Non-immigrant investor visas consist primarily of the E1 Treaty Trader and E2 Treaty Investor. The E1/E2 status originates from treaties the U.S. has signed with other countries related to bilateral investment and free trade agreements.
The first consideration for an E1/E2 visa is whether a treaty exists between the United States and the country of applicant’s nationality. A list of designated treaty countries is provided HERE.
An additional primary consideration is the nationality of the primary E1/E2 applicant. The primary E1/E2 applicant must be a national of a treaty country, and if the primary applicant is an employee of a company, both the person and the company must be from the same treaty country.
To qualify for E1/E2, you must show that you are entering the United States:
Solely to carry on substantial international trade principally between the U.S. and the foreign state of which he or she is a national; or
Solely to develop and direct the operations of a business endeavor in which the foreign national has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital; or
As a key employee from the treaty country of either the E1 or E2, including executives and supervisors or others whose services are critical to the operation of the business endeavor; or
As a principal employer who is: (a) a person with nationality of the treaty country whether in or outside the U.S.; or (b) an enterprise or organization that is 50% or more owned by treaty nationals; or
A dependent of one of the persons referenced above.
An E1/E2 visa and status also require a showing that the foreign national ultimately intends to depart the United States when the business endeavor has concluded. Of particular note, the E1/E2 visa and status does not provide a direct pathway to lawful permanent residence. However, an individual may obtain and extend E1/E2 status for an indefinite period of time so long as the business endeavor is ongoing and all statutory requirements continue to be met.
To determine nationality, at least 50% of stock must be owned by nationals of the treaty country. Joint ventures are permitted and the joint parties may be from two different treaty countries. Where a foreign corporation is the owner of the U.S. business endeavor, that nationality of the foreign corporation is determined by its owners.
All E1/E2 applications must be submitted with a detailed business plan.
Spouses and children may accompany or follow to join the principal E. The spouse of a principal E2 may obtain employment authorization and may use that authorization to work in the E1/E2 treaty endeavor or elsewhere.