Frequently Asked Questions About E2 Treaty Investor Visa and E1 Treaty Trader Visa
Can I gain E2 Visa or E1 Visa status as a self-employed professional?
You can as long as you also employ other people. The principal applicant should be going to the USA to 'develop and direct' his/her business. Thus accountants, IT consultants, doctors, lawyers, etc, can obtain E2 and E1 visa status to enable themselves to practice their profession in the USA as long as they eventually create employment for other people as well.
How long can I stay in the USA in E2 Visa or E1 Visa status?
You can continue to extend your visa in the US indefinitely as long as the business continues in the US. Registration is initially valid for between two and five years, but can be renewed any number of times.
Why isn't my country eligible for E2 or E1 visa status?
The treaties which give rise to eligibility for E status are generally on a reciprocal basis, in that they will also entitle US persons and companies to obtain similar immigration rights in the other treaty country. Nations with restrictive inward investment policies or currency controls are unlikely to have such a treaty with the United States.
Further, most recent treaties entered into by the United States with e.g. the former Communist countries tend to be Bilateral Investment Treaties, conferring only E-2 eligibility on nationals of the other contracting state. Note also that existing treaties may be suspended if the United States' relationship with the other treaty signatory deteriorates significantly or that country is subject to international sanctions, etc.
What is the minimum amount of trade or investment needed to qualify?
There is no set minimum level, though obviously the lower the amount of trade or investment the less likely it is that the application will succeed. The amount necessary will also depend on the type of business or trade engaged in.
What are the alternatives if I or my employees do not qualify for E2 visa or E1 visa status?
The L1 intra company transfer visa is the most obvious choice, though the H1B speciality occupation visa is also a possibility. In addition, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor is an option which eventually leads to US permanent residency. However, this visa is very expensive and time-consuming to obtain.
Can E-visa dependants work?
E dependants can now obtain a general work authorization. This work authorization must be applied for separately, though.
Further information, help, and advice
Workpermit.com's team of specialists has thirty years of experience in immigration services, and have helped thousands of people to study and work in the US. All applications for US visas are dealt with in-house by a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).