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Apr 17, 2017

Update on Israeli E-2 Visa: We are Still Waiting, Perhaps until October

Matthew Galati

April 17, 2017- Shortly after New Year’s Day we brought you news that the E-2 Visa is moving forward for Israeli nationals, with a projection that it would go “live” the first or second quarter of 2015. The U.S. Department of State (“DOS”) has tempered the optimism of these initial reports by signaling that the E-2 visa might not be available until October 2017.

Specifically, during the Spring 2017 American Immigration Lawyers Association meeting with DOS, the agency stated:

Public Law 112-130 authorized E-2 visa classification for nationals of Israel if that government provides similar status to nationals of the United States. 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. We anticipate that E-2 visas will be available for nationals of Israel by the fourth quarter of calendar year 2017.

Although a treaty has been in place for several years, the lack of E-2 availability due to regulatory delay has frustrated many Israeli nationals. Presently, those without dual nationality may only avail themselves of the E-1 treaty trader visa, which requires companies to engage in substantial international trade to qualify. Additionally, a majority of the trade must be with Israel, disqualifying many entrepreneurs seeking to utilize the visa for more “domestic purposes”. Israeli applicants accordingly would need to acquire a second nationality that holds an E-2 treaty with the United States, such as Grenada, which provides citizenship by investment.

We will continue to keep our clients apprised of new developments as the situation continues to unfold.

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