Treaty Traders and Investors (E-1 or E-2 visas)
Treaty Traders are classified as E-1, while Treaty Investors are classified as E-2. The E visa is available generally only when a treaty of trade and commerce exists between the United States and the foreign country. The E visa allows investors, owners, managers, and employees of foreign businesses to work in the United States, provided that they are working in an enterprise which is either involved in trade between the United States and a foreign country or that represents a major investment by the individual or foreign company in the United States. The enterprise employees brought in under the E Visa classification must be of the same nationality as the foreign country. In the case of private companies, the majority of the enterprise’s owners must be citizens of the foreign country. In the case of publicly traded entities, the location of the principal stock exchange where their shares are traded normally reflects the citizenship of the company.
Applicants for E-1 Visa (traders) must show that the enterprise is engaged in substantial trade between the U.S. and the foreign country, and that said trade is the principal activity of the enterprise. Applicants for E-2 Visa (investors) must show that they are involved in an active, substantial investment in the United States, where the investor is at risk for losing his investment. Applications under either category require substantial documentation.
E visas are generally granted for a period of five years, with two year status increments. The E visa can be renewed indefinitely.