Attention Businesspeople: Treaty Trader and Investor Work Visas
By Attorney Joseph E. Ching
US Immigration Laws and Procedures are some of the most complex processes in the world. With categories of visas ranging from A to Z, the number of visas available is incredible. An important visa that all international businesspersons should know about is the E class of Treaty Trader and Investor work visas. The U.S. participates in various investment and trade treaties with countries and regions around the world to promote international trade. Class E visas allow for businesspeople from those countries to visit the U.S. to conduct trade and invest in the United States.
Class E visas are divided into two categories: “E-1” Treaty Trader and “E-2” Treaty Investor visas. An E visa allows a visitor a stay in the U.S. Generally, the length of the stay depends on the treaty terms with each individual country, and the visa can be extended or renewed if the applicant is still eligible.
E-1 Treaty Trader Visas
E-1 Treaty Trade visas allow foreign businesspeople to come to the U.S. to conduct trade. An individual may be eligible if:
- The person or company is a national of a treaty country. (The company must have at least 50% ownership by nationals of a treaty country.)
- The individual is the principal trader of the company and plans to the visit the U.S. solely to conduct trade of goods or services OR the individual is a manager, executive or employee with special skills that are necessary to the company.
- Substantial trade exists between the U.S. and the treaty country.
Countries eligible for E-1 Treaty Trader visas: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei (Borneo), Canada, China(Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
E-2 Treaty Investor Visas
The U.S. also provides a type of visa for international investors from treaty countries. An individual may be eligible for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa if:
- The person or company is a national of a treaty company. (The company must have at least 50% ownership by nationals of a treaty country.)
- The person has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business (generally over $150,000 at risk).
- The individual is the principal investor who will control the investment or is a manager, an executive, or an employee with special skills that are necessary to the company.
- The investment made under the visa is not the individual’s only source of income.
Countries eligible for E-2 Treaty Investor visas: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran (Treaty inoperative because of E.O. preventing trade with Iran), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea(South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. The E visa category is derived from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1924; July 6, 1932; and 1952. The legislation that establishes this visa type can be found under INA Section 101(a)(15)(E), 8 USC Section 1101(a)(15)(E); 8 CFR Section 214.2(e); 62 Fed. Reg. 48, 146-55 (Sept. 12, 1997).
(For more information, please contact the Law Office of Joseph E. Ching at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504-525-8810.)