New US-Israel Visa Option Opens Doors for Extended Visits to Israel

For those who invest in Israel with eyes on developing commercial ventures, will soon be able to obtain long-term entry visas.

By Michael Decker

 

There are many Jews and non-Jews around the world with a special interest in Israel, and particularly in the Israeli economy.


For non-Jewish Americans, a very special and unique opportunity is in the offing that would provide a way to financially bless the Israeli economy, be blessed in return by the Israeli economy, and be able to stay in Israel for an extended period of time on a special investment visa.

In 2012, the United States enacted an official arrangement allowing Israeli nationals to receive E-2 nonimmigrant visas if similarly situated American nationals were in turn made eligible for similar nonimmigrant status in Israel.

The Israeli arrangement that is being formulated should be almost identical to the American arrangement, at least as it relates to the investment visa itself, and expert worker’s visas for specialists who would work within the company that will be established by the investor, or within an existing Israeli company wherein the investor has invested.

A team comprised of representatives from various Israeli governmental ministries was formed in order to formulate such an arrangement. The team determined that in order to establish a similar arrangement, a visa will be given to an investor and employee/family members on its behalf which regulates their residence and work in Israel, subject to meeting certain conditions.

Eligibility for the visa will be determined in two stages.

In the first stage, the investment will be judged on its merits specifically, the investor him/herself, the financial and legal aspects of the investment, as well as the nature of the venture.

In the second stage, the people seeking the investment visas and the expert worker’s visas will be examined as individuals, as well as in their role in the project and their essentialness to the venture.

The investor may be an individual or a company. If the applicant is an individual, he/she must be a citizen of the United States with a valid passport. If the applicant is a company, more than 50% of the corporation must be held, controlled and actually operated by an American individual or entity.

Additionally, the investor must show that it has control over the capital that is to be invested in the venture and that it was received through legal means. The investor and others acting on its behalf must prove that they have not previously resided in Israel illegally. The applicants must also submit a federal certificate of good conduct (FBI background check).

The investment itself must be invested in a new commercial Israeli company or in a commercial company that is already in existence that provides services or products for profit and that has been incorporated in Israel and is operated and controlled in Israel.

The most important criteria of the investment is that it constitutes a substantial amount of capital – this will be measured in proportion to the total value of the business venture, and the applicant must show that the capital it intends to bring is expected to be sufficient to successfully operate the business venture.

The accompanying investment visa will be granted for a period of two years, with the possibility of extension.

The visa will be obtained by submitting a specific application form that has yet to be finalized, and that we suggest will be filled out with the assistance of an Israeli attorney. Subsequently, an interview with an Israeli consul will be arranged, and if the consul decides that the request is relevant, it will be forwarded to Israel’s Ministry of Economy.

It should be noted that although this arrangement was approved at a government meeting on March 30th, 2014, the above process has not yet been officially established in Israel. In order to legalize the above decision, the Israeli government may need to legislate specific relevant regulations, and amendments to existing laws.

Notwithstanding, US citizens who wish to come and work in Israel by virtue of a foreign investment may in some cases still be able to do so with an expert worker’s visa. However, this type of visa is for a shorter period of time, and does not provide the same benefits as the investment visa, such as an exemption from tax that is imposed on foreign workers. Let’s therefore hope that the framework for the investment visa will be officially established in Israel in the near future.

Click here to learn more about the process of acquiring an expert worker’s visa in Israel.

We are happy to share this information, and we hope that this unique and special opportunity will be seized by those who are able, who truly support Israel, and who truly would like to join in on the blessing promised to those who bless the seed of Abraham.

 

View original Israel Today publication at: http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24930/Default.aspx

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About the Author:


Michael Decker – Photo: Facebook

Michael Decker has a B.A. in law and is a licensed attorney in Israel, and a partner in the law offices of Yehuda Raveh & Co., which handles hundreds of immigration cases into Israel each year. Michael also serves as Senior Legal Advisor to the Jerusalem Institute of Justice.

For further inquiries regarding the issues mentioned in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Michael at: mdecker@yrlegal.co.il.

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