October 28, 2017 Update
We previously reported on April 15, 2017, that the U.S. Department of State (DOS) expected that an E2 treaty investor program agreement with Israel would be in place by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2017. On October 19, 2017, the DOS Liaison Committee provided an update on the situation in a meeting with the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) [PDF version].
In a response to a question regarding the status of a treaty supporting E2 classification for Israelis, the DOS representative stated that there is not currently a treaty supporting E2 classification for Israelis. The representative explained that, while Public Law 112-130 authorizes the creation of an E2 visa classification for nationals of Israel, it is contingent upon the Israeli government authorizing similar status to U.S. nationals in Israel. The DOS representative stated that the government of Israel is in the process of making regulatory changes in order to meet this requirement. Accordingly, the DOS representative estimated that E2 visas may be available for nationals of Israel by the first quarter of calendar year 2018 rather than the initial estimate we reported in April 2017. However, because the process is subject to a regulatory process in Israel, the DOS cannot provide a definitive time frame for when the requisite regulations will be in place.
The prospect of an investor treaty with Israel is welcome news to many U.S. and Israeli investors. We will update the site with more information on the situation as it becomes available. Please see our full selection of articles to learn more about the E2 treaty investor category [see category].
April 15, 2017 Update
On June 8, 2012, then-President Barack Obama signed legislation that had been passed by Congress in 2011 providing for the designation of Israel as a foreign state under section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) [see Public Law 112-130 (Jun. 8, 2012)]. The legislation will allow for nationals of Israel to apply for and be granted E2 treaty investor status. The U.S. Embassy in Israel states that the E2 treaty investor visa category for Israel is not yet in effect (as of Apr. 15, 2017) [link in English; Hebrew].
On April 6, 2017, the Department of State (DOS) liaison provided the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) with an update on the E2 treaty investor visa category for Israel.1 The E2 treaty investor program coming into effect is contingent on Israel providing similar status for nationals of the United States. The DOS explained that “Israel is in the process of making certain regulatory changes that we expect will provide a basis for the Department of State to make a determination that Israel meets the similarity of status requirement.” The DOS predicted that E2 visas will be available for nationals of Israel by the fourth quarter of 2017 (calendar year).
While the DOS update is not a guarantee that the E2 visas will be available for nationals of Israel by the end of 2017, it is a promising sign for Israeli nationals waiting for a new nonimmigrant option for investment immigration in the United States. In 2012, the Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli investments in the United States totaled $58.5 billion between the years of 2000 and 2010.2 Israeli nationals who intend to pursue E2 visas or explore other investment immigration opportunities in the United States should consult with an experienced immigration attorney in the field of investment immigration for expert guidance.