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Our Los Angeles immigration attorneys have experience handling both E-1 and E-2 visa applications on behalf of foreign nationals. What are E-1 and E-2 visas? The United States has visa programs in place to promote trade and investment between nations with good relations. Individuals and even companies in countries that have treaties in the United States can obtain a treaty visa, which are called E-visas. These visas allow nationals of other countries to live and work in the United States. The two types of E-visas include the E-1 treaty trader visa and the E-2 treaty investor visa.

The E-1 Treaty Trader

Individuals who reside in a country that has a treaty with the United States may qualify for an E-1 visa if they undertake a large amount of international trade. Applicants will have to show that their businesses do so much trade with the United States that an employee is needed to live here to manage the business. Qualifying companies conduct at least 50 percent of their exports or imports to and from the United States. There is no set amount of trade that will automatically allow a company to qualify, but companies that have the highest volume of trade with the United States will have the best chance to qualify.

E-1 traders must show:

  • There will be a large number of trade transactions between the treaty county and the U.S.
  • The majority of the dollar value of trade will be between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • The trader and the company have the experience and skill necessary to direct the trade.
  • He or she has a history of conducting international trade.

The E-2 Treaty Investor

It is also possible to secure an E-visa by investing in companies in the United States. There is no set amount of investment that must be made in order to qualify, but there are a limited number of E-2 visas available, and individuals who invested the most capital will have a greater chance of being accepted. $100,000 is a very common amoutn ot invest but is not a legal requirement. The investment also must be sufficient enough to justify the treaty national, or the national’s employees’ presence in the U.S. Furthermore, the investment must go into an operating or starting up a business. Buying stocks, bonds and property does not qualify.

E-2 traders must show:

  • There has been substantial capital investment made. Individuals who have invested less than $100,000 often do not qualify.
  • Risk capital must have been committed.
  • The cash invested is not marginal and the investor controls the investment.
  • The enterprise is active.
    The investor has adequate acumen to develop the investment enterprise.