Israeli Citizens Soon to be Granted Access to E-2 Treaty Investor Visa19 Jan 2017
After years of having to overcome various bureaucratic hurdles, it appears that Israeli citizens are on the verge of being granted access to the E-2 (treaty investor) visa. According to the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. and Israeli governments at last have reached a final agreement on the terms of the E-2 program – and a reciprocal Israeli investment visa for U.S. citizens – and that the visa likely will be made available to Israelis “…in the next couple of months.”
Overview of E-2 Visa Program
The E-2 (treaty investor) visa is only available to a foreign national who is a citizen of a country that has a qualifying bilateral treaty with the United States. Further, a “substantial” investment must be made in the U.S. enterprise, and this company must be at least 50 percent owned by the applicant or by nationals of the same treaty country as the applicant. The E-2 visa allows the investor to enter the U.S. in order to develop and direct the company’s operations. The E-2 visa can also be used by executives, supervisors, and essential personnel of the U.S. entity.
E-2 for Israeli Citizens
In June 2012, President Obama signed legislation to grant citizens of Israel access to the E-2 nonimmigrant visa category. In order for the program to officially be put in place, however, a reciprocal program had to be offered by Israel to U.S. citizens. Israel created such a program in August 2014, but discussions and negotiations on some of the specifics of the two programs apparently dragged on until the two sides reached a final agreement in January 2017.
E-2 Category Unavailable to Citizens of Key Countries, Including India & China
As noted above, the E-2 category is only available to foreign nationals from countries that have a qualifying treaty with the United States. Unfortunately, some of the countries whose nationals would provide significant benefits by investment in the U.S., most notably India and China, are not currently parties to such an agreement.
The E-2 visa category provides a good option for qualifying entrepreneurs. The Murthy Law Firm welcomes this development for Israeli citizens, and encourages the U.S. government to work to expand eligibility to this visa category to citizens of India and other emerging economies as there can be a mutual benefit to both the United States and those countries.
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