Investor Visas (E-Visa: Treaty Traders/Treaty Investors)

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General Overview

The E visa category allows foreign nationals who are citizens of treaty countries to engage in activities as a treaty trader, treaty trader or treaty investor, or as an employee of a qualifying entity that in turn, must be a treaty trader or treaty investor. Treaty Traders engage in substantial international trade in goods, services or technology between the treaty country whereas Treaty Investors direct and develop a business in which the investor has either already invested or is in the process of investing. E employees must be supervisors, executives or essentials. E status is valid for up to two years and E visas are issues up to 5 years. The visa is renewable for as long as the investor/trader is engaged in appropriate treaty activities. Dependent spouses and minor children of E visa holders also obtain E Status, and Spouses of E visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization.

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E-1: Treaty Traders

In order to be eligible for a E-1 visa, the foreign national must show that the enterprise in question is engaged, principally and substantially, in trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. Trade between the U.S. and the foreign country must already be in progress on behalf of the individual or firm to entitle one to treaty trader classification. While there is no monetary limit that must be met in order to qualify for a E-1 visa, the trading activity must be substantial enough to ensure a continuous flow of international trade items from the U.S. and the treaty country.

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E-2: Treaty Investors

E-2 Treaty investors may be admitted into the U.S. to develop & direct the operations of the enterprise in which he has invested or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.The requirements for the capital investment require that: Investor must be in control of the funds; Investor must put the investment capital at risk, and the investor must be able to show proof of actual purchase or/or signed contracts and leases related to the enterprise. A showing of wire transfers to a U.S. bank account with nothing more will likely not be sufficient. There is no monetary minimum that must be met to qualify for a visa, but Immigration will look closely at the amount of funds or assets actually invested and the value of the business.

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Acquiring the visa

The foreign National may apply for the E-visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad as it is not necessary to file a petition with the USCIS before the visa application. If the foreign national is within the U.S, a petition may be filed to change status to E-visa. It is generally recommended that the foreign national apply for the E-visa at a U.S. Consulate as it is more convenient to do so.

Additional Resources

For additional information on E-Visas please see: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1273.html

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