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.