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E-2 Investor Visas To Become Available for Israeli Nationals

President Obama recently signed legislation that would add Israel to the list of countries eligible for non-immigrant investor visas in the United States.

The legislation, which was spearheaded by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), would grant Israelis E-2 investor visas, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. in order to be closer to their investments.  The legislation, signed on June 11, 2012, passed the House and the Senate in recent months.

However, the implementation of this visa category will not be effective until the terms and conditions of the final agreement are determined between the two countries.   The government will issue a press release as soon as the E2 investor visa is available to Israeli nationals.

Nonimmigrant Investor Visas In General

Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act provides for visa status for nationals of countries that maintain an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States or that is considered to be a treaty country under U.S. law.

There are two types of non-immigrant visas for individuals wishing to trade with or invest in the U.S:

  1. Treaty Trader visa (E-1)
  2. Treaty Investor Visa (E-2)

For a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation and the type of investor visa available, click here.

A treaty trader/investor visa is not a substitute for an immigrant visa. Individuals wishing to remain in the United States indefinitely should apply for immigrant visas. The Eb-5 program offers Permanent Resident status or green card to foreign national investors. Click here for information on the Eb-5 immigrant visa program for investors. Treaty investor/trader visas can be renewed or extended only if the investment or trade continues to meet all applicable requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations.

Rules for Israeli Investors

  1. Qualified treaty traders/treaty investors and their employees are allowed a maximum initial stay of two years.  Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted.  All E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
  2. Treaty traders /treaty investors and their employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age.  Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee.  These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.

Application Procedure  for Israeli Nationals

Individuals applying for E visas at the American Embassy in Israel must have an Israeli nationality. The U.S. has also concluded treaties of commerce with several other countries; therefore if you are not an Israeli national you would need to apply in your home country. An applicant for a Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa must first establish that the trading enterprise or investment meets the requirements of the law as stated above. Therefore, all Israeli companies seeking E visas for their owners or employees must apply at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.  Israeli citizens are not currently eligible for treaty investor visas (E-2) but based on the recent legislation are expected to become eligibile in the future.  For updates, check back frequently to www.aboutusvisas.com, follow us on twitter @aboutusvisas, and/or sign up for the e-newsletter.

An experienced attorney with The Law Office of Tanya M. Lee, PLLC can confirm your eligibility for an E visa, advise you on the application process and required documentation, and prepare the application package for your E-2 Treaty Investor or E-1 Treaty Trader visa. Please contact us today at tlee@aboutusvisas.com or 1 (480) 559-9529 for a consultation.