TREATY TRADERS & INVESTORS

E-VISAS

When considering the possible avenues and options for immigrating to and perhaps eventually living in the U.S., this visa category could be an interesting and useful choice to pursue if you are from one of the Treaty Countries that has a treaty with the U.S., by applying as a Treaty Trader (E-1), Treaty Investor (E-2), Australian Specialty Occupation Worker (E-3).  Such Treaties providing for nonimmigrant entries, with the United States, are designed to open up trade and investment between two countries in a way that will protect both countries’ investments and trade. E visa holders may enter the U.S. with a visa and remain for periods authorised by the Department of Homeland Security.

We assist entrepreneurs, business owners, traders and investors reach their immigration goals by obtaining an applicable U.S. visa in order to establish new businesses, acquire existing businesses, buy a franchise, conduct business and make investments. E-1, E-2, & E-3 Visas

You will find this visa category useful if you want to have conceivably indefinite entry and presence in the US, and are an international trader, investor, manager, and employee who need to stay in the United States for extended periods of time to oversee an enterprise that represents a major investment in the United States. This also is a versatile visa in that it may allow certain person of your nationality also to obtain an E visa, or what I call “Coat-Tail Visa”, and allows more flexible qualifying investment funding sources need to obtain the E-2 visa – as opposed to the EB-5 visa.

The E visas are nonimmigrant temporary visas that are not designed to be a stepping stone to obtaining a permanent residency visa. As such, you will need to ensure that you can demonstrate permanent ties to your home country, and that you intend to return there once your visa commitments have been fulfilled. This could be through lease/mortgage agreements of property or business in your home country.

We advise on all aspects of the E visa classification, including eligibility, the E-2 visa application process, completing the required forms and compiling the required documents to evidence your suitability for the visa. Furthermore, in view of Mr. Brown’s background and experience in corporate and business law, he also is available to handle business structuring and incorporations, review or draft contracts, and facilitate your connections to US based business brokers, franchise operators, and other business professionals useful in getting you a E Visa.

Contact us for advice and support on taking the next step to realising your US business goals.

Treaty Traders (E-1)

Treaty traders pursue substantial trade in goods, including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the U.S. and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals. Trade includes the sale, exchange or purchase or goods or services. It also includes the transfer of technology and contracts that are binding and call for the immediate exchange of items of trade. In addition, can also include transportation, international banking transactions, insurance, tourism, technology transfer, and certain news-gathering undertakings.  The Treaty Trader applicant can be a trader or a key employee including a supervisor, an executive or a highly specialised skilled individual whose services are essential to the efficient operation of the U.S. trading company. A key E-1 employee must have the same nationality as the E-1 employer to qualify for an E-1 status. There are no numerical limitations on the numbers of E-1 Visas issued each year.  (list of eligible treaty countries)

Qualifications:

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country
  • The E-1 category requires there be substantial trade between the U.S. and the treaty country
  • The trade activity must be substantial (at least 50% between the U.S. and treaty country), sizeable and continuous
  • The items of the trade (products, services, etc.) must already exist
  • The U.S. trading entity must be owned in majority (at least 50%) by nationals of applicant’s treaty country;

Treaty Investors (E-2)

Treaty Investors may enter the United States in order to direct and develop a commercial enterprise or business in which they have invested or are in the process of investing, a substantial amount of money or capital. Treaty investors direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing and putting at risk, a “substantial amount of money”.  The amount can vary depending on the type of business, but arguably can be pursued with as little as $40,000 – $50,000 investment plus enough operating funds.  An E-2 visa applicant can be the investor, or a key employee including an executive, a supervisor or a highly specialised skilled individual whose services are essential to the efficient operation of the U.S. business. Please note, that a key employee must have the same nationality as the E-2 employer to qualify for an E-2 status.  (list of eligible treaty countries)

Qualifications:

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country
  • The investor must have at least 50% ownership of the U.S. company
  • The funds invested must be “put at risk” and in an actual on-going business to be considered a qualifying investment (not passive or speculative investments). However, an investor can invest in a start-up company or purchase a qualifying existing business
  • The investor must have control of the funds invested in the U.S. enterprise; and
  • The amount of funds invested must be substantial. The immigration agencies consider a substantial amount to be that what is necessary to establish a viable enterprise based on the nature of the activity –  by using a proportionality test to weigh the investment against the total value of the business or the usual amount needed for successful similar businesses and to determine whether a substantial investment has been made. Small- and medium-sized businesses should generally plan to invest at least half of the value of the business or the usual amount required to start up similar businesses. Although the amount can vary depending on the type of business, but arguably an investment can be pursued with as little as $40,000 – $50,000 investment plus enough operating funds.;
  • The business cannot be marginal as it must be able to generate income more than the minimum necessary for the investor and his/her family to live, or to have a significant economic impact in the U.S. by creating job opportunities.

 

Before entering the U.S., treaty traders or investors must apply for and receive an E-1 or E-2 visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas. However, a U.S. company may also request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 for a nonimmigrant that is already in the U.S. USCIS processes change of status and extensions of stay requests for nonimmigrants whose companies have filed such petitions.

Australian Specialty Occupation Worker (E-3)

Australian specialty occupation workers perform services in a specialty occupation. Before entering the U.S., Australian specialty occupation workers must apply for and receive an E-3 visa from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas. However, a U.S. company may also request a change of status to E-3 for a nonimmigrant who is already in the U.S. USCIS processes change of status and extension of stay requests for nonimmigrants whose companies have filed such petitions.

A specialty occupation is one which requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge; and the attainment of the equivalent of a United States bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.  For those who do not have the equivalent of a United States bachelors degree, they will require a great deal of work experience to overcome this requirement. (12 years or greater if no degree at all). For those who have an associates degree, or have not fully completed their bachelors degree, a combination of work experience and the courses you have taken will be required to overcome this requirement.

Additional Information

  • Duration of stay in the U.S. : depends on your country of citizenship (click to view Reciprocity Schedule for durations). However, typically E visa holders allowed multiple entry for a maximum period of five (5) years and with the possibility to extend for additional five-year increments/ periods
  • Must be continuously engaged in the underlying business activity of the visa, and any notable change in the character, structure or nature of such business may require the visa holder to file a new application
  • Regardless of their nationality, Spouse and/or children (under 21 years old) of the principle E visa holder are also entitled to E visa status for the same duration as the principal
  • Spouse is eligible for a work authorisation but not unmarried children under 21 years old
  • Unmarried children under 21 years old may attend school on E status