E2 Visa Israel | What you need to know?


E-2 Visa For Israelis

E-2 Visa Israel Is Now Available

Are you an Israeli citizen looking to expand your horizons by investing in new business opportunities in the United States?  As of May 1 of 2019, the E-2 Visa Israel is available to Israeli citizens.

What is the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa is a type of non-immigrant visa designed for entrepreneurs and investors who wish to live and work in the United States.  Under an E-2 visa, your entry to the United States is based on a substantial investment you will be making in the United States.  This investment can either be starting your own businesses or purchasing existing ones to flourish and benefit the United States economy.

How did the E-2 Visa in Israel come to be?

Before May of 2019, there was no truly reciprocal visa in Israel for the E-2 Visa.  However, after years of working on its programs to suit the USCIS requirements, Israel had finally created the B-5 Visa: the first Israeli visa that can be granted to United States citizens who seek to invest in Israel, setting the right context for the creation of the E-2 visa for Israeli citizens.

In June 2018, the necessary regulations for the proposed E-2 Visa in Israel had been enacted.  Shortly after, the United States Department of State determined that the B-5 visa fits the criteria for reciprocity, and on May 1 of 2019, the E-2 Visa was finally available for eager Israeli entrepreneurs seeking to invest in the land of opportunity.

Israel: A Growing Entrepreneurial Hub

Israel’s startup sector had been steadily growing in recent years.  Data shows that Israel creates over a thousand startups per year.  According to the World Economic Forum, Israel leads second globally in innovation.  It is no wonder then that Israel has been sought out by U.S. investors, and now today they reap the benefits of this mutually beneficial economic relationship.

Israeli entrepreneurs are responsible for creating some of the most practical applications that we use today.  One example includes the Viber instant messaging app which, before being acquired by Rakuten, was originally developed by Israeli entrepreneurs.  Furthermore, Israeli innovations are helping save lives such as with the Zebra Medical Vision startup, which developed an algorithm that can identify early signs of breast cancer.

As such, many Israeli entrepreneurs with different experience levels are beginning to enter the global market.  Many of these entrepreneurs unsurprisingly wish to bring their businesses into the diverse, multicultural, and competitive United States market.  With the E-2 Visa in Israel, these investors and entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to enter and succeed in the United States market.

How do Israeli entrepreneurs benefit from the E-2 Visa?

The E-2 Visa enjoys a higher approval rate compared to other visas such as the EB-5 and L-1 which are notorious for having difficult requirements that lead to higher denial.  The approval rate for the E-2 Visa is a staggering 92% while in fiscal 2019, only 72% of the L1 Visas were approved.

To add to that, there is no limit to the number of E-2 Visas issued every year.  In Fiscal Year 2017, 43,000 E-2 Visas were issued.  By 2018, the number of approved E-2 Visas rose to 60,000.

The growing number of E-2 visas issued and higher approval rates are being enjoyed by entrepreneurs and investors from the treaty countries.  Israel, being recently added to the list of treaty countries mean they can enjoy these benefits too.

Before the launch of the B-5 Visa and the availability of the E-2 Visa for Israeli nationals, some Israelis with dual nationalities were already taking advantage of the great opportunity the E-2 Visa provides.  From 2015 to 2017, the issuance rate of the E-2 Visa rose to 113%

Why Was There No E-2 Visa Israel Before?

Before May of 2019, there was no legitimate reciprocal visa in Israel for the E-2 Visa.  But, after years of working on its programs to suit the USCIS requirements, Israel has created the B-5 Visa.  This is the first Israeli visa granted via investments made by a United States Citizen.  On June 21, 2018, the Interior Committee of Knesset enacted the necessary regulations.  The U.S. Department of State determined that the B-5 visa fits the criteria for reciprocity.

How do you qualify for the E-2 Visa Israel?

  1. To qualify for the E-2 Visa, applicants will need to be a national of a country that holds a treaty of trade and commerce with the United States.  Israel, as of recently, has been added to the list of treaty countries.
  1. Another requirement is for the applicants to have invested or be in the process of investing substantially.  Furthermore, applicants need to show legitimate possession and control of the funds.  Additionally, they must have all funds invested to be in “at-risk” status and irrevocably committed.
  1. Third, applicants need to have the appropriate skill set needed to run and manage the business.  Because of this, the educational background and work experience of the applicant suggests a lot if they will meet this criterion.
  1. Fourth, the business cannot be marginal.  Additionally, it must be profitable and have the capacity to hire more employees as the business progresses.
  1. Lastly, applicants need to sign a document stating intent to return to their home country once the visa expires.

Where do you apply for the E-2 Visa In Israel?

You should apply at your local United States Embassy or Consulate accredited to your place of permanent residence. In this case, you will need to apply to a United States Consulate in Israel.

The U.S. Embassy Branch Office Tel Aviv is accepting E-2 Visa applications from Israeli Nationals.  For first-time applicants and renewals, applicants need to submit the supporting documents which included individual applications for employees, by mail.

What are the supporting documents of the E-2 Visa application?

The following documents below are needed for an E-2 visa application in Israel.  As an applicant, it is important to ensure that the documents are arranged in the order they are listed.

  1. First is a cover letter that is printed on the company letterhead.  The cover letter should outline the business’s qualifications for E-2 status.
  2. Second is a table of contents that identifies the documents in the binder and its location.
  3. The third is the completed Form DS-156E with two parts for the business profile and staff.
  4. Fourth is evidence of the company’s compliance with the ownership requirements.

The U.S. Embassy in Israel strongly advise applicants to take note of the following:

“For public companies: a translated copy of the Company Registrar from the Israeli Ministry of Justice, detailing the shareholders’ names and percentage of stock ownership, and a statement from a CPA stating the amount of stock that is traded on any stock exchange.

For privately-owned companies: documentation of ownership.

For companies that are ultimately owned by other Israeli companies or by a consortium: documentation identifying the ultimate shareholders by nationality (Note: To the extent that a certain percentage of a company’s stock is traded on the TASE, the nationality of the shareholders of that stock may be assumed to be Israeli.)

For companies that have been incorporated in the U.S.: certificate/articles of incorporation, certificate of shares issued to shareholders, business license, and lease contracts.

In all cases, please submit a formal CPA letter indicating the nature of the enterprise (branch, subsidiary, or partnership), its structure, the ownership distribution, and the nationality of shareholders.”

  1. Fifth are documents that are evidence of the nationality of the business.  Furthermore, its nationality is determined by the nationality of its individual owners.  Documents that are evidence to this include a valid passport of the owner.
  2. Sixth is the evidence of the investment.  Documents pertaining to this include checks and bank transactions that show a change of hands directly between the investor and the business.
  3. Seventh is evidence showing that the business is real and operating.

The embassy accepts these documents and it is sufficient for this criterion.

  • 5-year business plan
  • Contracts with suppliers/contractors/clients
  • Most recent audited financial statements
  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable ledgers
  • Most recent annual report
  • Most recent U.S. tax return
  • Bank records
  • Catalogs
  • News articles
  • Receipts for the purchases of business equipment or inventory
  • Office lease
  • Other evidence that the enterprise is producing a service or commodity
  1. Eighth is proof that the investment is substantial.
  2. Ninth is proof of how the investment meets the marginality requirement.  Forms such as W-2’s and 1099 forms are evidence that the business employs lawful workers.
  3. The tenth is the Employee’s visa application.

The embassy accepts these documents for the employee’s visa application:

  • Completed DS-160
  • Evidence of payment of the MRV application fee (payable on the Visa Information Service website)
  • One photograph that meets the specifications
  • Form DS-156E
  • Employee’s Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter on company letterhead explaining the reasons why the employee must be in the U.S. and a description of his/her responsibilities
  • Photocopy of the bio page of the employee’s passport
  1. Lastly is the visa application for each of the dependents.

The embassy accepts these documents:

  • Completed DS-160
  • Evidence of payment of the MRV application fee (payable on the Visa Information Service website)
  • One photograph that meets the specifications
  • Photocopy of the bio page of the applicant’s passportEvidence of relationship to the principal applicant (marriage or birth certificate)

All supporting documents must be mailed to the Branch Office in Tel Aviv at the following address:

E1/E2 Visa AssistantEmbassy of the United States of America, Branch Office Tel AvivConsular Section71 Hayarkon StreetTel Aviv 6343229

How long is the E-2 Visa Israel application process?

After reviewing the applicant’s submitted file, the E-2 Visa unit will schedule an interview for the company and employee.  Reviewing of said files ranges from eight to twelve weeks.  Shortly after the reviewing of files, the applicant will be required to attend an in-person interview.  However, having a schedule for the interview does not guarantee the approval of the visa.  In that regard, the U.S. Embassy in Israel advises to not make business plans and travel arrangements until the issuance of the visa.

The embassy does not entertain speculative questions regarding the E-2 Visa application.  The embassy, however, will communicate with the applicant’s attorney or point of contact regarding the application.

Should the E-2 Visa be approved, the successful applicant will receive their passport within 10 days via Israel’s Post’s courier.

How can we help?

We at Immigration Business Plan have over 15 years in the industry and it has allowed us to work with different people and businesses from different countries across the globe.  The global experience we have brings forth diversity and a deeper understanding of the process behind a successful application.  Furthermore, because of our experience working with different people, we guarantee that the process of working with us is easier and that there are minimal to no delays.

Additionally, treating clients with respect and confidentiality is rooted in our mantra to care for them.  Because applying for a visa can be a daunting experience, we make sure that for our clients, that experience is less intimidating.  We want your visa application process to be smooth.

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