek
You can register in person, online or by fax.
For Shaare Zedek or Bikur Cholim’s form, call 02-666-6491.
When registering in person, bring along both spouses’ passports.
Please note: If you did not register in person, both spouses will have to present the hospital with their original passports after the birth in order to receive a temporary birth certificate from the hospital.
You can register in the Bikur Cholim hospital to give birth at Shaare Zedek and vice versa.
Registration in Hadassah Ein Kerem and Hadassah Har Tzofim
Visa holders can register at the hospital and obtain the Bituach Leumi form via fax. To begin the process, use the following contact information:
- Hadassah Ein Kerem: 02-677-6490 ext. 8
- Hadassah Har Tzofim: 02-584-4381 ext. 2 then ext 4
For further guidance on navigating birth in the Hadassah hospitals, you can reach Tamara Boretzky or another English-speaking volunteer at 050-894-6695.
The Bituach Leumi payment request form must be given to Bituach Leumi, along with copies of both spouses’ passports and Bituach Leumi numbers, in your ninth month.
Generally, Shaarei Zedek, Bikur Cholim and Har Hatzofim will usually send the form to Bituach Leumi on your behalf.
When using Hadassah Ein Kerem, you have to give the form to Bituach Leumi yourself.
This can be done either via the mother’s online account or by leaving the form in the drop box outside the Ben Shetach branch in Jerusalem. Bituach Leumi will process the form and send it back to the hospital.
In case of emergency (e.g. premature delivery), registration can be done upon arrival at the hospital and Bituach Leumi may be taken care of after birth. You will need to bring along a postdated check for the birth in this case.
Birth Registration Before Bituach Leumi Acceptance
If you are a visa holder and are not on Bituach Leumi at the time of the birth, it is not necessary to pre-register at the hospital as the hospital cannot get pre-approval from Bituach Leumi that they are paying for the birth.
If you hold a valid A-category visa but do not yet have Bituach Leumi when registering at the hospital, Bituach Leumi will pay for the birth retroactively once you enroll as long as you have both a valid student visa and kupat cholim at the time of birth (see below).
You will need to give the hospital a postdated check for the cost of the hospital stay, which the hospital will not cash if they receive payment from Bituach Leumi in time. Make sure to specify when giving in the check that it is a check pikadon, not a check dachui. A check dachui is a check that is cashed automatically at the date specified on the check. Take care of Bituach Leumi before the date on your check. If need be, you can try to work with the hospital to allow for extended time.
Once you are accepted as Bituach Leumi members, contact the hospital with your 77 number. After receiving payment from Bituach Leumi for the birth, the hospital should tear up your check.
Please note: in order for Bituach Leumi to cover payment for a birth retroactively, the mother must fulfill both of these criteria at the time of the birth:
1) hold a valid A-category visa;
2) be a member of a kupat cholim.
Leaving the Hospital
Before your discharge, you will receive these documents:
- Teudat shichrur for mother and for baby ‒ a discharge note and medical record. Bring the baby’s teudat shichrur to your first Tipat Chalav (Well Clinic) visit. Bring your own teudat shichrur to your postpartum doctor’s visit. You will also need it if you go to a beit hachlama (convalescent home).
- Vaccination record for your baby, if he/she received any immunizations. This should be brought to all Tipat Chalav appointments.
- Teudat leidah chai ‒ a temporary birth certificate. This must be exchanged for the baby’s official Israeli birth certificate in Misrad Hapnim whether or not your baby is Israeli.
Note: Hospitals often give vouchers for a free night in beit hachlamah, however they might not offer it unless you request it from the office before you leave.
Legal Matters Following Birth
The following legal matters need to be taken care of after having a baby (in the order listed):
1. Kupat cholim – register your child with your health care provider
2. Teudat leidah ‒ obtain an Israeli birth certificate
The rest of this list is only for foreigners without a teudat zehut
3. Foreign birth certificate and passport (see our Foreign Citizenship information guides)
4. Valid visa for the baby
5. Bituach Leumi
Before taking care of any baby documents, both parents must have valid visas. (To receive an Israeli birth certificate, it can be either an A/1, A/2, A/4 or tourist visa. For Bituach Leumi, it can only be an A/1, A/2, or A/4.) For more information about visas, see our Visas information guide.
For Israeli citizens born in Israel, kupat cholim registration happens automatically but registration with supplementary insurance (e.g. Macabi Sheli, Meuhedet C) must be taken care of manually, even if the entire family is already paying for that plan. An Israeli baby born outside Israel must first be registered on his or her parents’ teudot zehut before he or she can be registered with kupat cholim.
Foreign citizens must notify their kupat cholim about their new child as soon as the child is discharged from the hospital. Kupat cholim registration will not happen automatically and it is vital that your child be covered immediately should the need arise. If a child is re-hospitalized shortly after birth and is not yet covered by kupat cholim, the hospital stay will not be covered, even retroactively. Moreover, kupat cholim does not accept applicants who have been hospitalized within the last five days; a baby who is re-hospitalized after birth must wait until after the hospitalization to register with kupat cholim.
If you are a foreign citizen, you must present your child’s michtav shichrur (discharge certificate from the hospital) at your kupat cholim clinic when registering. If you want your baby covered by supplementary insurance, make sure the kupah secretary activates it while you are speaking to her. Neither Israeli nor non-Israeli children are automatically registered for supplementary insurance — even if the entire family is already paying for that plan. The mistake can cause a lot of aggravation later, especially because many benefits require a waiting period before eligibility kicks in.
Once registered, the child will receive a temporary number beginning with 99. Once the child is on Bituach Leumi, he or she will receive a new permanent number.
Please note: If you do not register the baby with Meuhedet before they are one month old, you will be asked to bring a letter from a Meuhedet pediatrician, seen privately, attesting to the baby’s good health.
Furthermore, if you have an older child who is not yet registered with Bituach Leumi, Meuhedet will not agree to accept the new baby as a member.
Meuhedet offers foreign citizens up to six months of free coverage for newborns. Be sure to take care of getting your new baby a passport and Bituach Leumi in as timely a fashion as possible. Waiting too long before getting your child a visa can be problematic in regard to Bituach Leumi.
If your child will be a Meuhedet member, he or she will need to wait for approval from the national headquarters in Tel Aviv unless you register with Pinchas Starick, manager at the Meuhedet office opposite Mir yeshiva.
If a child’s teudat shichrur identifies a preexisting condition or pending medical review, contact Chaim V’Chessed for assistance.
Note on jaundice for Meuhedet registration: When discharge papers say that bilirubin must be checked, parents can have the baby checked and bring Meuhedet a signed and stamped letter with the results. If results are lower than 10, or higher than 10 but lower than the level at discharge, parents can present the latest results to Meuhedet at the branch near the Mir to register the child. (A letter from a mohel that states that the bris was done on time is also acceptable.) If bilirubin results are not improved since hospital discharge, the baby will need to be re-tested until results show an improvement.
Foreign citizens who give birth abroad must present a letter from a Meuhedet pediatrician whom they saw privately stating that their baby is in good health in order for the child to join Meuhedet before he or she is a Bituach Leumi member.
Israeli Birth Certificate (Teudat Leidah)
The temporary birth certificate received in the hospital must be exchanged for an official birth certificate at Misrad Hapnim.
No appointment is needed when requesting a birth certificate.
If one or both parents are Israeli, you may apply for the birth certificate online. If the child’s first name was not registered before leaving the hospital (as is the case with boys before their bris), you can update his name and apply for a birth certificate and new sefach online.
An Israeli child must also be properly listed on his parents’ teudot zehut. Bring the Israeli parent or parents’ teudot zehut along with the temporary birth certificate. If only one parent is Israeli, that parent must be present to have this done, and he or she must also present his non-Israeli spouse’s passport.
If neither parent is Israeli, either spouse may go to Misrad Hapnim, no appointment necessary. You will need both spouses’ passports with valid visas, as well as the teudat leidah chai (temporary birth certificate) from the hospital. In Jerusalem, only the Shlomtzion HaMalkah branch provides this service. Be sure to check the birth certificate well for both content and spelling before leaving the office.
Please note: One cannot apply for the birth certificate prior to ten days after the birth.
In the case of a legal home birth, both parents must be present to obtain a teudat leidah.
If one parent is a toshav keva or toshav arai, the child will be registered as an Israeli citizen.
A child born to two non-Israeli parents will not be granted Israeli citizenship automatically by being born here. While Misrad Hapnim does not feel it is necessary, they can provide a certificate stating that your child is not Israeli upon request. The certificate costs 90 NIS (payable by Israeli credit card only). Being that your child’s foreign passport will always indicate that he or she was born in Israel, it may be worthwhile to have this document in order to avoid any potential complications in the future.
For foreigners, it is best to arrange the birth certificate within a month after the birth so that Bituach Leumi will pay you kitzvat yeladim (child allowance) from the baby’s birth once he or she is registered.
Misrad Hapnim hours:
Morning hours: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:00 am–12:00 pm (closed Wednesday mornings)
Afternoon hours: Monday and Wednesday 2:30 pm–5:00 pm
Visa for Baby
If both parents have valid visas, the child will receive a visa that will be valid for the same term as the parents’. In Jerusalem, the visa department is on the first floor at Shlomzion Hamalka 1. An appointment is required, see our article on visa application. Only one parent is required to attend the appointment; the child does not have to be present.
What you need:
- Visa Application Form
- Passports of both parents and the child
- Original birth certificate of child
- Copy of marriage certificate (recommended)
Bring copies of all documents. You should receive the visa on the spot.
If your child does not have a mispar zehut, you will need to register him/her for Bituach Leumi so that he/she can receive various benefits, including:
- Kupat cholim ‒ free health insurance
Note: Each kupat cholim has a different policy regarding seeing a doctor for your child before he/she has Bituach Leumi. Meuhedet and Maccabi offer temporary insurance coverage for babies who do not yet have Bituach Leumi.
- Kitzvat yeladim (monthly stipend per child) and chisachon l’kol yeled (child savings plan)
Note: In order to receive any money from Bituach Leumi, you will need an Israeli bank account in the name of the mother or a joint account with both parents’ names. They will deposit the sum directly into your account. It cannot be received any other way.
Whenever you register your child, you can receive kitzvat yeladim retroactively for up to a year if the child received an Israeli teudat leidah before turning one month old. If he was born outside Israel, received his teudat leidah after a month old or is already over one year old, you probably will only get three months’ worth.
Adding a Non-Israeli Child to an Existing Bituach Leumi Plan
To register a child for Bituach Leumi, the application can be submitted online here.
- In Step 2, you will be asked for the subject of your request: אני מגיש את הטופס עבור נושא. Choose: תלמיד ישיבה או בן משפחתו המבקשים לקבוע תושבות וחברות בקופת חולים, מיועד לבעלי אשרות א/2/A א/4/A.
- You will then need to select on whose behalf you are submitting this application: choose “child”. You should enter the applicant’s details and the details of the applicant’s parents. Note: If you (the parents) are existing members of Bituach Leumi, enter your 77 number from Bituach Leumi as your ID number, and choose מספר מזהה זמני בביטוח לאומי.
Based on the responses in your application, you will be given a list of documents which need to be uploaded.
Note: Although a Daf Knisot V’yetziot is officially required for all family members, Bituach Leumi may accept the application with only a Daf Knisot V’Yetziot for one of the parents and the child you are applying for.
It takes about two months to receive a reply.
You can save your request before it is complete by clicking on the word שמירה at the top of the page. After verifying your phone number and email address, you will be given a code with which you can access the form at a later time.
You will probably be contacted by email with confirmation of your child’s acceptance and his new ID number which will begin with 77.
Registering for Kupat Cholim through Bituach Leumi
Children’s kupat cholim files will generally be updated automatically with their new Bituach Leumi member status once their acceptance has been finalized. You should receive a new kupat cholim card for your child in the mail within a few weeks of Bituach Leumi acceptance. Speak to your local kupat cholim clinic to confirm that your child’s old account information, and his or her supplementary insurance membership, if applicable, has been merged into the new account.
Children who are registered within a few months after birth will be recognized as members retroactively since their birth.
Bituach Leumi & Visa Expiration
Each time the parents’ or child’s visa expires, all Bituach Leumi benefits cease. Usually Bituach Leumi gives a 45 day grace period from the day one’s visa expires before stopping one’s coverage.
To continue receiving health care benefits and to receive retroactive payment of kitzvat yeladim for the months you missed once the visas are renewed, you should send Bituach Leumi copies of the passports and of the visas with the Bituach Leumi numbers written near each visa. The longer one is without a valid visa, the more complicated it can become to re-register.