Investors And Treaty Traders E-1/E-2
Nationals of many countries are eligible to obtain Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor visas. Click here for a list of participating countries. The investment enterprise must be majority-owned by a citizen and national of a treat country. A treaty trader may be eligible for an E-1 Treaty Trader if at least 51% of the company’s trade occurs between the treaty country and the U.S. An E-2 Treaty Investor visa requires a substantial investment in a U.S. business. The investment funds must be under the sole control of the treaty investor. There is no fixed amount required for an investment. Instead, the investment amount must be deemed substantial in relationship to the nature of the business, the startup costs and/or the value of the enterprise.
More specifically, E-2 Treaty Investors must establish:
- Requisite treaty exists with the applicant’s country of citizenship;
- Individual and/or business possess the nationality of the treaty country;
- Applicant has invested or is actively in the process of investing;
- Enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise;
- Applicant’s investment is substantial;
- Investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living;
- Applicant is in a position to “develop and direct” the enterprise;
- Applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States; and
- Applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates.
E visas may also be issued to managers, executives and essential employees of the same nationality who work for the U.S. branch office.
Prior approval from USCIS is not required. Instead, a treaty trader or investor is permitted to make their application directly to the U.S. Consulate in their home country. The visas may be granted for an initial period of up to five years. For individuals who apply in the U.S., the Immigration Service will grant a treaty investor/trader status for up to two-years. A treaty investor or trader can extend their status indefinitely. However, E visa holders who are approved for E-1 or E-2 status by USCIS in the U.S. will still need to make a “de novo” E visa application to a U.S. Consulate to obtain an E visa if they wish to travel abroad, with the possible exception of traveling to Canada or Mexico for brief periods.
Spouses and minor children may accompany E visa holders. In addition, spouses of E visa holders are allowed to request work authorization.