Certificate – document allowing migrants to legally enter the territory of Palestine, first introduced by the British Mandate in 1920 under the Immigration Ordinance.

Different categories of certificates were available: certificates for financially independent individuals whose property amounted to at least 1,000 Palestinian pounds, certificates for craftsmen and representatives of liberal professions, certificates for students with sufficient financial standing coming to study in Palestine, as well as certificates for manual labourers and for relatives of Palestinian citizens. In 1921, the immigration opportunities for craftsmen and representatives of liberal professions were significantly restricted. In 1922, it was determined that the number of migrants admitted into the country shall be regulated according to the economic situation in Palestine, which was in fact a pretext for further reduction of the influx of newcomers. From 1925 onwards, matters of immigration were no longer handled by the British diplomatic missions, with their responsibilities transferred to the Head Immigration Officer in Jerusalem. The Jewish Agency, meanwhile, was responsible for processing certificate applications from manual labourers. The permits were handed out via Palestinian Offices; this issue remained a bone of contention in the Jewish community, especially among various factions of the Zionist movement. In 1929 and 1932, further restrictions on legal immigration into Palestine were imposed. The most severe restrictions were imposed in May 1939, in the so-called White Paper. It was decided that a total of 75,000 certificates would be issued over the period of five years, so that the number of Jews in Palestine would not exceed one-third of the entire population. After that period, further immigration would regulated upon the consent of the representatives of the Arab community. In addition, the number of certificates issued would be reduced proportionally to the scale of suspected illegal immigration. Despite the restrictions imposed by the White Paper, in the years 1945–1948 ca. 120,000 European Jews made their way into Palestine. The certificate system was abolished following the establishment of the State of Israel.

Natalia Aleksiun


Tomaszewski J., Żbikowski A., Żydzi w Polsce. Dzieje i kultura. Leksykon, Warsaw 2001.

In order to properly print this page, please use dedicated print button.