If you are a national of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States, you may qualify for an E visa, which allows you to enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in trade or investment activities. There are two types of E visas: E-1 for treaty traders and E-2 for treaty investors. In this article, we will explain the requirements you need to meet to qualify for an E visa, as well as the benefits and limitations of this visa category.
What is an E Visa?
An E visa is a nonimmigrant visa that is based on a bilateral treaty between the United States and another country, which must allow for reciprocal trade or investment between the two countries. As mentioned above, the E visa category is divided into two subcategories: E-1 and E-2.
An E-1 visa is for treaty traders who carry on substantial trade in goods, services, or technology between the United States and their country of nationality. Trade means the exchange, purchase, or sale of goods or services. The trade must be principally between the United States and the treaty country, meaning that more than 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the two countries.
An E-2 visa is for treaty investors who have invested, or are in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a US business. For an investment to qualify, it must be at risk, meaning that the investor must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails. In addition, the investment must not be made into a marginal business, meaning that the business must generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the investor and his or her family and have a significant economic impact in the United States.
Both E-1 and E-2 visas are granted for an initial period of up to two years, but they can be extended indefinitely as long as the trade or investment activity continues and meets the requirements. E visa holders can also bring their spouses and children under 21 years of age as dependents, and the spouses of E visa holders can apply for work authorization in the United States.
The Process of Applying for an E Visa
To apply for an E visa, you must first determine whether your country of nationality has a qualifying treaty with the United States. You can find a list of treaty countries on the US Department of State’s website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html
If you are outside the United States, you will need to apply for an E visa at a US consulate or embassy in your country of residence. You will need to fill out an online application form (DS-160), pay the visa fee, and schedule an interview with a consular officer. You will also need to submit supporting documents that demonstrate your eligibility for an E visa, such as:
- A letter from your employer or your own business entity that describes the nature and scope of your trade or investment activity in the United States;
- Evidence of your nationality and ownership or control of your business entity;
- Evidence of the volume and frequency of your trade transactions or the amount and source of your investment funds;
- Evidence that your trade or investment is substantial, at risk, and not marginal;
- Evidence that you have the skills, experience, or qualifications necessary to perform your duties;
- Evidence that you have sufficient funds to cover your living expenses in the United States;
- Evidence that you have ties to your home country that will compel you to return after your stay in the United States.
If you are already in the United States in another nonimmigrant status, you can apply for a change of status to an E visa by filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You will need to submit similar supporting documents as mentioned above, along with Form I-129E Supplement and Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, if you have any dependents.
If you are interested in applying for an E visa, you will need professional guidance and assistance from an experienced immigration attorney who can help you:
- Determine whether you qualify for an E visa and which type of E visa is best suited for your situation;
- Prepare and file your visa application and supporting documents with the US consulate or USCIS;
- Respond to any requests for additional evidence or information from the US government;
- Advise you on how to maintain your E visa status and comply with the terms and conditions of your visa;
- Assist you with any extensions, renewals, or changes of status related to your E visa;
- Represent you in any appeals or litigation related to your E visa.
The Benefits and Limitations of the E Visa Category
The E visa category offers many benefits for treaty country nationals who want to come to the US to engage in trade or investment activities, such as the ability to travel in and out of the US freely, without having to apply for a new visa each time. In addition, you can enjoy the protection of the treaty of commerce and navigation between the US and your country, which may grant you certain rights and privileges in relation to your trade or investment activities.
However, the E visa category also has some limitations that you should be aware of. For example, you cannot change your status to another nonimmigrant or immigrant visa category while you are in the US, unless you qualify for an exception. In addition, you cannot engage in any activity that is not related to your trade or investment enterprise, such as studying or volunteering, and you have to maintain a residence abroad that you have no intention of abandoning. The US government will require that you demonstrate your intent to depart the US when your visa expires or is terminated.
We Can Help You Qualify for an E Visa
We are a full-service law firm that specializes in immigration law, and we have the knowledge, experience, and dedication to handle your E visa case with professionalism and efficiency. If you want to qualify for an E visa and start or expand your business in the United States, do not hesitate to contact us today.
We will evaluate your case, advise you on the best course of action, and guide you through every step of the application process. We will work hard to secure your E visa approval and help you achieve your American dream. Contact us today to get started!