Israel has been eligible for E-1 Treaty Trader status since 1949, allowing owners and employees of Israeli companies that are engaged in substantial trade, principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, Israel, to enter the U.S. to work. However, the E-2 Treat Investor eligibility for Israel has been a long-awaited development for Israeli entrepreneurs and start-ups. President Obama signed legislation in 2012 allowing nationals of Israel to apply for E-2 trader investor status as long as U.S. citizens were granted a reciprocal eligibility to obtain investor visas for Israel. Although Israel passed a bill in 2014 to allow for U.S. investment, the regulations were not enacted until June of 2018. Now that Israel has authorized the investor visa for U.S. citizens, the U.S. will now implement E-2 processing for qualified Israeli investors and Israeli employees of Israel companies who are granted E-2 treaty status.
Starting May 1, 2019, Israeli citizens can now apply for E-2 Treaty Investor status. The E-2 will allow Israeli citizens to work in the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the individual (or an Israeli-owned business) has invested a substantial amount of capital or to provide an essential skill to the new U.S. business. This is great news for Israel and Israeli entrepreneurs who have been looking to invest in the U.S. Israel is known for its leadership in the world of IT, cybersecurity and other high-tech sectors. According to the World Economic Forums, Israel creates over 1,000 start-ups annually and is second in the world for innovation. This is a very real and valuable economic opportunity for Israeli entrepreneurs.