The E visa is a non-immigrant or temporary visa. There are 2 main categories of E visas.
What is the E Visa?
The E visa is a visa that is issued for a certain amount of time as set by a treaty and can be renewed continuously. It is available only to those people who are nationals from a country that has a specific type of treaty with the United States. The following is a list of some of the countries that have the required treaty for E-1, E-2, or both:
Armenia (E-2 only)
Bangladesh (E-2 only)
Cameroon (E-2 only)
Egypt (E-2 only)
Israel (E-1 only)
Sri Lanka (E-2 only)
Tunisia (E-2 only)
United Kingdom (both)
Zaire (E-2 only)
* Note the above list frequently changes. Some countries were not listed.
What are the requirements of an E Visa?
There are a few main requirements for any E visa, including, but not limited to, the following:
The alien must be a national from a country with a specific treaty with the U.S. (as discussed above)
The company also must be considered a national from the same country as alien (this means at least 50% ownership of the company must be held by qualifying people from that country)
Must be “substantial” trade (E-1) or investment (E-2)
The alien must serve the company in either a managerial function or a function with “essential skills”
There is no set amount that qualifies as “substantial”. A number of factors are considered by the CIS in these cases and a qualified attorney should be used.
The E visa is a non-immigrant visa, so the applicant must intend to leave the U.S. upon the expiration of E status. However, an application for initial admission, change of status, or extension of stay in E classification may not be denied solely on the basis of an approved request for permanent labor certification or a filed or approved immigrant visa preference petition.
What is the E-1 Visa?
The E-1 is a Treaty Trader Visa available to people who will enter the US “solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology,” principally between the US and the foreign country of which the person is a national.
What is substantial trade depends on several factors including the following:
The volume of trade
The # of transactions
The continued course of trade
What is the E-2 Visa?
The E-2 is a Treaty Investor Visa available to people who enters the US “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.”
The investment must be active, not passive. This means that the money invested must be used to produce a real commodity or service not just an investment in land.
What is substantial investment depends on several factors including the following:
The amount of investment compared to the total value of the enterprise
The usual amount required in a similar enterprise
The investment cannot be marginal
What about Dependents?
Spouses and children can also gain status through this visa and spouses can get work authorization. One important thing to remember is that the family members do not have to be nationals of the same country as the principal alien or company as discussed above.