The E-2 Investment Visa may soon be available to Israeli citizens.
H.R. 3992, introduced on February 9, 2012 by Rep. Berman (D-CA), would make Israeli nationals eligible to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrant investors as provided for under the Immigration and Naturalization Act, if Israel provides reciprocal nonimmigrant treatment to U.S. nationals.
On February 28, 2012, the House Judiciary committee passed H.R. 3992 by a voice vote. On March 19, 2012, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3992 by a vote of 371-0. The Senate Judiciary committee has not yet considered this bill. If passed, H.R. 3992 would allow Israelis to qualify for the E-2 Investment Visa.
The E 2 visa provides benefits to nationals of foreign countries who invest in the United States. The E visa category can be used by various types of companies, whether owned by individuals or large multinational corporations. The E visa can be used by the company’s principals or by its employees.
Germany, Italy, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Taiwan, Pakistan, Japan and Australia are just some of the countries that have E-2 Investment treaties with the United States. Majority ownership or control of the investing or trading company must be held by nationals of the foreign country.
An investment must meet several criteria in order to qualify for an E-2 visa. These criteria include:
- Showing that "substantial" investment or funds are available and committed to the investment
- The investment must be in an active business as opposed to passive investment such as purchasing a home
- At least 50% of the business must be owned by an alien from a country which has a treaty with the United States
- The investment must create enough profit to provide a living for more than just the alien and his/her family
There is no minimum amount of investment necessary to obtain an E-2 visa, and whether an amount will be considered "substantial" depends on the type of business involved. In most cases, the investment must be at least $100,000USD.
Employees of E-2 companies may be granted E-2 visas if they are or will be engaged in duties that are executive, managerial, or supervisory in nature. If he/she is employed in a minor capacity, the employee may be granted E-2 visa if he or she has special qualifications that make the services to be rendered essential to the enterprise.
The E-1 Treaty-trader visa is already available to Israeli Citizens. This Visa involves more than 50% trade between Israel and the United States. The amount of trade must be sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
The spouse and children (unmarried and under 21) of E-1 or E-2 visa holders are entitled to the same E-1 or E-2 classification as the principal.
E Visa Application Process
The application process for the E visa includes filing a petition with the USCIS or U.S. Consulate. If filed with the USCIS, the application waiting period is generally several months. The USCIS offers an option for premium processing. For a $1,225.00 fee, the USCIS will process the petition in 15 days. If filed with a U.S. Consulate, it usually takes a a few days from the interview to have the E-2 visa stamped in the applicant’s passport.
We will update this blog as soon as more information becomes available.