President Obama recently signed a bill (H.R. 3992) making Israeli Investors eligible for E-2 visa status. Israel has joined 79 other countries eligible for this type of visa, which is based upon a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. Previously Israeli nationals were eligible only for E-1 visa status, given to individuals engaging in a large amount of trade with the United States, but had to explore more restrictive visa options for investment purposes. The E-2 visa encourages business owners and entrepreneurs to explore an endless variety of corporate investment opportunities in the United States. The visa can be issued for a period of 2-5 years, and renewed indefinitely so long as the visa beneficiary meets the necessary requirements.
The E-2 visa does not have a minimum investment or job creation amount; however, the treaty investor must show that they are coming to work for a U.S. business in which they have invested or are actively investing a “substantial” amount of capital. Furthermore, the funds must be “at risk,” and the investment cannot be “marginal”, so mere passive investment in real estate, such as a vacation home, will not be sufficient to meet visa requirements. Should the investor wish to bring additional foreign nationals to work for the U.S. based company, the E-2 visa may also be used for an employee who will be acting in an executive/supervisory position, or one who has special qualifications/skills necessary to the successful operation of the business, as long as they are also an Israeli national.
This exciting new change will open doors for many Israeli investors that were previously unable to live and work in the United States, as well as continue to strengthen business relationships and investment ties between the United States and Israel. If you are interested in making an investment in the United States, contact Pozo Goldstein, LLP to discuss your case with a New York immigration lawyer from our firm today.