E visas allow foreign nationals to come to the United States for trade and business purposes. The two types of E visas, E1 and E2, apply to different circumstances. These circumstances, and the visa requirements, are explained below:
The E1 visa exists to promote trade with countries with whom the United States has negotiated treaties. Citizens of those countries who do significant trade with the U.S. or work for a company that does may be eligible for the E1 visa. Many aspects of trade may fall into the E1 category such as banking, insurance, tourism, journalism, technology, and trade of goods and services.
An E1 visa holder may also be allowed to bring their immediate family, which includes unmarried children under the age of 21 and their legal spouse. After entering the United States the visa holder(s) may stay for up to two years. This stay may be extended, and there is no limit on the number of extensions. Once in the U.S. the spouse may apply for a work permit, but the children may not.
Although E visa holders are allowed to live and work in the U.S., E visas are non-immigrant visas and temporary, as opposed to green cards which are permanent.
Qualifying for an E1 Visa
The requirements for obtaining an E1 Visa are the following. The applicant must:
- Be a national from one of the treaty countries.
- Work for a qualifying business – one that has at least 50 percent ownership by nationals from the treaty country.
- Show the intent to carry out “substantial trade” or a continuous flow of trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
- Show that “principal trade” exists (at least 50 percent of that business’s international trade takes place between the United States and the treaty country).
- Be a key employee of the business or own at least 50 percent of the business.
The E2 visa is for foreign investors and is designed to allow foreign nationals from countries with whom the United States has treaties to work in the U.S. for a business in which they have significant investments. While in the United States the visa holder may only work for the employer or self-owned business that sponsored their E2 visa.
As with the E1 visa, E2 visa holders may bring their legal spouse and unmarried minor children with them. Once in the U.S. the spouse may apply for a work permit, but the children may not.
The initial length of the visa is dependent on the agreement held between the U.S. and the treaty country. The viability of the business venture will also be taken into account, with shorter visas given to new companies.
Some initial visas may be given for up to five years. With each entrance into the U.S. workers or family members may stay up to two years. This stay may be extended. The E2 visa has no limit on extensions.
Qualifying for an E2 Visa
Applicants who wish to obtain an E2 visa must meet the following requirements:
- Be a national of one of the treaty countries.
- Be either the owner or a key employee of the U.S. business that sponsors the E2 visa. If the visa applicant is not the owner, then the company must be at least 50 percent owned by other nationals of the country of origin.
- Either the visa applicant or the company must have invested a significant amount in the U.S. business. It must be demonstrated that the company is trying to make a profit and putting a substantial amount of its own capital or assets at risk in order to do so. It must be an active business that meets the legal requirements of its state or locality. The E2 visa program was designed to benefit U.S. workers with job creation.
- Demonstrate intentions or plans to depart the U.S. when the business is completed.
The Application Process
To ensure you are a citizen of a country with a qualifying treaty with the United States, and to apply for an E1 or E2 visa, consult with an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer who can assist you with the complex process of completing the required forms and interviews. Working with a qualified attorney who knows the application process well will enable you to obtain your visa in a timely fashion.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Assist with E Visas
For help obtaining E1, E2, or any type of visa, contact the experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyers at the Law Offices of Tahir Mella, P.C. Our skilled lawyers will guide you through each step of the visa application process, ensuring you receive your visa as quickly as possible. Call 215-496-0690 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation about your case. You can also contact us online. From our offices in Philadelphia we serve clients throughout the greater Philadelphia area and across the nation.