E-1 / E-2
E categories are available for an enterprise or an individual engaged in trade between the United states and a foreign state (E-1) or an enterprise that represent a major investment in the United States (E-2). However, the E visas will only be available if a “treaty of commerce and navigation” or a “bilateral investment treaty” providing for non-immigrant entries is in existence between the US and the foreign state. If an enterprise qualifies under E-2 requirements, the enterprise can sponsor the investors, managers or employees who qualify under E-2 requirements.
Basic Requirements For E-2 Visa
- A treaty must exist between the US and the enterprise or investor’s country;
- At least 50% of the ownership or control of the enterprise, investment, or company is held by a national of the treaty country; and
- Investors, managers, or employees seeking E-2 status must have the same nationality as the treaty country.
Special Requirements For E-1 (Trader)
- Must be an enterprise that is engaged in “trade” (exchange, purchase or sale of goods or services);
- The trade must be “substantial”, as measured by the volume of trade, number of transactions, and the continuous nature of the trade;
- The trade must be principally between the US and the treaty county, meaning that more than 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the US and the treaty county; and
- the employee or principal seeking E-1 status must serve the enterprise as either a manager (executive positions) or an employee who possess skills that are essential to the successful operation of the enterprise.
Special Requirements For E-2 (Investor)
- E-2 requires an “active” investment, meaning that it must be a real operating enterprise producing some service or commodity, and not merely an inactive property investment.
- The amount of investment must be substantial. There is no minimum dollar amount. However, the investment must be substantial enough to establish a viable enterprise (in the case of a start up) or must be proportional to the total value of such particular enterprise (in the case of an investment in an existing business);
- The investment must not be marginal in nature, meaning that the investment must not only support the investor and his/her family, but it must also create job opportunities for U.S. workers; and
- The person who is seeking E-2 status must be either an investor (who will develop and direct the investment), a manager (who has qualified managerial experience), or an employee (who possess skills that are essential to the successful operation of the enterprise).