E-2 Investor Visa for Israeli Nationals
The availability of E-2 investor visa status for Israeli Nationals provides a new and critical level of support for Israeli Companies who wish to transfer key personnel for short- or long-term assignments to the United States.
The US- Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) passed in 1985 was the United States’ first-ever FTA. United States-Israel trade and commercial enhancement section was enacted to bolster the US Israel Free Trade agreement and to counter attempts from various sources to boycott trade with and investment in Israel. More than $45,000,000,000 in goods and services is traded annually between the two countries, in addition to roughly $10,000,000,000 in United States foreign direct investment in Israel.”
The cooperation between the United States and Israel is encouraged covering public health and medical science; energy, including renewable energy; space cooperation and transportation cooperation, focused on autonomous vehicles.
Israeli firms represent the second-largest source of foreign listings on the NASDAQ after China – and more than Indian, Japanese, and South Korean firms combined.
Israel’s New B-5 Visa
The B-5 Investor visa is the functional equivalent of the E-2. It was designed to meet the reciprocity requirement to implement the E-2 law and its provisions are therefore substantially similar to the B-5 visa is issued to a qualifying organization which meets the following regulatory requirements:
- “Nationality” – for B-5 purposes, the majority (50%) of the issued shares must be held by nationals of the US.
- “The Investment” – the investor must have invested or be actively in the process of investing.
- “Possession and Control of the Funds” – the investor must own and control the capital invested in the business.
- “Source of Funds” – the investor must be able to identify a legal source of funds. The funds may come from inter alia, a business, family, property owned by the investor, inheritance, savings, and gifts.
- “Loans”- there are specific criteria for the use of loans as part of the initial investment.
- “At Risk” & Irrevocably Committed” – the investor must establish that funds have already been invested, or, that he/she is actively in the process of investing in the Israeli company. The investor must demonstrate that the capital has been irrevocably committed to the proposed B-5 business. The investment must not be “speculative” or unsubstantiated.
- “Substantiality” – There is no set monetary minimum as to how much capital must be invested. The investment must be enough to ensure, to a reasonable extent, that the business invested in is not speculative. A detailed business plan should be provided so that that investment will result in a successful enterprise founded on sound business and financial judgment.
The B-5 can be used to start a business or buy an existing business. Key employees of the qualifying company, who are also US nationals can also be eligible for derivative status.
Advantages of the B-5 visa
The availability of a new visa for US investors to Israel, which is similar to the E-2, facilitates the transfer of US managers, executives, and key employees to oversee their existing as well as start-up investments. Although the initial issuance of the visa is for a period of two years, the visa is renewable indefinitely. This visa stands out from other Israeli work visas that have a term limit of 5 years and 3 months.
The B-5 offers flexibility for companies to transfer key employees, managers, and executives on a rotating basis. For individuals with ties to Israel and the United States who are not prepared to immigrate ( make Aliyah) to Israel, the B-5 provides a new opportunity for long term residence in Israel and the ability to maintain full ties and connections to the US.
Written and published by Amit Acco – https://www.lexology.com/contributors/1173301/