There are several visas that aim to encourage investments and trade with the United States. These visas include the E-1 and E-2 Immigrant Investor Visas. E-1 and E-2 visas work to encourage trade with countries which are involved in a treaty with the United States. The E-1 visa is primarily granted to employees of enterprises, whereas the E-2 visa is granted to the investors of those enterprises. The immigration team at the Federal Practice Group can help with all your investment visa questions.
E-1 visas are granted to treaty traders to maintain and encourage trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. In addition, the treaty trader must be a national of that foreign treaty country. In order to qualify for the visa, there must be a traceable exchange between the US and the treaty country. The trade must also be international and involve commodities such as goods, services, and/or money. At least fifty percent of the trade conducted under the visa must be between the U.S. and that treaty country. Trade must be substantial; there must be an ongoing flow of transactions over time. While there is no minimum requirement of the volume or value of individual transactions, larger transactions are often given visa priority. The employee should also be vital or extremely important to the enterprise of trade for the business he or she represents. These qualifications may include expertise, particular skills, or in-depth experience. The owner(s) of the enterprise must also be a national of the foreign state and own at least fifty percent of the company.
The investor must make or be in the process of making a substantial investment in a business. This substantial investment involves the irrevocable commitment to the enterprise by putting his or her personal assets at risk. In addition, the investor must also make a significant contribution to the market value of the business in proportion to the funds invested. In order to actively be in the process of making this investment, the investor cannot merely show prospective intent. The investor must be able to develop and direct the enterprise, controlling more than fifty percent of the businesses interest. The business must be more than marginal, meaning the investor cannot invest merely to earn a living.
The duration of stay for E-1 and E-2 visas is initially two years at admission, which can then be extended for an additional two years at a time without limit. The spouse and children (under 21) of the trader or investor will be admitted in the same category as the principle visa holder, regardless of nationality.
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