Israeli Innovation Visas for Foreign Entrepreneurs

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Israel has been called the start-up nation, and Israeli based Hi-Tech companies have thrived on a global level. However, in practice due to the strict Israeli immigration policy, it has been difficult for foreign entrepreneurs to establish new companies in Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Economy together with the Israeli department of immigration have been aware of this problem and aim to launch in the next few months a new visa category in Israel termed, “Innovation visas for foreign entrepreneurs”.

Mr. Avi Hasson, Israel’s chief scientist at the Ministry of Economy said about the new Israeli visa program: “The State of Israel is known the world over as a source of technological innovation and as country with a uniquely supportive environment. The program will allow foreign entrepreneurs to come to the country and acquaint themselves with this environment. We believe this program will receive responses from entrepreneurs who will be able to develop their ideas and establish unique start-ups through it. I have no doubt that the entrepreneurs who will come to the country through the program will then become ambassadors of goodwill for Israel around the world.”

Foreign entrepreneurs who wish to establish a start-up company in Israel will be required to work for the first two years in cooperation with recognized local Israeli companies. A foreign entrepreneur seeking to receive the Israeli innovation visa will be asked to submit an application to a committee at the Israeli chief scientist office, who will approve the application based on the quality of the application. If approved, the foreign entrepreneur will receive a visa recommendation from the Ministry of Economy. This recommendation is presented before the department of immigration at the Israeli Ministry of Interior, which has the final authority to issue visas in Israel. The innovation visa will be valid for a maximum of two years.  

The innovation visa program will start with a three year trial period in which fifty Israeli innovation visas for foreign entrepreneurs will be issued. After two years the foreign entrepreneur, who wishes to stay longer in Israel and develop his own start-up company, will be granted the possibility to establish an Israeli company and apply for a B/1 expert worker visa to Israel.

Israel is known internationally as a hub of technological innovation, and this new visa program will make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to cooperate with the local industry and develop start-up industries in Israel.