E-1 and E-2 visas allow nonimmigrant treaty leaders and investors to temporarily come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the nonimmigrant’s country of origin. There are two general types of E visa. The E-1 visa is available to treaty traders who conduct substantial trade in goods. The E-2 visa is available to treaty and investors who invest a substantial amount of money and direct the operations of an enterprise they have invested in or are actively investing in. Additionally, the E-3 visa is available to Australians who work in a specialty occupation.
What are the differences between the E-1 and E-2 visas?
The E-1 visa is available to individuals participating in the trade of goods with the United States and who are citizens of countries with which the United States has a standing applicable treaty of commerce and application. E-1 visa holders are admitted to the United States solely to participate in international trade on their own behalf. Certain employees of an E-1 visa holder or of a qualifying organization may also receive an E-1 visa.
The E-2 visa is available to individuals participating in investment in a United States business and who are citizens of countries with which the United States has a standing applicable treaty of commerce and navigation. Certain employees of an E-2 visa holder or of a qualifying organization may also receive an E-2 visa.
Who qualifies for each type of E visa?
To qualify for an E-1 visa, an individual must:
To qualify for an E-2 visa, an individual must:
What qualifies as trade under the E-1 visa?
Trade is defined as the existing international exchange of items for consideration between the United States and the treaty country.
Substantial trade refers to an amount of trade that ensures a continuous volume of international trade items between the United States and the treaty country. There is no minimum monetary value requirement for each transaction; instead, the amount of exchanges combined with their value is relevant to determining substantiality.
Principal trade exists when over 50% of the volume of international trade of the treaty trader is between the trader’s country and the United States.
Some items of trade include:
What qualifies as investment under the E-2 visa?
Investment is defined as the treaty investor’s placing of a substantial amount of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in a bona fide enterprise with the goal of producing profit. The investment must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails and the treaty investor must show that the funds have not been achieved from criminal activity, either directly or indirectly. The investment cannot be speculative or idle — it must be in a real operating enterprise.
A substantial amount of capital means:
A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active, and operational commercial or entrepreneurial endeavor that produces goods or services for profit and is legally operative in its jurisdiction.
An investment enterprise deemed “marginal” does not qualify as bona fide under the E-2 visa. An investment enterprise is marginal if it 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.
What is the process for obtaining an E visa?
The application process for obtaining an E-1 and E-2 visa is essentially similar, though certain different information is required based on the purpose of each visa and some distinctions may exist depending on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the applicant submits his or her petition.
Generally, the applicant must:
How much does it cost to get an E visa?
The application fee for an E visa is $205. An issuance fee may also need to be paid one the applicant’s visa is approved, depending on the applicant’s nationality.
What countries qualify under an E visa?
Numerous countries qualify under either the E-1 visa, the E-2 visa, or both. A full listing of qualifying countries and the applicable visa is available at the United States Department of State website.
How long are E visas valid?
The initial length of stay for E visa holders is capped at two years. Extensions may be granted in increments of two years each and there is no limit to the number of extensions E visa holders may be granted.