E-1/E-2 Treaty and Investor Visas
Under U.S. immigration law, investors, traders, and their employees may receive visas to engage in substantial trade between the United States and eligible treaty countries. They can also receive investor visas in order to develop and manage the operations of an enterprise in which the foreign national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in.
E-visas are usually issued for a period of two to five years depending on the amount of trade that is slated to take place or the size of the investment. E-visas are also renewable as long as the visa holder maintains their status with the qualifying organization.
Spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age can obtain a derivative E-visa to accompany the principal E-visa holder to the United States. After entering the U.S., the principal E-visa holder’s spouse may obtain authorization to work in the U.S. Also, although dependent children who entered the U.S. on an E-visa are not authorized to work in the United States, they are allowed to study in the U.S. with a student visa (F-1 visa).
E-1 Trader Visa Requirements
A person who applies for an E-1 visa must be a national of a treaty country and the trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must share the nationality of the treaty country. Furthermore, the trade that is engaged in must be “substantial.” This means that the volume of trade must sizable and involve multiple transactions over time.
The trade that takes place must be primarily between the U.S. and the treaty country. This means that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality.
Lastly, the applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive role, or possess highly specialized skills that are essential to the efficient operation of the firm. This means that ordinary skilled or unskilled workers will not qualify for this visa.
E-2 Investor Visa Requirements
E-2 investor visas allow a foreign national from a country that the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation with, to enter the United States when the foreign national invests a substantial amount of capital in a U.S business. Certain employees of the foreign national or of the qualifying organization are also eligible for E-2 visas. For example, high-level managers or employees with special knowledge.
In order to qualify for an E-2 visa, the applicant must have invested a substantial amount of capital in an enterprise in the United States, or be in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in such an enterprise. There is no set dollar figure that is considered a substantial amount of capital. Rather, the investment is considered substantial if it is significant relative to the total cost of purchasing the enterprise or establishing a new one, if it is sufficient to ensure the applicant’s commitment to the enterprise, or if it so large it indicates a strong likelihood that the applicant will develop and direct the enterprise.
Furthermore, the applicant must also be seeking to enter the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise that received these investments. This can be established by showing that at least 50% of the enterprise is owned by the applicant, or that the applicant maintains operational control of the enterprise through a high-level management position or other corporate device.
The applicant must take the steps to start his or her business before starting the immigration paperwork. If the applicant purchases an existing business, copies of all of the purchase documents will be needed to apply for the visa.
E-3 Australians in Specialty Occupations
E-3 visas allow beneficiaries to work in certain specialty occupations in the U.S. and can only be issued to Australian nationals. The applicant must also have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States, possess the necessary academic and other qualifying credentials to satisfy the job’s requirements, and will fill a position that qualifies as a special occupation.
E-3 visas are nonimmigrant visas and are renewable indefinitely in two-year increments. Accordingly, the beneficiary must prove that they intend to return to Australia after the E-3 job has finished. This is different from an H-1B visa, which is also a nonimmigrant visa but has dual intent. This means that while an H-1B visa holder can apply for permanent residency (a Green Card) while working in the U.S., an E-3 visa holder cannot. Another difference between the two is that spouses of E-3 beneficiaries may work in the U.S. without restrictions. Lastly, visas that are issued to spouses and children of E-3 beneficiaries are not included in the E-3 quota and the spouses and children are not required to be Australian citizens.