THE E-1 TREATY TRADERVISA
Foreign nationalswith money to invest into a new or existing U.S. businessor who are seeking entry into the U.S. for the purpose of carrying on substantial trade in goods, services or technology between their home country and the U.S. may qualify for an E Treaty visa. These two categories are further enumerated below.
E-1 VISA Treaty Trader:
The applicant must be a national of a treaty country.
The trading company 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, (more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality);
Here, trade means the global exchange of goods, services, and technology on an international basis.
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.
THE E-2 TREATY INVESTOR (investment of capital in a new enterprise)
If you have capital to invest in a new or existing U.S. business, and are seeking entry into the United States to develop and direct the enterprise, you may qualify for an E-2 treaty investor visa.
To qualify, the following must be met:
The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country;
The investment must be substantial & sufficient enough to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
US Immigration has defined substantial to mean that the percentage of investment for the business must be substantial in proportion to the overall cost of operating the business. For instance, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher the investment must be.
The investment funds must be actively invested in a real operating enterprise.Approval will not be given for investments which are only speculative or idle in nature. Similarly, uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
- The investment cannot be marginal & must generate significantly more income than just providing a living to the investor and his 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 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.
EMPLOYEES OF A FOREIGN COMPANY
If the foreign national is not the principal investor, but rather an employee of the enterprise, or if a company seeks to send employees to the United States to work for the U.S. company, the following additional requirements must be met:
- Both the enterprise and the employee must share the same nationality (i.e. French);
- The enterprise must be at least 50% owned or controlled by a foreign investor of the same nationality as the employee;
- The employee must be coming to the US to perform work in a supervisory, executive or highly skilled capacity on behalf of the enterprise (general labor or work duties will not suffice);
As each investment opportunity and business enterprise presents its own unique set of circumstances, the approval of the visa application is incumbent upon presenting the business enterprise and investment opportunity in the best light. If you believe that you may qualify for an E visa, please contact our office to discuss your situation further.
The E visa for an employee is different from that of an Intracompany transferee or L1 visa discussed further here. The E1 or E2 visa is very flexible in that a person may remain in the U.S. in E status for as long as the enterprise continues to operate. Also, dependents and spouses of the principal E visa holder may also enter and remain in the U.S. with the principal E visa holder. Spouses of the E visa principal are also eligible to obtain work authorization.
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