While doing your research on United States immigration law, you realize that looking at visa options is best guided by the very purpose of your intended travel. Upon much contemplation, it finally comes to you – the purpose of your intended travel! You want to invest in the United States economy, either through international trade or major business investment. More research leads you to the seemingly perfect fit: the E visa category. The E visa category includes treaty traders and investors who come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which you are a citizen or national. However, you notice that the E visa has various classifications. Which one is the best for you? Take a look:

The E-1 Classification

The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade. To qualify for E-1 classification, you have to meet the following general requirements:

  • You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • You carry on substantial trade in which at least 50% of the volume of trade you carry out must be between the United States and the designated treaty country. The trade can be in the form of physical movement of goods, transportation, or non-physical services, including banking and insurance, tourism, technology, or journalism; and
  • You should be prepared to provide evidence that you intend to return to your home country at the end of the visa period.

If you are granted this classification, you will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years.  You can request an extension of stay and it may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions you can be granted.  You must, however, maintain an intention to depart the United States when your status expires or is terminated.

The E-2 Classification

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country who has significant funds to invest to come into the U.S. for the purposes of setting up a business, practice, or office. To qualify for E-2 classification, you have to meet the following general requirements:

  • You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • You have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in an enterprise in the United States; and
  • You are seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.

If you are granted this classification, you will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years.  You can request an extension of stay and it may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions you can be granted.  You must, however, maintain an intention to depart the United States when your status expires or is terminated.

See U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

The foregoing should serve as a good foundation for understanding the differences between two of the classifications in the E visa category. If you believe that this visa category matches your purpose for intended travel or would like to learn more about it, contact and consult with an immigration attorney.

Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.