The United States (U.S.) is considered an ideal place for lucrative business opportunities. Business interests abroad wishing to share in these opportunities and temporarily live and work in the space, must, however, have a visa. Two classes of visas that are available to foreigners who wish to do business in the U.S. are the E1 and E2 visas. E-class visas allow certain individuals in countries with whom the U.S. has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation to, among other things, temporarily live, work and do business in the U.S.
E1 and E2 visas share a number of similar requirements, but there are also significant differences between the two. Knowing what these differences are is important for business interests seeking entry into the U.S., as it may mean the difference between success and failure.
The E1 visa is solely for international trade
E1 visas, or Treaty Trader visas, apply to individuals and employees of companies who wish to enter the U.S. for the sole purpose of conducting international trade. Trade—inclusive of goods and a broad category of services—must be conducted primarily between the U.S. and the treaty country. Other prerequisites for E1 visas are:
- Applicants must be nationals of the treaty country
- The exchange of goods and services must exist prior to application; this precludes new businesses
- Trade between the U.S. and the treaty country must be substantial and continuous
- Individuals must provide evidence that they will return home on the expiration of the visa
- Employees of companies must be in an executive, managerial, or specialist capacity
The E2 visa grants investors access to the U.S. market
Unlike E1 visas that are granted for the purpose of international trade, E2 visas—or Treaty Investor visas—are granted for the purpose of investment in a pre-existing or new business in the U.S. Investments in passive income streams such as stocks or precious metals do not qualify for an E2 visa. Investments must have been made in legitimate, ongoing business operations. Other prerequisites for an E2 visa are that the investor applicant must:
- Be spearheading or developing the business and have at least 50% ownership
- Be a national of a treaty country
- Prove that investment funds are not the proceeds of criminal activity (directly or indirectly)
- Demonstrate that the investment is substantial. There is no established minimum level of investment required for an E2 visa; however, the greater the investment, the more likely it is that the visa will be granted.
- Demonstrate that there is a risk of loss of capital
A business plan, though not necessary for an E1 visa, is critical for an E2 visa application, as the business plan is the means through which the U.S. immigration personnel are convinced that the investment made is sufficient to warrant entry into the U.S. for a prolonged basis.
Secure your E1 or E2 visa with the help of a U.S. immigration lawyer in Montreal
Applying for an E1 or E2 visa can be a complicated undertaking; there are many factors to consider. Additionally, some treaty countries may not be eligible for either the E1 or E2 visa, as their eligibility depends on the agreement that exists between each country and the U.S.
If you are in need of an E1 or E2 visa, contact us at Silver Immigration. Our experienced and knowledgeable immigration lawyer handles applications for a variety of visa categories, including E-class visas. We will work with you to prepare and appropriately file all the requisite documents pertaining to your application. Schedule a free online consultation today so we may begin to discuss your case.