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Are E-2 Visas for Israelis Imminent?


James Cohen

Is it likely that Israelis will soon be eligible for E-2 investors visas?
E-2 Visas for Israelis were thus far limited to Israeli citizens who possess another nationality. Only the citizens of countries that have signed a reciprocal treaty with the US were entitled to apply for an E-2 investor visa. However, recent developments may make E-2 visas for Israelis a viable option. This article by James Cohen, a senior partner at the law office of Cohen, Decker, Pex, Brosh specializing in US immigration, explore whether Israelis will finally get the chance to get E-2 investor visas to the US in the near future.

What are the factors stopping Israelis from obtaining an E-2 investor visa?

Are E-2 Visas for Israelis coming? Recent news reports in the local Israeli media suggested Israelis soon will be eligible for E-2 investor visas to the United States. The E-2 investor visa allows citizens of nations with a special treaty with the United States to invest in and manage a business in the US. It is a very attractive visa, provides flexibility for the investor’s family and has no real time limit as long as the business remains operable. But recent optimism for Israelis may be overblown.

Several years ago special legislation was passed in the US to open the door for E-2 visas for Israelis. At the time news reports abounded about the start of this program. But years passed as negotiations between the US and Israeli governments bogged down over reciprocal arrangements for Americans who wish to invest in Israel. Theoretically, the Israeli government addressed these issues but ultimately not to the satisfaction of US authorities. Just recently, there was another spate of activity on the Israeli side to meet US requirements with assurances that the program now is ready for implementation. Some have suggested the program could begin this fall. We’ll see.

How to file an application for E-2 visas for Israelis?

The E-2 visa is designed for foreigners who will invest in and manage a business in the US. Investors have the option of purchasing an existing business or starting a new one. Either way, the investor must prove the investment is real, substantial (a minimum of $100,000) and will lead to the hiring of US workers.

Potential investors should consider the following factors before filing an application:

  1. Where do they want to live and work?
    Each state in the United States has different rules and regulations for businesses.
  1. What kind of business does the investor want to operate?
    Business opportunities in the US are limitless. However, the investor should have some knowledge or experience in the field in which he wants to work. This issue will be raised at the embassy interview. One area of business not available to E-2 investors is real estate, such as investing in and renting or selling houses.
  1. How does the investor want to organize his business?
    The normal business organizations in the US are corporations or limited liability companies. It is probably best to avoid opening sole proprietorship operations.
  1. Does the investor want to purchase an existing business or start a new one?
    There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Purchasing an existing business with current employees is sometimes easier to gain embassy approval for the visa. On the other hand, purchasing an existing business will burden the investor with the history and culture of that business experience, whether good or bad.

The E-2 visa application process is complicated and involves a great deal of documentation.
We at Cohen, Decker, Pex & Brosh Law Offices have extensive experience in filing successful E-2 visa applications.

Contact our office today to set up a consultation meeting to prepare for the advent of the E-2 investor visa program for Israelis.

E-2 Visas for Israelis: 053-7471900



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