In 2012, then-President Barack Obama signed legislation allowing nationals of Israel to apply for E-2 treaty investor status, but benefit would not be available until Israel provided similar status to U.S. nationals. In March 2014, the Israeli government passed such a bill creating B-5 status for American investors. Further enabling regulations were necessary, however, because Israel had no path for granting work permits to foreign nationals based on investment alone. On June 21, 2018, the Interior Committee of the Knesset enacted the necessary regulations. Now, it is up to the U.S. Department of State to determine if the Israeli legislation meets the “similarity of status” requirement, i.e., is it reciprocal?

According to USCIS, to qualify for E-2 treaty investor status the investor must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States;
  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device;
  • The investment must be at risk; and
  • The funds invested must not have been obtained directly or indirectly from criminal activity.

E-2 treaty investor status is distinct from E-1 treaty trader status. Israel has been eligible for E-1 treaty trader status since 1949, but that status requires the company already to be carrying on substantial trade. It also requires such trade to be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country which qualifies the treaty trader for E-1 status. These requirements would not cover start-ups or entrepreneurs who wish to create businesses or subsidiaries in the United States.

Jackson Lewis will continue to follow the progress of E-2 treaty investor status for Israel and provide updates as soon as they are available.

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Photo of Forrest G. Read IV Forrest G. Read IV

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice…

Forrest Read is a Principal in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He has extensive experience in both business immigration law and employment law and has particular focus in legal issues in graduate medical education (GME).

Mr. Read’s immigration practice focuses on assisting employers in obtaining employment-based nonimmigrant visas (e.g., H-1B, L, O, TN) for foreign national employees and work-related immigrant (green card) visas, including PERM Labor Certifications, and advising employers on compliance with U.S. immigration laws and regulations. He has broad experience in advising large, mid-size and small employers on their various immigration needs and developing strategies to help them navigate through complex immigration issues. He also has particular experience in counseling employers in the health care industry and addressing immigration-related issues that arise for their broad range of health care professional employees (including advising on and obtaining employment authorization for medical residents and fellows and obtaining J-1 visa waivers for foreign national physicians completing their medical training in the United States). His immigration practice also includes defending employers in connection with Department of Labor H-1B and H-2B investigations.

Mr. Read’s employment law experience includes representing management, particularly academic medical centers in the GME context, in a wide array of workplace disputes and litigation before federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including matters related to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, disability, family and medical leave, various wage and hour issues, contracts, and intentional torts. He advises academic medical centers on the interplay between applicable academic law and employment law and the ramifications of what are divergent legal requirements and standards. Mr. Read also provides counsel with respect to the legal impact of competency standards for residents and trainees in GME, including situations involving discipline, remediation, and dismissal. He provides advice and guidance in the peer review process, including provision of verification and assessment of training in response to third party inquiries.

As a member of the Firm’s Corporate Diversity Counseling group, Mr. Read also has experience in providing assessments and making recommendations to corporate and institutional clients with respect to diversity and inclusion policies and initiatives, conducting related internal investigations, and shaping, developing and enforcing effective policies and initiatives to ensure consistency with client values and in furtherance of business goals and objectives.