Guide to obtain E-2 Visa For An Israeli Citizens

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ISRAEL ACCESSIBILITY TO E-2 VISAS:

On May 1, 2019 Israel became the latest country whose citizens can qualify for the United States E2 visa. The United States is the only major country that experiences a net inflow of Israeli Nationals.
2020 was the first full year in which E2 visas were available to Israeli Nationals. As Israeli businesses grow their market share of the lucrative US market and Israeli entrepreneurs continue to access the US market we anticipate a rapid rise in Israeli E2 visa applications.

E-2 Visa for Israelis: An Opportunity for Israeli Entrepreneurs in the Thriving Tech Hub

In recent years, Israel has emerged as a dynamic entrepreneurial hub, with over a thousand startups created annually and a leading position in global innovation, attracting U.S. investors and fostering a mutually beneficial economic relationship.

Israeli entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to various sectors, from creating popular applications like Viber to pioneering life-saving innovations like Zebra Medical Vision's early breast cancer detection algorithm.

As the Israeli entrepreneurial landscape continues to expand globally, many entrepreneurs aspire to enter the diverse and competitive U.S. market. The E-2 Visa in Israel offers them a gateway to success.

This visa stands out with a remarkable approval rate, in contrast to other visas with more stringent requirements and lower approval rates. Notably, the number of E-2 Visas issued has been steadily increasing since 2018.

With Israel's recent inclusion as an active E2 treaty country, Israeli entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to tap into the advantages of the E-2 Visa. Even before this addition, some Israelis with dual nationalities were taking advantage of the E-2 Visas opportunities.

WHAT IS AN E-2 VISA AND HOW DOES IT BENEFIT ISRAELI CITIZENS?

E-2 Visa:

The E-2 Visa is a non-immigrant visa specifically created for entrepreneurs and investors aiming to reside and work in the United States.

This visa grants entry to the U.S. contingent on a significant investment you intend to make in the country. This investment can take the form of launching new businesses or acquiring existing ones, contributing to the growth and prosperity of the U.S. economy.

The benefits of obtaining an E-2 Visa

Direct and Control a US Business. The United States E2 visaUnited States E2 visa enables a citizen of Israel to:

  • Operate a new business from within the United States or
  • Acquire and operate business of any size form within the United States

Work in a US Business. An Israeli Citizen can also use the E2 visa to bring other Israeli Nationals to the United States to work in a US business they own.

HOW TO QUALIFY FOR THE E-2 VISA IN ISRAEL?

To be eligible for the E-2 Visa in Israel, there are several key requirements to fulfill:

  1. Treaty Country Eligibility: Applicants must be nationals of a country that has a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States. Notably, Israel has recently been added to the list of treaty countries.
  2. Substantial Investment: Applicants are required to invest, or be in the process of investing, a substantial amount. They must also demonstrate legitimate possession and control of the funds. All invested funds must be in "at-risk" status and irrevocably committed.
  3. Relevant Skill Set: Applicants need to possess the necessary skills and experience to effectively manage and run the business. Educational background and work experience play a significant role in meeting this criterion.
  4. Non-Marginal Business: The business cannot be marginal; it must be profitable and show potential for growth, including the capacity to hire more employees as the business progresses.
  5. Intent to Return: Finally, applicants are required to sign a document expressing their intent to return to their home country once the visa expires. This demonstrates their commitment to complying with the visa regulations.

Dual citizenship E-2 Visa program:

E-2 VISA FOR DUAL CITIZENS OF ISRAEL AND THE UK

A number of our clients hold joint UK and Israeli Nationality. As the UK is the only country in the world whose citizens are subject to a residency requirement (in the UK) our clients holding both Israeli and UK passports usually use their Israeli Nationality to apply for their US E2 Visa.

For Israeli Citizens resident in the UK E-2 visa can be obtained from the US consulate in London.

E2 VISA FOR DUAL CITIZENS OF ISRAEL AND RUSSIA

Given the emigration patterns between Russia and Israel there are an estimated 1.5 Million Russian Citizens resident in Israel and an estimated 80,000 Israeli citizens resident in the Moscow area alone.

While Russia is not an E2 country, Russian citizens who can avail themselves of Israel’s generous citizenship program can thereby become eligible for the sought after US E2 visa.

In the absence of a claim to Israeli citizenship, Russian nationals can generally only avail themselves of the US E2 visa program through Grenadian and Turkish citizenship programs.

Other Investor Visa programs for Israeli citizen

EB-5 INVESTOR VISA

Each year there are around 700 EB-5 visas available to people born in Israel. The EB-5 visa offers a US Green Card (permanent residency) by investment. The required investment is $900,000 per family, which includes the primary applicant, as well as any spouse and children under the age of 21. The investment must be in a new commercial enterprise and it must create or sustain ten full-time American jobs. Click here for more details.

L-1 INVESTOR VISA

The L-1 Intracompany Visa is a popular route to the United States, especially for people in the tech industry.
The L-1A allows a company to transfer an international manager or executive and the L-1B allows it to transfer an employee with “specialized knowledge”.
It is possible to set up a brand new US office of your Israeli company and then transfer employees there to oversee the set-up and growth of that new office.
Israeli citizens are initially eligible for L-1 visas up to 48 months, which can then be extended to a maximum of five years for an L-1B and seven years for an L-1A visa. After this time, the applicant would need to return to Israel or find an alternative visa for staying in the United States. Read more about the L-1 Visa here.

E2 FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS) EVERY ISRAELIS SHOULD KNOW

Yes, as an Israeli Nationals you can apply for an E-2 visa from:

  • United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel
  • Any country where you are lawfully resident
  • Certain US consulates who have decided to allow persons not resident in their location to apply for E-2 Visas in their consulate. As this list changes, please contact us for details.
  • Maximum initial E-2 validity for an Israeli citizen is 24 months
  • After this, an E-2 Visa can be renewed infinitely

To apply for the E-2 Visa in Israel, you should proceed as follows:

  1. Visit your nearest United States Embassy or Consulate that is accredited to your place of permanent residence. In the case of Israeli nationals, this means applying at a United States Consulate in Israel.
  2. The U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv is currently accepting E-2 Visa applications from Israeli nationals.
    Whether you are a first-time applicant or seeking to renew your visa, you will be required to submit the necessary supporting documents, including individual applications for employees. These documents can be sent via mail for processing.

The duration for obtaining an E-2 visa for Israeli citizens can vary depending on several factors, particularly the investor's circumstances. Here's an overview of the E-2 visa timeline in Israel:

  1. In the USA: If you are currently present in the United States and meet the eligibility criteria, the average processing time for an E-2 visa application is approximately 5 months. There is also an expedited option known as premium processing, which costs $2,500 and shortens the processing time to just 15 days.
  2. Outside of the US: For applicants residing outside of the United States, the E-2 visa processing time through the U.S. Consulate can range from 2 weeks to 4 months, depending on the specific Consulate and other factors. This timeline applies after you have obtained a passport from a country that has a treaty with the United States.

It's important to note that individual circumstances and the specific Consulate you apply through can affect the processing time. Therefore, applicants should plan accordingly and consider premium processing if expedited processing is required.

The cost of an E-2 Visa for Israeli citizens varies based on certain factors. Once you have obtained a second passport from a country that has a treaty with the United States, the typical minimum investment amount required is over US $150,000, which is approximately 481,000 Israeli New Shekels (ILS).

The specific fees associated with the E-2 Visa application depend on your location:

  1. Investor Present in the USA: If you are already in the United States, you will need to pay a Form I-129 fee of $460, and a Form I-539 fee of $370 for each dependent. Additionally, there is an option for premium processing at a cost of $2,500. Please note that there may be additional expenses related to lawyer's charges and business entity formation costs.
  2. Investor in Home-Country: For investors applying from their home country, there is a fee of $205 per DS-160 form. Again, legal and business formation costs may apply.

It's important to be aware that the Bank of Israel serves as the regulatory body overseeing the framework and monetary policy for transferring assets and money outside of Israel.

For an E-2 visa application in Israel, it's crucial for applicants to ensure that the documents listed below are provided in the specified order.

Document Description
1. Cover Letter On company letterhead, outlining business qualifications for E-2 status.
2. Table of Contents Identifying documents in the binder and their locations.
3. Form DS-156E Completed, with sections for business profile and staff.
4. Evidence of Ownership Compliance Compliance with ownership requirements, depending on company type.
5. Proof of Business Nationality Valid passports of individual owners.
6. Evidence of Investment Checks and bank transactions between investor and business.
7. Evidence of Business Operation Documents, including a 5-year business plan, contracts, financial records, etc.
8. Proof of Substantial Investment Documentation showing the investment is substantial.
9. Proof of Meeting Marginality Requirement Forms like W-2s and 1099s to show lawful employment.
10. Employee's Visa Application Documents for the employee's visa application, including DS-160, payment proof, photographs, CV, and more.
11. Dependent's Visa Application Documents for dependents' visa applications, including DS-160, payment proof, photographs, and proof of relationship.

ADVANTAGES OF E-2 VISA FOR THE TECHNOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY INDUSTRIES?

According to the OEC 32.1% of Israeli exports go to the United States and the United States, making the United States Israel’s leading export market. The UK comes third at 3.71%

After the diamond industry Israel’s largest exporting industries are biotechnology (6.85%) and Integrated Circuits (4.46%).

The E-2 visa presents an ideal way for Israeli nationals in these sectors to open or expand a business in the United States. Many Israeli-trained physicians have also migrated to the United States.

The US Federal government together with various State and local governments offer special incentives and assistance for technology and biotechnology businesses coming to the United States. Please contact our firm for further information on these incentives.

E-2 BUSINESS MODEL FOR ISRAEL INVESTOR

Israeli Citizens apply for E-2 visas to direct and control businesses in a huge variety of industries in the United States. Some popular options include:

  • Integrated Circuits and Digital Technology
  • App development
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Specialty Restaurants and

Contact us to learn how D&A can help Israelis to start a business in the US.

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Eranjan Venura Parua
Eranjan Venura Parua
2 months ago

"After finding D&A through an internet search in 2020, my wife and I had several free consultations with David Cantor. Despite our initial attempt at filing for our E2 visa independently ending in failure, we decided to hire D&A for their expertise and support. Over the course of four long years, Verdie and Cristina were incredibly patient as we took our time to prepare for the E2 submission. Verdie became our E2 Attorney in 2021, and from the start, Verdie and Cristina's patience was evident. Despite our intermittent engagement over the years, they always treated us with the utmost attention. Working with Verdie and the D&A team was a pleasure; their professionalism and support were unwavering. Verdie's calm demeanor and succinct communication style made navigating the process much smoother, even during complex discussions. I wholeheartedly recommend Verdie and D&A - Davies & Associates, to anyone seeking an immigration law firm who can efficiently handle their case with precision and without unnecessary fanfare. Their ability to get things done speaks volumes about their dedication to their clients' success."

Jeremy Abernathy
Jeremy Abernathy
5 months ago

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad
Saeed Muhammad
6 months ago

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satyabrat Chowdhury
Satyabrat Chowdhury
8 months ago

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Christine Envall
Christine Envall
a year ago

Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.

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