E-1 TREATY TRADER AND E-2 TREATY INVESTOR VISA

E-1 and E-2 Visas are for foreign business persons, investors, managers, and employees who want to stay in the United States for an extended time to oversee: (1) a commercial enterprise that is engaged in trade between the United States and a foreign country; or (2) a major investment in the United States. Only nationals of a country with a trade and commerce treaty with the United States are eligible for an E-1 or E-2 Visa. You must be a national of a country on this list, but do not necessarily need to currently live there. 


E-1 TREATY TRADER VISA

The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa is used to remain in the United States to oversee a business engaged in trade between the United States and a foreign country. The purpose of this visa is to facilitate international trade.  

To qualify for an E1 Visa, an applicant must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be a National of Treaty Country. The applicant must be a national of a treaty country.  
  • Must be engaged in substantial trade, principally with the US.
  • The trade must be substantial and  documented. Title must pass from one party to the other. Substantial Trade is the continuous flow of trade involving numerous transactions over time. Secondary weight is given to the dollar value of the transactions. 
  • The trade with the US must be the majority of the Applicant’s international trade.  
  • Must possess the intent to leave the US upon termination of status. 
  • An Applicant Business Owner must show he/she controls the business through 50% ownership, or operationally. 
  • An Applicant Executive/Supervisory/Essential Employee must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.



E-2 TREATY INVESTOR VISAS

The E-2 “treaty investor” visa permits individuals from treaty countries to conduct business in the US on an ongoing basis. E-2 visa holders must make a substantial investment in a U.S. business that is majority-owned by his or her countrymen. 


The important difference between E-1 and E-2 visas is that E-2 visa holders must make a sizable investment in a U.S. concern in order to qualify.  The size of investment may vary, but an investor must generally invest at least $50,000 in a qualifying company. In some cases, the threshold may be as high as $200,000. You must also must furnish proof the investment is adequate to fund company operations for a fixed period of time and will require the creation of new jobs for American citizens or permanent residents. 

To qualify for an E2 Treaty Investor Visa, an applicant must meet the following requirements:


  • Must be a National of Treaty Country.  
  • The Investment: (a) must be substantial, sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business; (b) must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investments do not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not an investment; (c) must generate significant income, more than just a living to the investor and family, or must have significant economic impact in the U.S.
  • The investor must control the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with company assets are not allowed.
  • An Applicant  Business Owner must show he/she controls the enterprise through 50% ownership or operational control. 
  • Must possess the intent to leave the US upon termination of status. 
  • An Applicant Business Owner must show he/she controls the business through 50% ownership, or operationally. 
  • An Applicant Executive/Supervisory/Essential Employee must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.


 Supporting Documentation

Applications for E-1 and E-2 visas are generally submitted at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Each applicant must submit these forms and documentation: (i)  Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160; (ii) Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E, completed and signed; (iii) a passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person must complete a Form DS-160 application; and (iv) One (1) 2×2 photograph.

An applicant establish their business complies with the visa requirements, and the consulate is likely to request additional documentation.  It is impossible to specify the exact documentation required since circumstances vary from one case to the other. ​


​​​Lee Rudnicki

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