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E-Visas

Treaty or Trade Investors: The E Visa

The E Visa allows for a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce to come to the United States to carry on trade-including services or technology-principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operations of a business in which the national has invested, or will invest a large sum of capital.

A list of countries with which the United States has an eligible treaty can be found at the following link:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/reciprocity/list_of_treaty_countries.htm

NOTE: India does not maintain an eligible treaty for purposes of obtaining an E Visa. If you are from India, please see our sections on L-1visas and H-1B visas for additional immigration options.

Treaty Trader Requirements (E-1)

  • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country. (See list at the link above).
  • The trading firm must have the nationality of the treaty country;
  • The international trade must be "substantial;" i.e., there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade;
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.
  • Most E-1 cases will originate at the alien's consular post abroad and do not require prior petition approval from the USCIS, unless the alien is seeking a change of status or extension of stay.

Treaty Investor Requirements (E-2)

  • The investor must be a national of a treaty country. (See list at the link above).
  • The investment must be substantial (at least 50% ownership).
  • The investment must generate significantly more income than just enough to provide a living for the investor and family;
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk.
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise or he/she must be employed in as supervisory, executive, or highly specialized capacity.

The maximum period of validity for the E-1 visa will depend upon the country of the alien's nationality, and is shown in the above-referenced list online. An E-2 nonimmigrant (including dependents) may be admitted for an initial period of no more than two years at a time. The spouse and dependent children of an E-1 visa recipient are entitled to the same classification of the principle alien and are permitted to engage in incidental activities, such as tourism or attending school. Spouses of E-1holders are eligible for an open market employment authorization document (EAD) which allows them to work for any employer.

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