US Congress 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
WASHINGTON – A bill to help Israeli investors live in the United States is
expected to pass the US House later on Monday.
Under the legislation,
Israelis would be eligible for an E2 visa if they develop and direct the
operations of a business in which they’ve invested – or are in the process of
investing – a substantial amount of capital in the US.
The visa would
last for two years and could be indefinitely extended so long as the applicant
still met the terms of the visa.
Until now, Israelis have been precluded
from applying for the E2 visa because of US limitations on which countries are
eligible, a change that can only be made with legislation.
“Israel is a
trusted friend and a special ally, and this legislation expands business
opportunities that will provide economic benefits for both countries,” said
House Foreign Affairs Committee ranking member Representative Howard Berman
(D-California), a sponsor of the legislation.
House Judiciary Committee
chairman Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the chief Republican cosponsor of
the legislation, described the bill as one that “helps spur job creation and
economic growth here at home and invests in our relationship with one of our
A similar piece of legislation has been sponsored by
Senators Chuck Schumer (DNew York), Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) and Jon Kyl
(R-Arizona) in the Senate, which must also pass the bill before it can be signed
into law by US President Barack Obama.
A senior Senate aide explained
that the bill has been moving more slowly through his chamber because Senate
leaders are working to combine several other visa-related bills into one visa
reform package. But he said the bill had broad bipartisan support and was
likely to be taken up in the next few weeks.