E Visa – Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor

Overview:
The E category visa is useful for foreign business persons, investors, managers, and employees who need to stay in the United States for extended periods of time to oversee an enterprise that represents a major investment in the United States.

The E visa category is available only to nationals of countries with which the United States signed a “treaty of commerce and navigation” or a “bilateral investment treaty”. (Click here for the List of Treaty Countries)

The E classification is divided into two categories.

E1 Visa: Treaty Trader Visa

Overview:
The E-1treaty trader visa is for individuals coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade between the United States and the applicant’s country of nationality.

Requirements:
To qualify for an E1treaty trader visa:

    • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country; and
    • The U.S. trading entity must be owned in majority (at least 50%) by nationals of applicant’s treaty country; and
    • The trading activity must be substantial, sizable and continuous;
    • The trade must be principally (at least 50%) between the United States and the applicant’s treaty country; and
    • The items of the trade (products, services, etc.) must already exist.

The E-1 visa applicant can be a trader or a key employee including a supervisor, an executive or a highly specialized skilled individual whose services are essential to the efficient operation of the U.S. trading company.  Please note, that a key employee must have the same nationality as the E-1 employer to qualify for an E-1 status.

E2 Visa: Treaty Investor Visa

Overview:
The E-2 investor visa is for individuals coming to the U.S. to direct and develop the business operations of an entity in which they have already invested or are actively in the process of investing funds.

Requirements:
To qualify for an E-2 investor visa:

    • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country; and
    • The investor must control the U.S. company by owning at least 50% of its stock; and
    • The investor must commit funds in a real operating enterprise. Passive or speculative investments are not considered qualifying investments. The investor can invest in a start-up company or purchase a qualifying existing business; and
    • The investor must have control of the funds invested in the U.S. enterprise; and
    • The investment must be substantial with no minimum investment required. The Department of State and USCIS look at the amount necessary to establish a viable enterprise based on the nature of the activity;
    • The funds invested must be at risk, meaning that the capital must be subjected to total or partial loss if the investment fails, and
    • The enterprise cannot be marginal. It must have the capacity to generate more income than the minimal living for the investor and his/her family or to have a significant economic impact in the U.S. by creating job opportunities, and the like.

The E-2 visa applicant can be the investor, or a key employee including an executive, a supervisor or a highly specialized skilled individual whose services are essential to the efficient operation of the U.S. enterprise. Please note, that a key employee must have the same nationality as the E-2 employer to qualify for an E-2 status.

 

E-1 and E-2 Visas – General Information

Period of Stay:
The length of the time on an E visa is determined by the alien’s country of nationality. (Click here to see Reciprocity Schedule.) The maximum validity period of an E visa is usually 5 years. However, it can be extended indefinitely—usually in five-year increments—upon compliance with the visa requirements. Please, note that even though the E visa can be granted for up to a five-year period, the E visa holders will only be admitted in the U.S. for a two-year period at a time.

E visa holders are not required to maintain a foreign residence, as long as it is their intention to leave the United States when their period of stay expires. 

Maintaining a Lawful E Status:
The E visa holders are expected to maintain their status by engaging in the activities permitted by the Department of State and US Citizenship and Immigration Services. A substantive change in the U.S. entity’s basic characteristic, including a merger, acquisition, sale, or others, requires the filing of a new petition.

Route to the Green Card:
The E status can also be a path to the green card through the EB-5 Permanent Immigration category. (Click here for more information on EB-5.)

Family members of the principal E visa holders:
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of a principal E visa holder are also entitled to the E status, regardless of their nationality and for the same period of time as the principal.

The spouse of an E visa holder is eligible for work authorization. The spouse must file an application for employment authorization with the Department of Homeland Security and the card is normally issued within 90 days of application.

The unmarried children under 21 of an E visa holder are not authorized to work but they can attend school under their E status.

For more information about this visa category contact us today to schedule a professional consultation with an Immigration Attorney. Call (305) 515-VISA (8472) or click here.

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