What is the change? The United States and Israel will implement an agreement on May 1 to let nationals of each other’s countries apply for investor visas.

What does the change mean? Israeli nationals will be able to apply for U.S. E-2 Treaty Investor Visas. U.S. nationals will be able to apply for B-5 Israel Investor Visas. Israelis have been eligible for E-1 status based on a treaty signed in 1954.

  • Implementation time frame: May 1.
  • Visas/permits affected: U.S. E-2 Investor Visas, B-5 Israel Investor Visas.
  • Who is affected: U.S. nationals interested in investing in an Israeli company or entrepreneurship; Israeli nationals interested in setting up a business in the U.S. that primarily trades with Israel, or investing in a new or existing U.S. business.
  • Business impact: The reciprocal visa program is designed to encourage trade and investment between the two countries.

Background: The visa agreement has been years in the making. Legislation passed in the U.S. in 2012 required that Israel provide reciprocal provisions to U.S. citizens investing in Israel; the delay in implementing the agreement was based on Israel’s inability to demonstrate, until recently, that it had put in place a reciprocal provision for U.S. citizens.

U.S. E treaty Visas will be available to Israeli nationals who either (1) set up a U.S. business that primarily trades with the U.S. or (2) make an investment substantial enough to ensure the successful operation of a business enterprise and/or are employed in a supervisory, executive or highly specialized skill capacity at the business in question. E classification also will be available to certain Israeli nationals lawfully present in the U.S. who seek a change of status to E-2 status, but they will have to reapply for E visas in Israel if they leave the country. B-5 Israel Investor Visas will be available to U.S. nationals who make a substantial investment in an Israeli business or entrepreneurship and plan to remain in Israel to develop the investment.

Additional information about the U.S. E-1/E-2 Investor Visas is available here. Additional information about the B-5 Israel Investor Visa is available here.

Analysis & Comments: The reciprocal visa program will provide a new path to U.S. and Israeli investors interested in increasing trade between, or investing in, the U.S. or Israel.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group and Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.