One of the qualifying factors for an E Visa is the nationality of the business. If the business doesn’t possess the qualifying nationality, it will not qualify for an E Visa—and neither will the petitioning employee. Read on to learn the intricacies of company nationality, including the 50% rule and more.
How is the nationality of a business determined for an E Visa?
For the purposes of an E visa, the nationality of a company is determined by the majority nationality of the individual owner or owners of the business. For example, in the case of a company equally owned by 3 individuals at 33.3% each, 66.6% must be from the national country. So if two Canadians and one other person of a different nationality own a business together, the 66.6% make the company a majority-owned Canadian business.
Where does the company need to be incorporated for an E Visa?
In general, the country of incorporation is irrelevant when determining the nationality requirement for an E Visa. The individual ownership of the company determines nationality. The nationality of the business must be the same as that of the treaty country. For example, if you are a national of Canada seeking an E visa, the company must also be considered a Canadian business for E Visa purposes.
What if the company is on the stock exchange?
If the company is sold exclusively on a stock exchange in the country of incorporation, the company is presumed to be of the same nationality as the location of the exchange. Even in this situation, it is incumbent on the application to provide proof of a qualifying nationality for the company.
What is the 50% rule for an E Visa?
Under the 50% rule, nationals of the treaty country must own at least 50 percent of the business in question when the investor is an organization, and the applicant is an employee. For corporations, the nationality of the owners of the stock determines the nationality of the company. The same applies if a business owns another business—the parent company must have 50 percent nationality of the treaty country.
What if I am an investor, only developing and directing the company?
If you are seeking an E Visa to develop or direct the company, then you must show that you control or will control the enterprise. This is typically shown through at least 50% ownership. You can also show control by possession of operational control (through a managerial position or other corporate devices) or by other means. Simply holding a managerial position is not sufficient.
What if I am a national of two countries?
In the case of dual-nationality, a choice must be made by the owner or owners as to which nationality will be used. The owner and all E Visa employees of the company must possess the nationality of the single E Visa qualifying country, and hold themselves as nationals of that country for all E Visa purposes involving that company, regardless of whether they also possess the nationality of another E Visa country. When a company is equally owned and controlled by nationals of two different treaty countries, employees of either nationality may obtain E Visas to work for that company.
What if one of the investors is a US Permanent Resident (Green Card holder)?
A trader or investor with the nationality of a treaty country but who is a US permanent resident (Green Card holder) does not qualify to bring in employees on the E Visa. Also, stock shares owned by US permanent residents cannot be considered in determining the nationality of the business. The US permanent resident must be a minority shareholder for the company to qualify for an E Visa.
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