After a long wait, the U.S. Department of State has announced that a treaty investor agreement has finally been executed between Israel and the United States. Effective today, May 1, 2019, Israeli citizens may now apply for the E-2 visa classification at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Those interested in learning more about the E-2 visa classification for Israeli citizens can refer to the U.S. Department of State website for further information about applying locally in Tel Aviv. While the E-2 visa qualifications are outlined per USCIS regulations, each U.S. Embassy abroad may have a specific filing or submission process it uses, a recommended list or format of required documents, or information regarding processing times available on its website. Certainly, as Tel Aviv now begins to accept and process E-2 visa applications, they are expected to establish their own preferences for submission, adjudication, timing etc. More information is available here.
Once individuals are issued the visa, they may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-2 nonimmigrant. Similarly, if the treaty investor is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification.
This comes as welcome news for those who have long awaited negotiations between the United States and Israel to be finalized. The Israeli E-2 visa originally evolved from June 2012 legislation signed by then-President Obama that implemented a bilateral investment treaty with Israel and was linked to the ability of U.S. citizens to obtain B-5 Israeli Investor visas. Despite hopefulness that the visas would be available to investors in early 2017, delays have beset the rollout process.
This provides a desirable alternative option for Israeli nationals wishing to set up businesses or make investments in the United States, as well as for Israeli-owned U.S. companies. This includes either established businesses or startup companies that wish to employ and relocate Israelis to work in the United States.