In order to work legally in the United States, you must first obtain work authorization. The US has several different nonimmigrant visa classifications for temporary workers. Two types of E visas—the E-1 and E-2 classifications—are specific to traders and investors.
What type of E Visa do I need?
The US offers two main types of temporary (nonimmigrant) E visa classifications for traders and investors.
E-1 Visas for Traders
The E-1 nonimmigrant classification visa for treaty traders and qualified employees allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
E-2 Visas for Treaty Investors
The E-2 nonimmigrant classification visa for treaty investors allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
Have substantial trade in goods or services with the United States. “Substantial trade” means ongoing trade with the United States, which includes multiple transactions over time. There is no minimum requirement regarding the value or volume of each transaction. More weight is given to more numerous exchanges of greater value.
Have principal trade with the United States. “Principal trade” means that over 50% of the total volume of your international trade is with the US.
Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in an existing or new business in the United States. A “substantial” investment amount varies based on the type of business, and in some cases can be as low as $50,000. There is no set minimum amount of investment to qualify for an E-2 visa. Government agencies have improved investments under $50,000 USD for a service/consulting business. In general, the aamount should be what is considered enough to establish a viable business of the type sought. The investment must be actual and active, or. the investor must make an irrevocable commitment of funds.
Must demonstrate that the business will create jobs for US workers and not just income for the investor. The investment should create or be able to create jobs for US workers, and not solely provide income for the investor.
Be seeking to enter the United States to develop, manage, and direct your investment. Simply purchasing a residence or land in the US is not sufficient.
Have at least 50% ownership of the US business, OR possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices. The person seeking E-2 status must play an essential role with the company, either as an investor who will develop and direct the investment or as a highly qualified employee necessary for the development of the investment.
What type of business qualifies for an E-2 Visa? The Government has approved E2 visas for all types of businesses and investments. The type of business isn’t as important as the ability of the investor to create a viable long-term enterprise. As long as the investor has a well-prepared business plan that shows the likelihood of the business to succeed and create US jobs, and the investor meets all other requirements, the investor has a good chance of approval.
How do I apply for an E Visa?
Applying for the E-1 & E-2 Visa
All E Visa filings are done electronically with the US Consulate in the treaty country.
There are NO in-person filings.
Only the E Visa applicant is allowed to attend the E visa interview. They do not allow E Visa lawyers to attend the interview.
What do I need for the application? Each consulate handles E-1 and E-2 visa processing their own way. Before you submit your application, you should contact your consulate so that you are aware of their exact requirements, processing times, and any special items they may require. For example, Richards and Jurusik deal most often with the consulate in Toronto, Canada. As part of the supporting evidence for the E-2 investor visa, they prefer for the application to come with a professionally prepared business plan.
How long does it take? Processing times vary throughout the year and from consulate to consulate. In addition to consular processing times, you also need to account for the preparation and assembly of the evidence. This can be done as quickly as a few days or as long as several weeks, depending on what evidence has already been collected. We process cases as quickly as we receive the supporting documents.
How long is an E-2 Visa good for? The initial stay for E-2 investors is usually granted for two years, but this time period can be extended almost indefinitely, as long as the investment continues and the foreign national affirms that they will leave the United States when their period of authorized stay comes to an end.
Can my spouse and children come with me to the US? Any spouse and children under the age of 21 may accompany or follow an E-1 Visa or E-2 Visa holder as an nonimmigrant under the same classification as the visa holder.
Will they able to work? The spouse of an E-1 or E-2 Visa holder automatically receives work authorization. Children of an E-1 Visa or E-2 Visa holder cannot receive work authorization.
We Can Help You Apply for E-1 Visas and E-2 Visas
At Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law, we focus our legal practice on the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States. Our specialized practice has allowed us to gain particular expertise with the preparation, filing, and successful adjudication of E Visa applications, including new applications, renewals, extensions, denials, and all other E Visa-related matters.
Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law regularly creates video content about the current state of a certain aspect of US immigration law, and how it applies to Canadians living and working in the United States today.