US bill would let Israelis apply for investor visas

Under proposed legislation, Israelis investing substantial amount of capital in the US would be eligible for visas.

US Capitol building 311 (photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
US Capitol building 311
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jim Bourg)
WASHINGTON – A bill introduced in the US House of Representatives Thursday would enable Israelis to apply for investor visas to help establish and grow their American-based enterprises.
Israelis would be eligible for the visa if they develop and direct the operations of a business in which they have 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 as long as the applicant still met its terms.
Until now, Israelis have been unable to apply for the E2 visa because of US limitations on which countries are eligible – something only legislation can change, according to the office of Howard Berman, ranking member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Though the legislation does not specify what constitutes a “substantial amount of capital,” the State Department has applied a proportional formula that looks at whether the investment is enough to ensure the establishment and growth of a business and includes some investment risk assumed by the investor, according to Berman’s office.
A companion bill also exists in the Senate.
“Israel is one of our closest allies in the world and a significant investor in the US economy,” Berman, who introduced the House measure, said in a statement. “My legislation will encourage Israeli business leaders to invest in the United States and lead to the creation of jobs for American workers.”