E-1 / E-2 visa — Investors and traders Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

150 150 Marisol Mancera

E-1 / E-2 visa — Investors and traders Immigration Frequently Asked Questions

The E-1 and E-2 visas are given to citizens of countries with whom the U.S. has a treaty. With this visa, they are able to come and trade or invest in the United States. Here are a few details about these visas that we have prepared for you.

What are the requirements to get the E-1 visa?

The E-1 visa is given to immigrants who wish to enter the U.S. as traders. It benefits treaty partners of the U.S. who are involved in a significant amount of trade. To qualify for this visa, the applicant must be a citizen of the treaty nation. The trading firm of the applicant and the applicant must be from the same nation.

There should be a substantial amount of trade, which means proof of continuous and substantial trade must be given. Besides that, over 50 percent of the trade must be between the U.S. and the applicant’s country. Additionally, the applicant must hold an executive or supervisory position in the company and have expert skills. Unskilled or regularly skilled employees do not qualify.

What is the meaning of trade according to the E-1 visa?

For this visa, ‘trade’ means the purchase, sale, or exchange of goods and services. It is broadly defined to include banking, insurance, communication, transportation, tourism, design, and consultancy services.

What does substantial mean according to the E visa rules?

Substantial is any trade that accounts for over 50 percent of trade for investors. It should be of a large enough quantity as to create a viable enterprise. The trade transactions themselves do not need to be substantial. However, there needs to be enough so that the trade volumes are over 50 percent between the treaty nation and the U.S.

What are good and services according to the E visa?

Goods are tangible products that have real values, not including negotiable instruments, securities, and money. Services are economic pursuits that do not have a tangible product.

What is a possible downside of the E-1 visa?

If the percentage of trade volumes changes at any time, the applicant can no longer apply or qualify to access this visa.

What is the qualification for a company to be considered for an E-2 Investor visa?

For a company to qualify, it needs to have at least 50 percent of its shares owned by citizens of the treaty nation. The investor who wants the E-2 visa must also be a citizen of that nation.

What is substantial for the purpose of the E-2 visa?

The investment needs to be substantial. The law has not specified an amount of money to show what substantial means. Besides that, there is no specific mathematical formula to define what it means. Guidelines released by the authorities say that this figure should be understood on a sliding scale. Thus, the lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher the investment in the company must be.

What is the minimum amount of funds to meet the substantial criteria?

As a rule, the minimum amount of cash needed to meet this test is $100,000. However, this amount must be proportional to the cost of the enterprise. Investments less than this amount will be considered insignificant. That is unless the investor can prove that this investment represents a significant in the business.

Are there other restrictions besides substantial investments for the E-2 visa?

The investment needs to be active and not just inactive. For instance, it cannot be just purchasing shares in the company. It must also be an investment, which exposes the investor to some risk. A loan that is secured by the business does not meet the criteria of an active investment.

How long can you stay in the U.S. with an E visa?

No residents can be admitted to the U.S. for two years initially. For instance, if the visa has just a week left, the non-resident can be admitted for the two-year period. Each trip abroad leads to the non-resident being readmitted with a new two-year validity period. Thus, if the non-resident goes abroad at least once a year, they do not have to apply for an extension from USCIS.

How do you extend the visa if you do not travel?

If you do not travel outside the U.S. for the two-year validity period, you will have to apply for an extension with the USCIS using Form I-129. Family members are not included in Form I-129. They will need to fill in Form I-539, which is a standard application for any stay extension.

Any extension requests must be filled with the California Service Center, it does not matter the location of employment. The extensions can be granted by the USCIS in two-year segments without any maximum time limits for the holders of the E visa.