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E Trader/Investor Visa

E Visa in General

The E Visa allows foreign organizations involved in international trade or making an investment in the United States to send their representatives to oversee their business’ U.S. activities. The E Visa is only available to organizations and nationals of those countries that have entered into a trade or investment treaty with the United States.

General Requirements

First, the organization must be a national of a selected country.  The nationality of an organization is determined by the nationality of its owners.  Fifty percent or more of the owners must be nationals of a selected country for their organization to be considered a national of that country.

Second, the individual representative of the organization who is being sent to the United States to oversee the organization’s activities must also be a national of the same country as the organization.

The E Visa is subdivided into two sub-classifications:  The E-1 Visa for Trade Organizations and the E-2 Visa for Investment Organizations.

Specific Requirements for E-1 Visa

The E-1 Visa is available to companies form selected countries engaged in the substantial trade between that country and the United States.

More than 50% of the organization’s international trade must be between the United States and the qualifying country of origin.  A background of trade between the selected foreign country and its U.S. subsidiary is required.  The kind of trade may include services such as computer consulting or marketing.

An individual representative must be either performing supervisory or executive duties or, in the alternative, must have special skills that cannot be found in a U.S. worker but are essential in conducting trade on behalf of a petitioning business.

Specific Requirement for E-2 Visa

E-2 Visa is available to companies that make an active and substantial investment in the United States economy in expectation of profit.

An active investment is defined as an irrevocable commitment to funds.  Usually, the investor’s own money or personal obligations would have to be at risk.  Furthermore, it cannot be an investment that is passive or purely speculative, such as buying stocks, bonds or real estate and waiting for them to appreciate.  However, investment into real estate such as an apartment building, for example, may be considered active investment.

The investment must be substantial.  There is no minimum monetary amount required.  However, the amount of money invested must be sufficient for the business purpose. 

Finally, the investment may not be merely marginal in nature.  A marginal investment is one where the return is expected to be sufficient only to support the alien and his family.  Thus, the enterprise is expected to create jobs for American workers. 

The E-2 alien employee must have an essential role in the enterprise either as a principal investor or a managerial employee.

Duration of Visa

Beneficiaries of the E Visa are granted E status for a five-year period.  Five year extensions may be obtained for as long as the person continues to be eligible.  Like other work related Visas, E Visa holders are allowed to simultaneously seek Permanent Residency status.

Spouses and minor children of E Visa holders are eligible for derivative status.  Note that there is no requirement that the family members be nationals of a treaty country.

Applying for the E Visa

If the applicant for the E Visa is in the United States in another nonimmigrant status, he may apply for a change of status to the INS.  If he is outside of the United States, he is not required to apply to the INS and await approval, but may apply directly to the U.S. Consulate. 

Countries That Entered Both Trade & Investment (Both E-1 and E-2 Visa) Treaty with U.S.

Argentina             Germany           Oman

Australia              Honduras           Pakistan

Austria           Iran                 Paraguay

Belgium          Ireland              Philippines

Bosnia            Italy                 Slovenia

Canada           Japan                Spain

China                      Korea                          Surinam

Colombia        Latvia                Sweden

Costa Rica       Liberia               Switzerland

Croatia           Luxembourg       Thailand

Estonia           Macedonia         Togo

Ethiopia          Mexico             Turkey

Finland           Netherlands       United Kingdom

France            Norway               

Countries That Entered Trade (E-1) Treaty  with U.S.

Bolivia       Denmark     Israel   

Brunei       Greece

Countries That Entered Investment (E-2) Treaty  with U.S.

Armenia                      Georgia                    Romania

Bangladesh          Jamaica            Senegal

Bulgaria              Kazakhstan        Slovakia

Cameroon           Kyrgyzstan        Sri Lanka

Congo                Moldova           Trinidad & Tobago

Czech Rep          Mongolia          Tunisia

Ecuador              Morocco          Ukraine

Egypt                 Panama            Zaire

Grenada              Poland  

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