An E visa is available to any party who is a national of a country which has a treaty of trade
and commerce with the United States. Please note not all countries have such treaties.
The E-2 visa is a treaty investor and such party can obtain an E-2 visa for a number of years but needs
to invest a substantial sum of money in a business in the U.S.A. and needs to prove that he/she is not
dependent upon the income from such business to live.
The E-1 visa is a treaty trader and such party can obtain an E-1 visa for a number of years but needs to
show that at least 51% of the treaty traders business is trade between the USA and the treaty traders
To obtain either an E-1 or E-2 visa the party requesting such visa must show that at least 51% of the
business entity in the U.S.A. is owned by foreign nationals of that same country.
It is possible that the U.S.A. may in the future enter into treaties with countries currently not on the
treaty list . For information on the countries which are on the treaty list you may communicate with us as
a part of the consultation mentioned hereunder.
Certain employees of the E-2 and E-1’s business in the U.S.A. may also under certain circumstances
qualify for an E-1 or an E-2 visa.
As regards the issue of “substantial investment ” mentioned above by the E-2 visa holder this amount
will depend on a number of factors including, but not limited to, the nature of the business . There is also
the issue of marginality regarding the E-2 investor. This in essence relates to the fact that the income
from the business should not be the sole source of the investor’s income. The E-2 investor should be
able to clearly demonstrate not only the profitability or potential profitability but that the E-2 investor has
other sources of income to take care of his and his families daily needs.
The E-2 visa can be approved at either the Immigration Service in the U.S.A. or at the U.S.A. Consulate
in the investor’s country of nationality.
It is to be noted that both the E-2 and E-1 visas are Non-Immigrant working visas and of themselves do
not directly lead to any method of permanent residence in the U.S.A. However E-1 and E-2 visa holders
are not precluded from making any application for permanent residence under available procedures.
The family of the E-1 and E-2 visa holder can accompany the E-1 or E-2 beneficiary and can therefore
live and study in the U.S.A. but may not be gainfully employed by a U.S.A. based employer. The spouse
and unmarried children under 21 years of age may stay in the U.S.A. for as long as the E-1 or E-2 visa
holder’s visa is valid including any extensions thereof.
The family of the E-1 or E-2 holder mentioned in the above paragraph may obtain work permission
from the U.S.A. immigration Service through their own qualifications , such as possessing the criteria to
apply for an H-1B non-immigrant working via.
The E-1 visa is known as the Treaty Trader non-immigrant visa. To qualify for E-1 status the applicant
must show his investment in a business in the U.S.A. of which at least 51% is owned by nationals of the
same country as the E-1 visa holder and which business does at least 51% of its trade/business with the
country of nationality of the E-1 visa holder.
Accordingly an E-1 visa holder is involved in a business in the U.S.A. which trades with the E-1 visa
holder’s home country in either tangibles or intangibles.
An E-1 visa is usually only applied for once trade has commenced and is established between the U.S.A.
business and the E-1 visa holder’s country of nationality and such trade be reasonably substantial in
As regards the interpretation of “substantial trade ” the number of transactions is a significant fact
although a lesser amount of transactions with fairly large money amounts is also a pertinent and relevant
Please contact us should you wish to discuss the visas mentioned in greater detail and with particular
reference to your circumstances.