Last week, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3992, bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Howard Berman (CA28), which would further open America to direct investment by Israeli investors, provided Israel reciprocates with similar opportunities for American investors. The law adds Israel to a list of 80 countries whose citizens are eligible for E-2 investor visas.
E-2 visas are temporary visas granted to investors from a particular list of treaty countries. To qualify for this visa, foreign national investors must intend to come to the United States to develop and direct the operations of a business in which the foreign national must have invested — or be in the process of investing — a substantial amount of capital in the enterprise. In Fiscal Year 2011, the United States issued 28, 245 visas for this purpose.
Israel is a significant trade partner with the United States. In 2011, bilateral trade with Israel totaled $26.9 billion, and it is among the U.S.’s top 10 largest per capita export markets. Israel is a world leader in security and defense technologies, medicine, agriculture and clean energy. As we work to build an America Built to Last, and get our economy back on track, the Obama Administration is focused on supporting and generating investment in these and other critical industries.
This legislation was co-sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans and passed the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate unanimously. As Rep. Berman stated the day the legislation passed, “This bill sends enterprising Israeli investors a clear and unambiguous message: the United States is open for business. The expansion of Israeli enterprises here will result in job creation for American workers.”
To read the text of the Rep. Berman’s bill, click here.