Beginning in May, Israeli citizens will be eligible for the lucrative E-2 visa for investors, according to an official announcement by the American Embassy in Israel last week.
The visa is intended to promote financial investments by individuals and corporations in the United States. An Israeli who intends to invest a significant sum in the US will be eligible to remain in the country for up to five years. The visa also allows for one's spouse and children to enter the US and attend school and seek employment.
There is no requirement that the applicant prove that he or she has made significant investments in the past, nor to demonstrate any unique abilities or accomplishments. The applicant need only convince embassy officials that they intend to open a business in the United States that will create jobs for Americans.
Many Israelis are expected to show interest obtaining such a visa, including hi-tech startups, businessmen, diamond dealers and private or corporate investors who seek to invest in US companies or open a restaurant or hairdressing shop.
Currently, an Israeli computer programmer who applies for entry for business purposes receives an L1 visa which allows the holder to remain in the US for between one and three years. In addition, the L1 visa is obtained from the US Immigration Service which is considered a stringent bureaucracy; the E-2 visa is obtained from the US Consul in Israel.
The visa does not specify the amount of internal investment necessary but is believed to be at least $100,000. Hundreds of Israelis are expected to apply for the visa in the coming months.