Last year, on May 1st, 2019, the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv announced that the United States and Israel had signed a long-awaited treaty agreement allowing Israeli nationals to apply for an E-2 visa. The E-2 'investor' visa as it is known, allows individuals to enter and work inside the U.S. based on an investment in a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit.
The investment needs to be substantial, with the invested funds having the capacity to generate a significant economic impact in the U.S. Only certain countries may apply for this visa, with Israel being the newest addition.
There are no numerical limits on the number of E-2 visas issued each fiscal year. Allowing Israelis to apply for the investor visa is excellent for Israeli entrepreneurs, investors, and companies, especially considering the United State’s recent strict immigration policies.
Israeli companies, start-ups, and entrepreneurs can now open, operate, and expand their operations in the U.S. Prior to this approval, U.S. visa options for Israeli nationals were complicated and expensive, often not feasible under the previous immigration laws.
Extending the E-2 investor visa to Israel could have a significantly positive effect on the U.S. economy. Israel is home to the second-largest number of startup companies in the world, with some experts saying Israel is the 'Silicon Valley' of the Middle East.
Despite its lack of natural resources, Israel boasts a number of scientific institutes, research and development centers, and a skilled labor force. Israel is poised to make contributions to several U.S. industries, including artificial intelligence, biopharma companies, and companies working in cybersecurity. Already, Israel's technologically-advanced free-market economy has created over two dozen billion-dollar startups, including WeWork, Fiverr, Tanium, Outbrain, Compass, Magic Leap, Houzz, Waze, Mobileye, Elastic, and Gett.
Israel’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the United States was US38,5 billion in 2018. Also, this FDI supports approximately 25,800 U.S. jobs.
According to the U.S. Department of State, from May 2019 through February 2020, the U.S. Embassy Branch Office in Tel Aviv, Israel, approved 190 E-2 petitions.
Though it's difficult to know how many new E-2 investor visa petitions could be approved for Israeli nationals in the future, it’s clear the number of Israeli entrepreneurs coming to the U.S. will continue to rise. This new Israeli talent is expected to contribute to the creation of jobs, especially in technological areas such as biopharma and AI research. The investor visa promises to strengthen commercial ties between Israel and the U.S., and pave the way for a new injection of venture capital into the economy.
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and individuals with business planning services in the areas of immigration and SBA loans.