I often find there is confusion about whether a business is better suited to apply as an E-1 Treaty Trader or an E-2 Treaty Investor. While the two visa categories are similar in many respects, you need to be aware that there are important differences as well.
Let's examine those requirements that are common to both the E-1 and E-2 visa and those that are different:
- There is a treaty in place between the United States and the foreign country of origin of the trader/investor.
- The petitioning business must be at least 50% owned by nationals of the treaty country. An individual petitioner must be a national of the treaty country.
- If applying as an employee of the treaty enterprise, the individual applicant must be employed in an executive/supervisory position or possess skills which are essential for the business' U.S. operations.
- The employment in the U.S. must be temporary with the applicant intending to return to their native country when the status ends.
Different visa requirements
- There are different participating treaty countries which are eligible for E-1 Treaty Trader and others which are eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor. Many countries like France, Germany, Ireland and England have both.
- The E-1 Treaty Trader must already have made a substantial exchange of money, goods or services between the treaty country and the United States. Greater than 50% of the treaty trader's international trade must be with the U.S.
- The E-2 Treaty Investor can be in the process of making the investment.
- The E-1 trade must be ongoing while the E-2 investment can be a single payment if it is substantial.
- The E-2 applicant must be in a position that allows for them to develop or direct the business they have invested in.
Both the E-1 and E-2 can provide you with a powerful tool in growing your business in the U.S. It allows you great flexibility in managing your business and recruiting quality employees. However, it is important to examine which visa is available and the best fit for your situation, as the process of qualifying for an E-1 or E-2 visa is complicated.