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E visas for Investors and Traders


The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. An E-2 visa on the other hand, allows foreign nationals to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. Certain employees of such entities can also be eligible for E visas. E visa holders are initially granted a period of admission for two (2) years with an unlimited number of two-year extensions of status. Spouses of E visa holders are eligible for employment authorization.

E Visa Eligibility

Nationality of the Treaty Trader or Investor: Whether an individual, business or employee of an individual or business, the foreign national must be a national of a country with which the U.S. maintains a Treaty of Commerce and Navigation.

Ownership of the Trading Business: The nationality of the company's stockholders is significant. At least 50% of the corresponding E-1 business must be owned by nationals of the Treaty Country.

Qualifications and Activities of the Foreign National: Employees of an E company must be engaged in activities that are executive, managerial, or supervisory in character; or possess special qualifications that will be rendered essential for the efficient operation of the business.

Nature of the Trade Undertake for E-1 purposes: A foreign trader who seeks an E-1 visa status must meet all the following requirements:

  1. The trade must be substantial: there must be a continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time.
  2. The trade must be international in scope: at least 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the U.S. and the trader's treaty country.
  3. The trade must involve qualifying activities: the trade must involve the commercial exchange of goods or services in the international market place.

Nature of the Investment for E-2 purpose: A foreign investor who seeks an E-2 visa must meet the following requirements:

  1. The investor must have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
  2. The investment enterprise may not be marginal. A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.
  3. The investment must be a bona fide enterprise, meaning a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit

Immigration Law Associates, PC has prepared many E-1 and E-2 visa applications on behalf of new and established organizations wishing to do business in the U.S. If you would like to discuss your plans for starting a business in the United States (or renewing your current E-1 or E-2 status), please call our office at (847) 763-8500 or Contac Us.