Investor Visas & Treaty Trader Visas 

Citizens of foreign countries who wish to enter the United States must first obtain a visa. This visa can be either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. If you are a business trader or a business investor, an investor visa may be an option.

The United States offers two forms of E-Visas. The E-1 Visa and E-2 Visa programs provide immigration benefits to entrepreneurs or investors holding citizenships in nations maintaining commerce treaties with the United States.

The E-1 Trader Visa focuses on entrepreneurs and business owners who engage in substantial trade between the U.S. and their treaty country. The E-2 Investor Visa focuses on individuals making a sizable capital investment in a business located in the U.S.

 

E-1 Visa – Treaty Trader Visas

 

If you are a national of an E-1 treaty country, you may be eligible for an E-1 visa. Treaty countries are those which maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.

The E-1 visa (Treaty Trader Visa) would allow you to be admitted to the United States only so you may engage in substantial trade on your behalf. If you have qualified employees, they may also be eligible under your visa.

The U.S. Department of State has a list of E-1 and E-2 treaty countries here.

Qualifications for an E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

  • Individuals or companies must have the same nationality as the treaty country.
  • Nationals of the treaty country must own at least half of the company.
  • There must be substantial trade between the United States and the treaty country.
  • The individual is either the principal trader who is coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade, or an executive manager, manager, or employee with special skills essential to the company.

What you trade is not limited to goods and services. However, trade between the U.S. business and treaty country must account for more than half of the total volume of international trade.

Family Members

Under the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa, you may bring your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old with you. They may stay for as long as your E-1 visa is valid. Your spouse may seek employment authorization, and your children may attend U.S. schools.

 

E-2 Visa – Treaty Investor Visas

If you are a national of an E-2 treaty country, you may be eligible for an E-2 visa. Treaty countries are those which maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa would allow you to be admitted to the United States if you invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. This visa is intended to be for a temporary stay. There is no green card option through an E-2 Visa.

If you have qualified employees, they may also be eligible under your E-2 visa. The U.S. Department of State webpage lists the E-1 and E-2 E-2 visa countries.

Qualifications for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa

  • Individuals or companies must have the same nationality as the treaty country.
  • The individual or company has made or is in the process of making a substantial capital investment (relative to the total value of the company) in a bona fide business enterprise in the United States.
  • The individual is either the principal investor who will direct and develop the enterprise, or an executive, supervisor, or employee whose services are essential to the efficient operation of the U.S. company.

Who Qualifies as an Employee of a Treaty Investor?

  • To qualify, the employee must be the same nationality as the principal alien employer.
  • The employee must meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law.
  • The employee must engage in the duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, possess skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business.

How to Apply for a Change of Status to E-2 Classification

If you are in the United States and you have legal nonimmigrant status, you may file Form I-129 to change your status to E-2 Classification. If you are a worker for a business with E-2 classification and qualify, your employer may file Form I-129 for you.

If you or your beneficiary are not in the United States, or if you are not eligible to change your status inside the United States, you may apply for an E-2 visa at your U.S. consulate or embassy abroad.

If approved, you may stay for up to two years with your visa. You may request an extension for up to two more years, and there is no limit to the number of extensions granted, so long as the treaty countries hold an agreement with the United States.

However, as an E-2 nonimmigrant, you must maintain an intention to leave the U.S. when your status lapses or is terminated. It is important to note: each country has different requirements for qualification.

What About the Family Members of E 2 Visa Holders?

As an investor or employee, you may bring your spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years old. Your family does not have to share your nationality. They would apply for E 2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents. If the application is approved, your family members will gain status for the same period given to you.

If your family is already in the U.S., they may file Form I-539. Your spouse may apply for work authorization by submitting Form I-765. If your spouse is authorized to work, there is no restriction on where they may work. Your children are not eligible to apply for work authorization.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visas

The EB-5 visa is for foreign investors who wish to make a significant investment in the United States in order to receive permanent residency for themselves, their spouses, and unmarried children under the age of 21. There are different requirements and forms depending on where you choose to invest your money. Click here to learn more about EB-5 visa.

Permanent Residency Through Investment

If your I-536 is approved, you may file form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence with USCIS if you are in the United States. If you are outside the United States, you may file DS-60, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration with the U.S. Department of State. If your application (Form I-485) is approved, you, your spouse, and unmarried children may be granted conditional permanent residence for two years beginning from the approval of their application or when you enter into the U.S. with an EB 5 visa.

After the two years, you may file Form I-829 to remove the conditions and become a Lawful Permanent Resident. You must apply within 90 days of the second anniversary of your admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident. You may live anywhere within the United States. You are not bound to live where you make your investment.

 

Contact an Experienced Immigration Attorney Today to Apply for an Investor Visa.

Lim Law, P.A.’s immigration team can assist you to  obtain an Investment Visa. Speak to an Orlando immigration lawyer at Lim Law today, and schedule a free consultation. If you have any questions regarding an E-1, E-2, or EB-5 visa in the United States, call our Maitland office at 407-897-8870 or our Kissimmee office to schedule your consultation today. The first consultation is complimentary. You may also contact us via email at [email protected] For over 20 years, Immigration lawyer Henry Lim has helped more than 10,000 families with their immigration issues. You can Ask Henry a question at [email protected] or submit a video question by sending a link to one of our channels.

 

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