E-2 Visa: Israeli Startups in New York

A new Economic Impact Report from the New York – Israel Business Alliance confirms that Israeli enterprises generate substantial revenue, draw capital investment and create jobs throughout New York State.

  • 5 Israeli-founded companies valued at $1 billion or more are based in New York (Compass, Lemonade, Paynoeer, Taboola, and WeWork).
  • In 2018, $18.6 billion in revenue was generated by Israeli-founded companies.
  • Israeli-founded companies accounted for more than 20% of the total capital raised in New York State in 2016.
  • There is 1 startup for every 1400 people in Israel (most startups per capita).

What is most impressive about these economic contributions is that they have been accomplished without the E-2 program. For years, Israeli citizens who invested in a startup were not able to get an E-2 Visa to grow the enterprise in America. Now, after years of delays and negotiations, Israel and the United States have entered into an agreement whereby Israeli citizens and companies can start using the Investor Visa (E-2) program. The E-2 Visa grants applicants’ status to live and work in the US to direct and develop a US enterprise which they have invested in.

Previously, Israeli companies and business owners had to rely on the E-1 Visa to expand into the US market. The problem with the E-1 is that startups rarely qualify.

There are 5 main criteria to qualify for an E-2.

  1. The investor must possess the nationality of the treaty country. Ex: If an Israeli wants to apply for an E-2 based on his or her investment in New Co. then to meet this requirement, New Co. must be owned at least 50% by Israeli nationals.
  2. Applicant has invested or is actively in the process of investing the funds. The funds have to be irrevocably committed at the time of the application. Funds idle in a bank account will not suffice to meet this requirement.
  3. The enterprise which the applicant has invested in is a real and operating enterprise. It cannot be a passive investment (ex: stocks).
  4. Applicant’s investment is substantial and more than what is required to simply make a living. The nature of the business and the industry in which it operates will be considered when officers make this determination.
  5. The Applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise. Depending on the corporate structure, a certain amount of control and ownership by the primary applicant is required.

Now that Israeli-run startups can use the E-2 program, Israeli entrepreneurs have a new path to secure status to live and work in the US. The E-2 Visa is also a great option for Israeli entrepreneurs because it can be transitioned to a green card.

Call Silver Immigration today to learn more.