E-1 or E-2 Visa?

The “E” visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means that it is issued for a certain amount of time as set by a treaty and can be renewed at any time. The E visa it is available only to those people who are nationals from a country that has a specific type of treaty with the United States.

There are two main types of E visas: the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa, and the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.

There are few primary requirements of an E visa:

–         the alien must be a national from a country with a specific treaty with the U.S.

–         the company also must be considered a national from the same country as alien (this means at least 50% ownership of the company must be held by qualifying people from the country)

–         there must be “substantial” trade (E-1) or investment (E-2)

–         the individual must serve the company in either a managerial function or a function with “essential skills”.

–         There is no set amount that qualifies as “substantial”.

Because the E visa is a non-immigrant visa, the applicant must leave the United States upon the expiration of E status.

 The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa is available to people who will enter the U.S. “solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or in technology” primarily between the United States and the foreign country of which the person is a national.

A “substantial” trade can depend on several factors, including the volume of trade, the number of transactions and the continuous course of trade.

 On the other hand, an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, is available to people who enter the U.S. “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital”.

The investment must be active, not passive. Which means that the business should have some employees or sub-contractors and definitely have the potential to add more employees.

In this case, a substantial investment can depend on different factors including the amount of investment compared to the total value of the enterprise, the usual amount required in a similar enterprise and the investment cannot be marginal.

An immigration law firm can help you establish E Visa eligibility.

 Another advantage for an E Visa holder is that spouses and children can also gain status through this visa and spouses can get a work authorization.