Business immigration can be a tricky process, but it can be a lot simpler if you are a foreign national from an applicable “Treaty Country.” Throughout the history of the United States we have made certain trade and navigation agreements with other countries throughout the world. Thanks to those treaties, nationals from those countries who are seeking to do a significant amount of business in the United States can qualify for a nonimmigrant E Visa.
There are two types of E visas. The E-1 is for traders from applicable treaty countries while the E-2 is for investors from applicable treaty countries.
In order to qualify as a “treaty trader” with and E-1 classification, the individual must be seeking to enter the US for the purpose of engaging in the substantial trade of goods or services. The definition of “substantial” is decided on a case by case basis, but it generally refers to a significantly high volume of trade.
Treaty traders can qualify if their business involves the trade of a number of possible products between the US and the treaty country. These could include goods, services, transportation, tourism, and international banking amongst other possible trade items.
Additionally, to qualify with an E-1 classification, at least 50% of the applicant’s business must be with the United States. Some employees of business owners who are granted E-1 nonimmigrant status may qualify as well, and the E-1 visa can last for a maximum of two years before it must be renewed. However, there is no maximum on renewals.
The E-2 visa, is for those seeking to make a significant investment in the United States. As with the E-1 classification, E-2 applicants must be a national of a treaty country. “Investment” in this case does not refer to things like stocks, but rather in some sort of business enterprise. The applicant’s desired entranced into the US must be for the intended purpose of investing substantial capital in a US business, or because they already have invested such capital.
A treaty investor must show that they own or will own at least 50% of the business, or that they will have operational control over the business as some sort of manager. They must be investing enough capital to prove that they are fully committed to the success of the business enterprise, and they must be able to prove that the funds did not come from any form of criminal activity.
The likelihood of obtaining the E-2 classification is usually directly correlates to the size of the investment. As with the E-1, employees of the investor can also qualify, and the maximum stay is two years at a time, which can be renewed limitlessly.
The E visa, including the E-1 trader classification and the E-2 investor classification, can be an excellent tool for bringing new business and capital to the United States. Not all countries qualify for both forms of the E visa, so be sure to check which countries qualify as a treaty country for each form. And please contact business immigration attorney Russell Ford in order to learn more about and get started with the E visa application process.