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E-1 and E-2

Introduction

The E visa is applied by people from a foreign country which has a "treaty of commerce and navigation" or a "bilateral investment treaty" to come to the United States to conduct trade between the two counties (E-1) or to invest in the United States (E-2).

The purpose of E visas is to give effect to those treaties between the United States and foreign countries to provide mutual benefits to the people of the countries to invest or conduct international trades between the two countries. E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas that allows the visa holders to stay in the United States to conduct investment or international trade.

Highlights of E-1 and E-2 Visas

  • For a list of treaty countries, please refer to the U.S. State Department's TREATY COUNTRIES list.

  • Treaty Trader E-1 Requirements (cited from the U.S. State Department's website):

    • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country;

    • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must have the nationality of the treaty country;

    • The international trade must be "substantial" in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade;

    • The trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality;

    • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other; and

    • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

  • Treaty Investor E-2 Requirements (cited from the U.S. State Department's website):

    • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country;

    • The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise;

    • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment;

    • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States;

    • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed; and

    • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

  • One major advantage of the E-1 and E-2 visas is that the period of stay for visa holders can be extended almost indefinitely. Unlike H-1B or L-1 visas, which has a limitation of stay of a few years, E-1 and E-2 visa holders can repeatly apply for extension to stay in the United States as long as the treaty continues to exist and the trade or investment continues to operate.

 

If you wish to apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa, please contact our office for a free evaluation of your case.

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