Citizens from countries with trade agreements with the United States fall under this category. The foreigner can enter the United States to trade goods as well as services or technologies, primarily between the contractual state and the United States. (E - 1 Visa) or to build and operate a company in which he invested a significant amount of private equity (E - 2 Visa).
The requirements are:
Owner of the Company in accordance with the Treaty
Companies or persons, who trade with the US or make significant investments in the US, have to have citizenship of the contractual state.
- The nationality of a company is determined by the nationality of the persons who possess at least 50% of the shares of the company
- The place of foundation of the company and the place of business are irrelevant
- The nationality of the shareholders of the company is determined by their citizenship
Nationality of the trader, investor or "essential" employee
A trader, investor or employee of the company has to have the nationality of the company.
Special Requirements for the E - 1 treaty traders visa
- The shareholder of the company has to have citizenship of the contractual state, which means that at least 50% of the company have to have citizenship of the contractual state
- The comany has to have more than 50% of continuous trade between the US and the contractual state. Trade also means exchange, buying or selling of goods, services or technologies
- The foreigner has to be either a trader who enters the US to continue existing trade, or an executive employee with special knowledge
Special Requirements for the Investors Visa (E - 2 Visa)
- The investor has to hold at least 50% of the shares of the company in which he plans to invests and he has to be citizen of the contractual state
- Active Investment. the investment has to be done and an active business activity has to be created with it before applying for the visa.
- Significant Investment. The only financial transactions that are considered are those, where the investor uses personal assets and bindingly invests it
- Marginality. The investment has to yield a return that exceeds the living expenses of the investor and his family. The investment should benefit the American economy
- Important position in the comany. The investor has to hold a key position in the company, guide the invenstment or work for the development of the investment as a highly qualified and specially trained empolyee.
A company that fulfills the requirements mentioned above, can, with the E - 1 or E - 2 visa categories, employ an essential employee from the contractual state, if this person takes on leading functions in the company and/or has special skills that are essential for the efficient operation of the company. Accordingly, qualifications of the applicant and the necessity of employing a foreigner instead of a U.S. citizen (e.g. the availability of a skilled U.S. citizen or the possibility of training a U.S. citizen) are examined closely.
The porcedure of applying for a E - Visa
E visa are principally applied for directly at the U.S. embassy or consulates in the country of which the applicant holds citizenship or has his residence (initially the visa is valid for five years with the opportunity of an extension of anouther 5 years as long as there is trade or investment) or in the US (Visa is only valid for a maximum of two years).
When apply for a visa directly in the United States, it is possible to pay a fee and receive premium processing. The visa can be extended an indefinite number of times as long as the aplicant and the company fulfill all requirements.
Advantages for members fo the family
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can receive a "relatives" E visa. Spouses and children can go to school in the US and spouses can receive an independent work permit (children with the status of relatives are not allowed to work).
E - 1 traders and E - 2 investors cannot apply for a Green Card through their company, because of their involvement with the applying company. There are, however, other ways to get a Green Card.