The Treaty Trader or Investor nonimmigrant visa classification is generally known as the E visa and is used for business owners, managers, and employees who conduct trade between the United States or need to oversee investments in the United States. Traders are classified as E-1, while investors are classified as E-2. The E visa is generally available when the following criteria are fulfilled
1) A treaty of commerce and navigation, or bilateral investment treaty exists between the United States and the foreign country of which the treaty trader or investor is a citizen or national.
2) Majority ownership or control of the investing or trading company is held by nationals of the foreign country, and
3) Foreign country citizenship is held by each employee or principal of the company who seeks E status under the treaty.
The E-1 visa allows traders to engage in trade of a substantial nature between the United States and the foreign national’s country. Applicants for the E-1 visa must show that the enterprise is engaged in substantial trade between the U.S. and the foreign country, and that said trade is the principal activity of the enterprise.
The E-2 visa allows a foreign national to direct and develop operations of an enterprise in which they have invested or are actively involved in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. Investors must show that they are involved in an active, substantial investment in the United States, where the investor is at risk for losing his investment. Applications under either category require substantial documentation.
E-1 and E-2 visas are initially granted for a period of two years and may be extended an unlimited number of times in increments of up to two years. However, nonimmigrants in E status must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is otherwise terminated.
The requirements and documentation for obtaining an E visa are extensive and oftentimes complex. Contact the attorneys at our AV rated immigration law firm to discuss whether this visa is an option for you and your business, and to receive assistance throughout the entire process.