E-1/E-2 Visa for Small Business Owners, Entrepreneurs & Investors

E Visas are not immigrant visas. They’re obtained by traders and investors who are allowed to enter the United States pursuant to a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the nation they are a citizen of. An E-3 Visa is used for purposes of allowing Australian specialty workers enter the United States for purposes of their jobs.

The E-1 Visa

E-1 Visas allow people or employees of business entities entry into the United States for purposes of conducting international trade in the form of goods, services or banking. An E-1 Visa might also include a spouse and the children of the visa holder under the age of 21. The holder of the E-1 Visa is required to be a citizen of a country that is a party to the applicable treaty and show their intention of engaging in substantial trade with United States individuals or business entities and the nation of the E-1 Visa holder’s country. Substantial trade generally means the continuous flow of sizeable international trade and numerous transactions over time. It can be in the form of goods, transportation or services like technology or tourism.

The E-2 Visa

This is a visa for an investor who is a national of one of more than 30 countries who are investment parties to the treaty. Individual with substantial sums of money to invest are allowed entry into the United States to establish a bona fide business, practice or U.S. office. Holders of E-2 Visas must have already invested substantial funds in a legitimate U.S. business entity or be in the process of investing in it and seek to enter the country sole for the purpose of the development and direction of the entity. An investor’s intent is evidenced in at least a 50% stake in an entity or having operational control of it from a managerial position.  He or she must show that the investment funds were not derived from criminal activity, and if the investment fails, the investment money must be subject to a partial or complete loss. The spouse and family members of an E-2 Visa holder are allowed entry into the United States under the same conditions as those of E-1 family members. 

The E-3 Visa

These are limited solely to citizens of Australia with specialty occupations. Such an occupation involves the theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge and academic training. The holder of an E-3 Visa must possess the requisite academic or other qualifying credentials for the business entity and fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation. The holder of an E-3 Visa is permitted to have his or her spouse and children under the age of 21 enter the United States too. Accountants, auditors, upper-level managers and entertainers and commonly apply for E-3 Visas. Only 10,500 E-3 Visas are issued annually.

Where to Apply

Applicants for E-1/E-2 or E-3 Visas must apply for their visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. Should an employer want a change of status for a current non-immigrant employee who is already in the United States, that employer can seek it.

There are differences between the E-1, E-2 and E-3 visas that only a knowledgeable and experienced immigration lawyer might discern. There are also confusing and complicated requirements. Even employers rely on skilled immigration lawyers for foreigners who they wish to employ or keep employed. Jobs are what built the United States, and if you’re qualified for a specific job that is available, we want you here to fill it. Contact the Central Valley immigration lawyers at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers with your questions on E-Visas. We’ll be pleased to speak with you and answer your questions about your specific situation.