B-5 Investor Visa

B-5 Investor Visa

Israel and the United States have had a strong, dynamic, commercial, and economic relationship for many years.  The government’s decision to introduce an investor visa in Israel for U.S. citizens.

B-5 is an investor’s visa which provides an opportunity for qualifying US entrepreneurs to enter and work in Israel in order to develop and direct their Israeli business. The B-5 can be used to start a business or buy an existing business. Key employees of the qualifying company, who are also US nationals can also be eligible for derivative status.

How can a company qualify for B-5 status?

The B-5 visa is issued to a qualifying organization which meets the following regulatory requirements:

  1. "Nationality" - For B-5 purposes, the majority (50%) of the issued shares must be held by nationals of the US. 
  2. “The Investment” - You must have invested or be actively in the process of investing, which requires that you:

Show legitimate “Possession and Control of the Funds” - The investor must own and control the capital invested in the business, and be able to identify the legal source of the funds. The funds may come from inter alia, a business, family, property owned by the investor, inheritance, savings and gifts. There are specific criteria for the use of loans as part of the initial investment.

All funds invested are “At Risk” & Irrevocably Committed” - The B-5 investor must establish that funds have already been invested, or, that he/she is actively in the process of investing in the Israeli company. The investor must demonstrate that the capital has been irrevocably committed to the proposed B-5 business to the point of no return. The investment must not be “speculative” or unsubstantiated.

The investment must be “Substantial” - There is no set monetary minimum as to how much capital must be invested. Instead, the investment must be enough to ensure, to a reasonable extent, that the business invested in is not speculative, but is, or soon will be, a successful enterprise as a result of sound business and financial judgment.

General Information about the Treaty and the Israel and US Trade

The permit is granted to non EU nationals, intending to stay and Work in Poland for the performance of work as a manager, specialist or a trainee employee, for the parent company, seated outside the territory of the EU Member States, the member countries of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) and the Swiss Confederation, for a period longer than 3 months.  

Key requirement is prior employment of the assignee, within the same enterprise or the same group of companies:

 

Managers and specialists, prior employment contract should last 12 months.

trainee employees - prior employment contract should last 6 months.

With this permit, the assignee may perform work in other EU countries for up to 30 days within 180 days per each EU member state, without the necessity to obtain a work permit in each EU country.

The permit is valid for up to 3 years for managers and specialists and up to 1 year for trainees.

What will be regarded as a qualifying investment?

The investment must be:

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established business or establishing a new one.
    Sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the business.
    Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the investor will successfully develop and direct the business. The lower the cost of the business, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
  • Your Investment Cannot Be Marginal

A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and his or her family. A new business might not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate income if it can be shown the business has the capacity to generate income within five years from the date that the investor’s E-2 classification begins.

  • The Business Must Be Operational

In order for the company to receive B-5 2 status, it must be shown that the business is already in its “operational stage”, such as the production of goods or the actual provision of services has begun. As a rule, you cannot apply for a visa if the business is not ready to start business activities immediately upon receipt of the visa.

  • You Must Be in a Position to “Develop & Direct” the Business

The investor may apply for B-5 status as the owner of the company or the owner may send key employees who qualify based upon nationality and hold the requisite skills to “develop and direct the enterprise”. An employee must meet the following eligibility requirements:

Be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory nature; or
If employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications which make the employee’s services “essential” to the efficient operation of the business.

What are the benefits of the B-5 visa category?
  • There is no required investment amount.
  • The investment may consist in part of borrowed funds.
  • The B-5 Visa can be obtained by either purchasing an existing business or creating a new business in Israel.
  • B-5 investors/employees can receive initial ability to enter and work in Israel for 2 years.
  • There is no limitation as to the number of extensions, as long as the company continues to meet the requirements of the visa.
  • No prior employment with the company is required.
  • Spouses may obtain work authorization for employment in Israel.
What is the application process for the B-5 visa?

Normally, a petition letter for the company, the employee and supporting documentation is submitted to the Consulate by registered mail. Once the file is reviewed the B-5 visa applicant will be invited to an interview. 

The applicant must provide a petition letter and additional required documents at the time of visa interview.

General Information about  the Treaty and the Israel and US Trade

 In 2013, the exchange of commerce between the U.S. and Israel – mainly commerce manufactured by the chemical industry, such as machinery and mechanical equipment – reached approximately $27 billion. In 2017, the exchange of commerce between the U.S. and Israel – mainly commerce manufactured by the chemical industry, such as machinery and mechanical equipment – reached approximately $66 billion.


The government’s bill to introduce an investor visa in Israel was passed on March 30, 2014, and will enable American investors who have, or wish to make a significant investment in a business or entrepreneurship (that holds the potential of contributing to the Israeli market), to work in Israel and develop their investment.


The total sum of direct foreign investments in Israel during 2016 stood at $11 billion. Over $2 billion was invested in Israel by Americans in 2016, and the U.S. is currently at the top of the list of countries that invest in Israel. Comparably, Israel has been the source of $10 billion invested in the U.S., and as such, is ranked as one of the top 20 countries that invest in the U.S. Throughout the past decade, the direct foreign investments from Israel to the U.S. stood at approximately $60 billion. Israel invested in the U.S. almost as much as China did, and in 2010, was one of the top 20 countries whose direct investments in the U.S. were highest. Israel was even ranked higher than countries such as Brazil, India, Russia, and Taiwan.


Hundreds of Israeli companies operate in the U.S. in a variety of different industrial sectors, including production, research, development, and professional services through subsidiary companies and/or business partners.  The investor visa enables investors and their employees to transfer and work in Israel to develop their investment. To receive a work permit or an extension of the permit, the investor will need to prove that the investment is active and that the company is developing in such a way that will contribute to the Israeli economy.


The U.S. and Israeli governments have only continued to strengthen their cooperation and ties after approving the law that enables Israeli citizens to apply for the investor visa (E-2) in the U.S.  After been approved by the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, Israel is currently writing the procedures that would enable a U.S. citizen and his / her employee who is essential to this investment in Israel, as well as the family of the U.S citizen to begin applying for the investor visa in Israel.  U.S. citizens will have the ability to apply for the Israeli investor visa in the free trade areas (Washington, Chicago, New York, Houston, and San Francisco), after which it will be reviewed by an inter-office committee made up of representatives of the Population Immigration and Border Authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance.


KTA will assist your company to establish a B-5 Investor status. 

Get in contact with us.