After years of discussions, the U.S. Department of State has announced that a treaty investor agreement has finally been signed between Israel and the United States that would allow Israeli citizens to access the US E2 visas and US citizens would be eligible for a reciprocal scheme in Israel.
Starting May 1st, 2019, Israeli citizens can apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel. Additionally, Israelis already in the U.S. on another non-immigrant visa would be able to change their status to E-2, including for their spouses and dependents in the U.S. The E-2 Visa program for Israel will be particularly useful for Israelis wishing to set up businesses or make investments in the United States, as well as for Israeli-owned U.S. companies that want to hire and bring Israelis to work in the U.S.
Shortly after given access to the US E2 visa in May 2019, the Trump administration decided to reduce visa validity periods for L1 visas, E1 visas and E2 visas for Israeli citizens, and in January 2020 the United States announced the new restrictions on the visas issued to Israelis.
As of January 2020, the US E2 visa for Israeli investors and entrepreneurs, can be granted for a maximum period of 2 years (24 months). Typically, the E2 investor visa is issued for five years to citizens of other E2 countries. In addition, the L1 visa has been cut by 12 months, from 60 months to 48 months and the E1 visa has been reduced to 52 months from 60 months.
The E-2 Visa program for Israel is great news for Israeli companies and start-ups, which have had to resort in the past to H-1B skilled worker visas and L-1 intracompany transfer visas. The process for those visas has become more difficult. Additionally, the H-1B petitions have significantly outnumbered the H-1B visas available, and the L-1 requires one year of employment abroad before being transferred to the United States. The E-2 eliminates many of the hurdles found with other types of visas.
How can one classify for an E-2 Visa?
To qualify for an E-2 Visa or classification, the investor must:
- Be a national of a country that the U.S. maintains a qualifying treaty with;
- Have invested, or be in the process of investing, a “substantial” amount of capital in a U.S. entity, or be an essential employee of a qualifying entity; and
- Show at least 50% ownership of the business by treaty nationals.
The company and applicant must demonstrate fulfillment of requirements for Treaty Trader/Investor status. Please reach out to us with any questions regarding the E-2 Visa program and the new E-2 Visa requirements for Israel.
Are you looking to obtain an E2 Treaty Investor Visa?