The E-1 and E-2 treaty investor visa program allows foreign nationals from designated countries to obtain temporary, but long-term legal status and work authorization in the United States for the purpose of carrying out trade or investment. These authorizations can be renewed at two-year intervals for an unlimited maximum period. E-1 and E-2 visas can be substantially easier to obtain for those who qualify than other types of temporary and permanent work visas.
To qualify for an E-1 treaty trader visa, a person must be a foreign national of a country with which the United States maintains a trade treaty and must carry on substantial international trade with at least of its total volume being between the United States and that country. Employees of treadty traders may also qualify if they are of the same nationality as the principal and are working in an executive or supervisory capacity of have other special qualifications. Ancillary visas are also available for spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21.
To qualify for an E-2 visa, an investor must have invested or plan to invest a substantial amount of capital in a United States enterprise. The investor must also be at least a 50% owner of the enterprise or must maintain operational control of it. While there is no specific amount that qualifies as substantial capital, it must constitute a substantial portion of the enterprise’s total capital and be sufficient to ensure the investor’s commitment to the enterprise and create a likelihood of the enterprise’s success. Like E-1 visas, E-2 visas are also available to employees of treaty investors and the immediate families of both investors and their employees.