The B-5 investment visa in Israel for US citizens
The B-5 investment visa, implemented in May 2019, allows US citizens to invest in a business venture in Israel and obtain legal status in Israel. The investors and their families can live and work in Israel while the business is active. The visa is applicable even to foreign citizens who are not entitled to Aliyah based on the Law of Return.
The visa is the result of negotiations between Israel and the US that began in 2012, and has undergone many changes over the years. The B-5 visa is part of a a mutual agreement with the United States. Israeli citizens can invest in the US and receive an E-2 visa. In return, the holders of an American passport can now obtain status in Israel on the basis of investment.
Our law office specializes in immigration and legal status in Israel. The firm’s founders and senior partners are US citizens. We are eager to help American citizens obtain the opportunity to live and conduct business in Israel. Attorney Joshua Pex will explain how to obtain a B-5 visa based on an investment in an Israeli business.
Who can live and work in Israel with a B-5 investment visa?
After the visa is approved, the investor and their family (spouse and children under the age of 21) receive status in Israel. In addition, the investor can bring to Israel senior executives to manage the business, and skilled foreign workers whose skills the business requires (and their families). The investor, and any foreign employee (holder of a B-51 visa) must be a US citizen or hold a US passport. A person who has been in Israel illegally in the past is not entitled to enter the country on the basis of a B-5 visa or any of the accompanying visa types.
The spouses (who hold B-52 visas) and children (B-53 visas) of the investor / managers / foreign workers can live, work, and study in Israel. They are free to work anywhere, not being limited to the investor’s business.
Any skilled foreign workers must prove they possess skills that are difficult to find in Israel and are needed for business enterprise. However, a balance must be found between bringing foreign workers to Israel and creating job opportunities for Israeli citizens.
How to apply for a B-5 visa and what are the required documents?
The application can only be submitted at specific Israeli consulates in the US. This Israeli consulate must have a Ministry of Economy and Industry representative on staff to evaluate the application. These consulates can be found in: Washington DC, New York, Houston and San Francisco.
A valid criminal records check must be presented for adult employees and / or family members. Every applicant’s passport must be valid for at least one year from the date of the visa being issued. Family members are required to present a birth certificate and a marriage certificate proving their relationship to the investor / manager / employee. These documents must be verified and translated into Hebrew.
After the B-5 investment visa (and accompanying visas) are approved, a multi-entry visa to Israel is granted. Holders of B-5 visas (and accompanying visa types) can enter and leave Israel for the purpose of running the business and living in Israel as long as the investment visa is valid.
How long does a B-5 investment visa last?
The visa’s initial validity period is two years. It can be extended for one year at a time, in an expedited procedure, while the business is active. It should be noted that the visas of family members, foreign workers, and managers in the business depend on the renewal of the employer’s B-5 visa and requires a separate renewal in and of itself. The B-5 visa extension application must be submitted at least three months before the visa expires. The visa can be extended for a period of more than 5 years, provided the business is still active.
What is the required investment amount?
The obvious first question for many potential investors is: “How much do you need to spend to get your visa?” Investment visas in many countries are provided on the basis of a specific investment amount. An entrepreneurial visa to England requires the investment of at least 200,000 pounds. An E-2 investment visa in the United States, which is mutual to the Israeli B-5 visa, generally requires a $ 100,000 investment. These amounts are often recommended in the relevant regulations. Those who have the available funds may assume that obtaining the visa is primarily a matter of navigating the related bureaucracy.
The procedures for obtaining the B-5 investment visa explicates what other visas do not necessarily make clear. The main purpose of the visa is to promote the purchased business and contribute to the Israeli economy. Therefore, the requirements for obtaining a visa are to invest a significant sum and to acquire at least 50% ownership in an active business that is not marginal.
What do these requirements mean?
Let’s start our interpretation from the end and continue to the beginning. A “marginal business” is a business with just enough profit to support the investor and his family, but nothing more. The Israeli legislator’s intention, then, is that the visa won’t be granted to foreign investors who acquired 50 percent of the ownership in a small business. The “significant” amount in question is required to purchase at least 50% of the ownership in a business that employs a number of employees and contributes to the Israeli economy.
The business enterprise must be active and contribute to the local Israeli economy. At the least, it must be provably capable of contributing to the market within 5 years of the investment date.
How do I know that my investment plan is acceptable?
Consult Israeli immigration and investment plan experts. Our law office specializes in preparing business plans for the purpose of obtaining an investment visa. We will be happy to assist you in locating a suitable investment that will be of interest to you personally and professionally and that will suit your budget. We can help in acquiring Israeli investment visas for you and your family, as well as inviting foreign experts and foreign managers to Israel.