Make Sure the Prospective Beneficiary is a Citizen of a Qualifying Country
E visas are based on treaties of commerce that the United States has entered into with particular countries. Only citizens of these countries may be granted E visas. Therefore, the most important step to take before considering applying for an E visa is to check the current list of treaty countries to make sure that the prospective beneficiary is a citizen of one of the listed countries. Spouses and minor children of E visa holders do not need to be citizens of a treaty country to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent.
Make Sure the Prospective Employer Shares the Same Nationality
It is also important to make sure that the intended employer shares the same nationality as the person who will be applying for the E visa. A company shares the same nationality as the E visa applicant if at least 50% of the company is owned by citizens of the same country as the visa applicant who are either living in the United States in valid E status or living abroad but would be eligible for E status if they were in the United States.
Determine Whether to Apply for an E-1 or E-2 Visa
Once you have verified that the potential E visa applicant and the intended employer are both nationals of the same treaty country, you should consider what type of E visa is best. E visas come in two varieties: E-1, also known as the treaty trader visa and E-2, also known as the treaty investor visa. To obtain an E-1 visa, you must show that the organization for which the applicant will work is engaged in substantial trade with the United States. To obtain an E-2 visa, you must show that the employing organization represents a substantial investment in the U.S. economy by citizens of the treaty country.
Understand the Permissible Duties of E Visa Holders
E visas are often an option for people who have significant personal funds to invest in a new or existing business in the United States and are planning to come to the United States to direct this investment. However, E visas are also available to key employees of the E enterprise, including those who have not invested any personal funds into the company. In particular, employees who serve the E enterprise in an executive or supervisory capacity or those who have specialized knowledge essential to the company's business may also qualify. For this reason, the E visa can be a useful alternative for people who are highly qualified professionals but whose position does not fit within the narrow categories of positions considered appropriate for H-1B visa holders. Many managers, for instance, might qualify for an E visa but not for an H-1B because they need not have a degree in any particular field.
Apply for an E Visa at a U.S. Consulate
Applicants for E visas apply directly with a U.S. consulate by completing the standard nonimmigrant visa application forms, as well as an additional form specifically designed for E visas. Additionally, they must present documents supporting their eligibility. Unlike H-1B applicants, their employer does not have to file either a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor or a visa petition with CIS. This eliminates two extra steps in the application process, making it faster and simpler. It also means employers do not incur the significant processing fees CIS requires for filing visa petitions. The fees for H-1B petitions typically exceed $2,000. These features make E visas a good alternative for professionals who do not qualify for H-1B status.
The materials contained in guide have been prepared by Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. for informational purposes only and are not legal advice or counsel.
(C) 2010 Scott D. Pollock & Associates