How Entrepreneurs and Investors Can Do Business in the US: The E1 and E2 Visas

entrepreneurs doing business in front of capitol hill
If you are an entrepreneur or executive who needs to do business in the US, navigating through your possible visa options can feel confusing. Which visa will empower you to accomplish your goals and  meet your professional and personal needs? Below we detail two possible options that may work for you if you are from a country that has a commerce and navigation treaty with the US.* However, if you are not from a treaty country or these visas do not fit your requirements, please call our highly accomplished team for advice regarding your best visa options.
E1 and E2 Treaty Visas: Which One is Right for You?
E visas were created to allow foreign citizens to enter the United States to work at private companies or entities set up by their governments to engage in trade with the U.S. or to monitor their U.S. investments. Individuals holding E visas are known as Treaty Traders (E1) or as Treaty Investors (E2). One big benefit of the treaty visas is they allow your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to be granted the same status to accompany you during your stay in the US.  Additionally, the treaty visas are much easier to get than the EB5 and L1A visas. However, E1 and E2 are both non-immigrant visas, meaning they grant permission for a temporary stay. If you want to become a permanent resident of the US, there may be other visas that will work better for you.

E1 is for traders who deal with imports and exports of goods, services or technology. If you are a foreign national who will be doing a large amount of trading with the US and need people within the US to coordinate your trading activities, E1 is a good potential option for you. Please note, to qualify you must be a supervisor, executive, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the operation of the firm. Additionally, you must demonstrate that you have sufficient business experience to conduct trade with the US and that you can leave the US once your E1 status is terminated. While there is no minimum dollar amount that qualifies you for an E1 visa, the higher the dollar value of the proposed trading, the better your chances that an E1 visa will be issued.

E2 is known as an investor visa, meaning you must invest in a US business in order to qualify. Investments must be in physical businesses, excluding the simple purchase of bonds or stocks. To be eligible, you must be directly involved in the management of the enterprise. While there is no set dollar amount for your investment, the likelihood that you will be granted a visa increases with a larger investment. In fact, investments of less than $100,000 need strong justification for monitoring before an E2 visa will be issued.
If you are interested in pursuing one of these visas or you have questions about other options, we are here to help. Our goal is to make the process of relocating to the US as simple and smooth as possible for you and your family. With over 35 years of success in immigration law, we are among the most experienced specialists in Texas. Please schedule your consultation today.
*To qualify for the E visas, your citizenship must be from a country that has a treaty with the US.
Here is the list of countries that have an E visa treaty, for both types of E visas:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Canada,
China(Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan,
Korea, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands,
Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Serbia, Montenegro,
Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey,
United Kingdom
Countries with Treaties conferring only E-1 treaty-trader status:
Bolivia, Brunei, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Latvia
Countries with Treaties conferring only E-2 treaty-investor status:
Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Congo, Czech Republic, Ecuador,
Egypt, Grenada, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco,
Panama, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine, Zaire

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