The E-2 visa category offers foreign entrepreneurs who wish to invest in an American business the opportunity to come to the United States. The E-2 visa carries with it many distinct advantages. Unlike other visa categories, the E-2 visa allows the applicant to be self-employed, which makes it a better option for entrepreneurs than other employment-based visas, such as the H-1B or O-1 visa. Additionally, the E-2 visa is good for up to five years, a longer term than some of the other available categories. E-2 investors may also be able to obtain E-2 status for certain employees that are needed to help establish and run a business in the U.S.
Of course, there are restrictions for those interested in applying for an E-2 visa. First, at the most basic level, there are two qualifications for an E-2 visa that must be met: (1) an investment of a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise and (2) development and direction of the enterprise as the sole purpose of arrival in the United States. Second, only investors from countries with which the United States has a treaty investor agreement are eligible.
Very recently, the United States has signed a long-awaited agreement, making the citizens of Israel eligible for the E-2 visa. Pursuant to the agreement, E-2 visas will be an option for qualified Israeli investors living lawfully in the United States, as well as for some Israeli citizens who work for Israeli companies, starting on May 1, 2019. Qualified Israeli citizens already living in the United States will also be able to apply for a change from their current status to an E-2 status by filing Form I-129, the Petition of a Nonimmigrant Worker. Alternatively, a qualifying employer may petition for a change of status on behalf of the Israeli national. Dependents of treaty investors, such as spouses and children under the age of 21 will also be able to acquire an E-2 classification or change their current status to the E-2 category by filing Form I-539, the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.
If you have any questions of concerns about applying for an E-2 visa or its new availability to Israeli citizens, please do not hesitate to contact Berardi Immigration Law today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable employees!