Mercado & Rengel Investor Visa Attorneys
The E visa category was designed to give effect to trade and investment treaties between the U.S. and certain foreign nations providing reciprocal benefits; in this way, facilitating commercial interaction between the signatories to these bilateral agreements.
It allows investors making a substantial investment in the U.S. (see below definition of “substantial” for investment purposes); or business owners, managers, and employees of an enterprise conducting trade between the U.S. and a treaty nation, who need to remain in the U.S. for extended periods of time to supervise work performed in the U.S., to be able to live and work lawfully.
When filed in the US as an adjustment of status, there is a premium processing option, which for an additional $1,225.00, the US Immigration Service will commit to process the application within 15 calendar days from receipt of the application. This response may be a visa approval, a denial or it may also include a request for additional documentation from the petitioner or the employer.
Who Is Eligible
Only aliens who are citizens of countries that have entered into a trade and investment treaty with the U.S. are eligible for E-Visas, see State Department Website for current list. There are two distinct types of visas, which are denominated as E1 and E2 Visas, they are distinguished as follows:
For the E-1 Treaty Trader visa:
- Solely to carry on or engage in substantial trade between his/her country and the U.S., including trade in services or trade in technology.
- Principally between the United States and the foreign state of which the alien is a national.
- “Substantial” with reference to trade means a continuous exchange of goods and services between the U.S. and the treaty nation of the alien applicant, involving numerous transactions that began prior to the filing of the E-1 application.
- Trade principally between the U.S. and the foreign state means that at least 50% of the total amount of trade conducted by the alien or his/her enterprise or employer must be between the U.S. and the treaty nation.
For the E-2 Treaty Investor visa:
- Solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested; or
solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital; or
- As an employee who will perform services that require special qualifications essential to the operations of the treaty investor’s enterprise, who has the same nationality as the treaty investor employer or the nationals owning at least 50% of the enterprise, who must be under treaty investor status if residing in the U.S.; and
- Showing an intention to depart from the United States upon the termination of his or her status.
The initial statutory limitation on the period of stay for an alien with an E-1 or E-2 can be no longer than two years. (Note: It is not uncommon for the U.S. Consulate to issue an E-1 or E-2 visa for five years).
The initial visa period can be extended indefinitely as long as the alien affirms that he/she will not remain in the U.S. after this period, including extensions, ends.
The spouse and unmarried children under 21 of treaty trader or treaty investor aliens qualify for the same status as the principal alien, and their nationality is not relevant to their qualification. They can live and study in the U.S. without any additional permits. The spouse of the visa holder may obtain authorization to work in the U.S.
Mercado & Rengel can help you with your investor visa needs in every regard–from constituting your company and preparing a business plan to filing your applications, call us today so you can get started immediately on your E1/E2 Investor Visa process.