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The E-1 Treaty Trader:

E-1 visa is for nationals of qualifying Treaty countries who undertake a significant amount of international trade with the United States. The volume of such trade must be sufficient to justify the trader or the employee of the trader being in the United States to manage the trade, and must constitute the majority of the trader‘s international trade (i.e. at least 50% of the Trader’s exports/imports must be to/from the USA). There is no set minimum level of trade which is considered sufficient, but obviously the lower the volume of trade the less likely one is to qualify as a Treaty Trader.      

E1 visa mainly focuses on the volume of trade between the USA and the Treaty country. The prospective Treaty Trader must demonstrate that:

  • There will be a substantial number of trade transactions between the US and the treaty country;
  • There will be a substantial dollar value to the trade between the US and the treaty country.
  • The majority of international (i.e. not including transactions within the Treaty country or within the US) trade transactions undertaken by the applicant (have been and) will be between the US and the treaty country.
  • The majority of the dollar value of trade (has been and) will be between the US and the treaty country
  • The trader (or his/her employees seeking E1 visas) has sufficient business acumen and experience to develop and direct the trade.
  • The trader, and any other E1 staff, are able and willing to leave the US upon termination of their E1 status.
  • The trader has a past history of conducting trade between the US and the treaty country

E-2 Treaty Investor:

Nationals of qualifying Treaty countries who have made a significant investment in the United States may qualify for E2 Treaty Investor status. There is no set minimum level of investment which may qualify for E2 visa status, but the lower the investment the harder it is to qualify. In deed the amount of investment will depend on what type of business the investor is investing in. The amount of investment must at least be over 50% of the appraisal value. The investment must be in an operating business i.e. simply buying property or stocks and bonds does not qualify. Also, a substantial part of the investment must have been made before applying for E2 status. In other words the investment must be “at risk” at the time the application is made.

A lot of times USCIS inquires into the source of investment so it is important that the source of the investment is well documented.

The E-2 Visa applicant must demonstrate that:

  • There has been and will be a substantial capital investment in the US. Again, there is no specific cash threshold defined any investment below $50,000 would need a very strong case to support it.
  • Risk Capital has been Committed.
  • The investor will control the investment. In this respect control is considered to entail owning over 50% of the US enterprise.
  • The cash invested is not marginal when compared to the total investment. In general, unless it is common to the industry to have higher amounts of 'leveraging' (such as in the property industry), 51% of the investment should be in the form of cash equity. Where debt is secured against other assets of the investor, it is considered to be 'at risk', and may be considered as part of the equity invested.
  • The enterprise is (or will be) active. In order to be 'Directing and Developing' their investment, the investor will require an enterprise that involves active management.
  • US workers are (or will be) employed. The treaties envisage more than just creating a job for the principal investor, but there is no requirement to employ a particular number of US citizens. Obviously, employment of large numbers of US citizens would be viewed very favorably.
  • That the 'investor' has sufficient acumen to direct and develop the investment enterprise.
  • That the principal investor, and any other E2 staff, are able and willing to leave the US upon termination of their E2 status.

Our Attorneys have extensive experience with filing successful E2 Petitions. For more information regarding E-1/E-2 visa or for specific case evaluation please contact our office.

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