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Investor Visa

The E-1 and E-2 Investor Visas are appealing options for foreign business persons, investors, managers, and employees who wish to stay in the United States for extended periods of time to oversee: 1) an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the United States and a foreign country; or 2) a major investment in the United States..

Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa

Foreign trader/investor applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a treaty trader (E-1) visa under immigration law. The consular officer will determine whether a treaty trader applicant qualifies for a visa.

  • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must have the nationality of the treaty country.
  • The international trade must be “substantial” in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
  • The trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

Treaty investor applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a treaty investor (E-2) visa under immigration law. The consular officer will determine whether a treaty investor applicant qualifies for a visa.

  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

Applying and Required Documentation

Applications for E-1 and E-2 visas are generally submitted at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence. Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of permanent residence.

Each applicant for a treaty trader (E-1) visa must submit these forms and documentation, as explained below:

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160.
  • Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E, completed and signed.
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person must complete a Form DS-160 application.
  • One (1) 2×2 photograph.

Each applicant for a treaty investor (E-2) visa must submit these forms and documentation, as explained below:

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160.
  • Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E, completed and signed, if you are an Executive/Manager/Essential Employee.
  • A passport valid for travel to the U.S. and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person must complete a Form DS-160 application.
  • One (1) 2×2 photograph.

Additional documentation

An applicant for a Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa must first establish that the trading enterprise or investment enterprise meets the requirements of the law, and complies with the many requirements for the E visa classification. The consular officer may provide the applicant with special forms for this purpose. The applicant can expect the consular officer to request additional documentation, to make a determination about eligibility for a treaty trader or treaty investor visa. It is impossible to specify the exact documentation required since circumstances vary greatly by applicant.

Family Members

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal visa holder. The spouse of an E visa holder may apply to DHS for employment authorization. Dependent children of an E visa holder are not authorized to work in the U.S.

Why do I need an attorney

The Immigration Attorneys at the SGM Law Group will prepare and file the necessary applications and supporting documentation on your behalf. For additional information on how we can help you, fill out the Free Immigration Consultation form on the top right side of this page or call us at 877-811-3541.

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