E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

The E category is particularly useful for business personnel who need to stay in the United States (U.S.) to engage in trade or to direct an investment in the U.S. In order to qualify for the E visa, the U.S. must maintain a commerce or navigation treaty with the subject country. The complete list of countries with which the United States maintains commerce and navigation treaties with can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.

The E visa has a few distinct advantages when compared with other business visas like the L-1A or the H-1B visa. Note the following regarding E visas:

  • The E visa category can be used by many types of companies, including a company owned by one investor.
  • The E visa can be used for conducting trade or overseeing an investment in the U.S.
  • The E visa can be used by either the principals or the employees of the company.
Basic Requirements
  1. The treaty must exist between the U.S. and the subject country.
  2. Majority ownership or control of the investing or trading company must be held by nationals of the subject country.
  3. Subject country citizenship must be held by each employee or principal of the company who seeks E status.
E-1 Treaty Trader

In addition to the basic requirements, the applicant must meet the following qualifications.

  1. The trading company must be engaged in "trade."
  2. The trade must be substantial.
  3. The trade must be "principally" between the U.S. and the treaty county.
  4. The employee or principals must serve the company in a specified capacity: either managerial or involving "essential skills."
E-2 Treaty Investor

The E-2 allows nationals of a U.S. treaty country (that is, a country with which the U.S. maintains a commerce or navigation treaty) to come to the U.S. to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. The E-2 applicant must be seeking to enter the U.S. solely to invest and direct the investment enterprise. In addition to the basic requirements, the E-2 Treaty Investor applicant must demonstrate:

  1. A treaty between the U.S. and the country of which the treaty enterprise is a "national,"
  2. At least 50% ownership of the investing enterprise by nationals of the treaty country, and
  3. Citizenship in a treaty country by principal investors and enterprise employees seeking admission through the treaty enterprise.
Important Considerations

It is important to note that the E-2 visa applicant must show that the funds to be invested have not been obtained through criminal enterprises. Additionally, certain family members of the E-1 trader and the E-2 investor can be granted a dependent visa to follow their relative to the U.S.

It must be noted that E visas are not dual intent visas, meaning if an E visa holder files an immigrant petition soon after arriving in the U.S., the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services may suspect fraud. Since the E visa is not dual intent (meaning the E visa applicant must have a "nonimmigrant" intent when applying), the E visa holder must prove his or her intent to return to his or her home country when applying for an E status extension.

For more information about the E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor, contact the Law of Samuel Berger. With over 25 years of experience. Mr. Berger can help you navigate the immigration law to help you obtain the proper visa for your business needs.