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E-1 and E-2 Treaty Trade Investor Visas

E-1 and E-2 treaty trade investor visas are reserved for foreign nationals who come from a country who has entered into a treaty trade agreement with the United States. Many countries have signed a treaty trade agreement with the United States. A full list of participating countries are listed here.

What are the Requirements for a Treaty Trade Investor Visa?

Generally, to be eligible under this category, you must show that you are entering the United States to carry on substantial trade with the United States (E-1 visa), or, that you are entering the United States to make a substantial investment in a United States enterprise, and to oversee this investment (E-2 visa).

For an E-1 visa, you must be engaged in international trade between the United States and your home country. This can include trade in both goods and services. There is no monetary amount required for an E-1 visa, however, it must be proven that the trade is "substantial" and that the amount of trade ensures a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.

For an E-2 visa, you must either be in the process or actively in the process of investing in the United States. This means more than simply transferring money to a US bank account in the "hopes" of investing, and requires more than shopping for a potential investment. The applicant must prove that he is entering the United States, or has entered the United States, with a specific sum of money put "at risk." The term "at risk" is a legal term of art, but is generally understood to mean that the capital is subject to total or partial loss if the investment fails.

Both E-1 and E-2 visas require an intention to depart the United States once your work has finished. E-1 and E-2 applicants must prove that they intend to depart the United States. However, an E-2 investor may at a later time choose to engage in the PERM Labor Certification process to obtain permanent residency.

Special Requirements for E-2 Investors

The E-2 investor must manage the business and have a controlling interest in the enterprise. Although he or she is not required to own a majority of the business, he or she must have decision making authority and effective control of the business.

Although there is no minimum investment required, generally, the investment must be at least $50,000 to $100,000, taking into consideration the size of the enterprise. In short, the amount of the investment must be sufficient to demonstrate the investor's commitment to the business. Further, an E-2 visa must be accompanied with a business plan with a five year projection, among other documentation showing the source of the capital and how the capital is "at risk."

How long will the E visa be valid for?

An E visa is valid for two years and is renewable so long as the enterprise is still functioning and the applicant is engaged in overseeing the business or trade.

Conclusion

You may enter the United States as an E-1 or E-2 treaty trade investor, or, if you are currently in the United States and in valid status, you may change your status to E-1 or E-2. The process of obtaining a treaty trade investor visa is highly complex, requiring the assistance of an experienced immigration investment attorney to guide you through this process. Further, some applicants require the assistance of third-parties to write business plans, obtain tax advice or other business advice. If you are interested in investing in the United States, contact an experienced Southern California immigration attorney today. The Law Office of Ashkan Yekrangi, P.C. has handled investment visas, and will be happy to assist you in obtaining your visa.