Sanwar Ali comment:
What this means in practice is that Israeli nationals will have to apply more frequently for visa renewals than was previously the case. The E2 visa and E1 visa, for example, can be renewed indefinitely for nationals of Israel and other Countries, as long as the business in the US continues.
Having to renew US visas more frequently causes a number of problems. You have the additional cost and inconvenience of applying more often. There is also the possibility that the US visa application will be refused. Each time you apply the USCIS or US Embassy or Consulate have to decide whether or not to grant the visa. President Donald Trump since becoming President has made it more difficult to obtain an US visa.
In a surprise move by the Trump administration, a new policy has reduced visa validity periods for US L1 visas, E1 visas and E2 visas, affecting Israeli nationals. It’s understood that the new visa policy will only affect Israeli applicants and will come into force immediately. Israel was only given access to the US E2 visa route on May 1, 2019.
The validity period for an L1 visa, which allows employers to transfer staff to a US branch of their business, has been reduced from 60 months to 48 months for Israeli nationals.
Meanwhile, the US E1 visa duration was cut from 60 months to 52 months with the F1 student visa slashed from 60 months to 41 months.
E2 visa validity reduction most surprising
Perhaps the most surprising decision is the Trump administration’s reduction of the E2 visa validity period for Israeli citizens.
After years of wrangling and red tape, the US and Israel finally agreed a deal that would allow Israeli citizens to access US E2 visas, with US nationals given access to a reciprocal scheme in Israel.
The US E2 visa was only made available to Israelis in May 2019. The E2 visa is typically valid for five years. However, the maximum validity period granted to Israeli investors is just two years.
On May 6, a commemoration ceremony was held to mark the US-Israel treaty investment agreement.
Following the announcement that the US E2 visa and Israeli B-5 visa would be made available as of May 1, chair of the Israel-America Chamber of Commerce’s Visas Committee, Tsvi Kan-Tor, said: “As someone who has followed for years the process of legislating for work visas in general and the E2 visa in particular, there is no doubt that this is the right solution for the hi-tech sector and Israeli entrepreneurs.”
“This visa has a variety of benefits that do not exist in other temporary work visas, including no requirement for an academic degree or experience, minimum wage or business seniority. In addition, the visa grants a work permit in the US to partners and allows residence outside the US,” Kan-Tor added.
Israel not only country affected by reduction in validity of US visas
Trump’s US visa policies have impacted citizens of nations across the world. H1B visa and L1 visa changes have impacted Indians in particular, while France and Britain have also seen E1 and E2 visa changes affecting entrepreneurs seeking US entry.
Investment, study and work options in the US are becoming increasingly difficult as Trump aims to reinforce his ‘Buy American, Hire American’ policy ahead of presidential elections in 2020.
One of Trump’s key presidential pledges has been to reduce US immigration numbers, with recent data apparently showing that immigrant population growth in the US has slowed in recent years.
According to many analysts, immigrants seeking entry to the US can expect even tougher rules in 2020 as Trump bids for a second term as US president.
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