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E1 & E2 Treaty Trader & Investor Visas

E1 & E2 Treaty Trader & Investor VisasThe United States maintains treaties of commerce with about 80 different countries (view a list of these countries). Foreign nationals from these countries, along with their spouses and children, can apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa in order to enter the United States if they meet certain criteria.

What is an E-1 visa?

An E-1 visa is a treaty trader visa that is available to individuals who meet the following criteria:

1.) The individual must be a foreign national of a country that has an E-1 treaty with the United States

2.) The individual must be entering the United States solely to carry on substantial international trade principally between the United States and the country of which he/she is a foreign national

a.) Although “substantial” is not defined, the volume of exchange must be sufficient to insure a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country

b.) Also, for trade to be considered principally between the United States and the treaty country the trade should amount to more than 50% of the total volume of international trade between the two countries

3.) The individual must also be either:

a.) A key employee from a treaty country, including executives, supervisors, or persons who are essential to be efficient operation of the enterprise; or

b.) A principal employer with nationality of a treaty country or an enterprise that is 50% or more owned by treaty national

What is an E-2 visa?

An E-2 visa is a treaty investor visa that is available to individuals who meet the following criteria:

1.) The individual must be a foreign national of a country that has an E-1 treaty with the United States

2.) The individual must be entering the United States solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested, or of an enterprise in which he is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital

a.) Although “substantial” is not defined by a specified amount, the following amounts are considered in determining whether the investment is substantial:

i.) The amount of funds invested compared to the total cost of creating the enterprise;

ii.) The amount normally considered sufficient to allow for the successful operation of the enterprise; and

iii.) The likelihood that the amount invested will ensure successful development of the enterprise by the investor

3.) The individual must also be either:

a.) A key employee from a treaty country, including executives, supervisors, or persons who are essential to be efficient operation of the enterprise; or

b.) A principal employer with nationality of a treaty country or an enterprise that is 50% or more owned by treaty national

4.) Investment cannot be solely to earn a living for the investor and his/her family

a.) The enterprise should have the capacity to generate more than minimal living for the investor’s family. If the enterprise is not considered capable of having the present or future capacity of generating more than a minimal standard of living for the investor and his/her family, the enterprise will be considered “marginal” and the E-2 visa will be denied.

How Long Can an E-1 and E-2 Visa Holder Stay in the United States?

E-1 and E-2 visas allow the individuals to stay in the United States for an indefinite period of time. So long as the amount of trade or investment the individual is engaged in remains sufficient, the individual can stay in the United States.