E-1 and E-2 visas are used by existing businesses in treaty-counties to expand into the US. The E-1 trader comes to the US to grow their existing US-to-home-country trading business. The E-2 investor usually wants to open a completely new business that may or may not have any ties to the home country business. E-2 visa holders may live and work in the US by investing a substantial amount in a US business.
Both the E-1 and E-2 visas are issued under treaties the US has signed with a number of countries. Only nationals of the treaty countries qualify.
Employees of the E visas can also qualify for an E visa.
The Department of State maintains an up-to-date list of treaty countries which can be viewed here: Treaty Countries (state.gov).
To qualify for either the E-1 or E-2 visa, you must be a national of a country that has a trade treaty with the US. In addition:
Requests for E-1 and E-2 visas are filed directly at the closest US consulate if the applicant is overseas. If they are already in the US on another visa, they file with the USCIS to request a change of status to an E-visa.
When filing for an E visa, there are several careful steps you need to take.
As your attorney, it is our responsibility to help you evaluate your present and long-term goals and help you choose the right visa for you. An E-1 visa is a great option if you are increasing trade between your foreign and US companies. An E-2 visa works well if your overseas business wants to invest in other lines of business in the US.
Our E-visa clients frequently need to travel back and forth to their home countries and need the comfort of being able to get the visa issued at the border. It is our job to ensure that they are able to do so painlessly.
If your goal is to stay in the US indefinitely but still retain your own national identity, an E visa would work best. However, if you want to live in the US long-term, you will need to file for a green card. It is harder for E visa holders to file for green cards. In this situation, we might suggest first changing to another visa type such as L-1, O1 or H1 visas before filing for a green card.
Above, we have described some of the common considerations while filing for a treaty visa. As attorneys, we believe in helping our clients and their businesses succeed. It is our privilege to help you and your employees in re-locating to the US.
Please contact us to discuss how we can make the E visa process easy for you and your employees.
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