E Visa Eligibility, Nationality & Family Members

What Is a Treaty Trader Visa? What Is a Treaty Investor Visa?

The treaty trader (E-1) or treaty investor (E-2) visas are extremely desirable visa solutions for foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States to direct and control a company in which the foreign national would: 1) invest substantial capital; or 2) carry on a substantial trade, including trade in services or technology between the foreign national's country and the US. Such visas are also available to foreign nationals who wish to be employed for an enterprise that had previously been designated for E visa purposes, to perform managerial/executive duties or as an essential employee. Many businesses throughout the United States are operated by foreign nationals through the E visa program. For instance, several major franchisors such as Tim Hortons and Charley's Grilled Subs located in Columbus, Ohio offer treaty investor visas to franchisees coming from certain qualifying countries.

The purpose of the E visa category is to foster trade and commerce between the United States and certain countries. Such treaties will afford citizens of those countries the ability to operate an enterprise in the US, in either E-1 or E-2 visa categories.

How Is Nationality Determined for Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor Visa Purposes?

In order for the foreign national to receive the E visa designation, there has to be a pre-existing treaty for reciprocal friendship, commerce, and navigation between such foreign national's country of citizenship and the United States. The nationality of the company that will form the investment is determined by the nationality of the owner or owners of such company. Where two foreign nationals from different treaty countries equally own an enterprise, such enterprise will carry the nationality of both owners. A scenario like this will entitle both foreign nationals to receive E visa designation by virtue of their investment or trade in such enterprise. For instance, if a company is equally owned by two individuals, one is from Canada and the other is from Mexico, both owners are eligible for the visa designation because Canada and Mexico are both treaty countries and the nationality of the company is that of both owners.

If a company is owned by foreign national holding citizenship for more than one country, he or she could elect which citizenship the enterprise would hold. This rule may allow foreign nationals to transfer employees from the country of the designated nationality of the enterprise, to work under the umbrella of such E visa. For instance, if a foreign national is a dual citizen of Korea and Canada, and such foreign national wants to establish an enterprise in the United States, he or she could qualify as an E visa holder under either nationality. In order to transfer essential employees to the new enterprise from Korea instead of Canada, the foreign national must select Korea as his country of Citizenship for E visa purposes.

Dependents & Family Members of Treaty Traders (E-1) or Treaty Investors (E-2)

Foreign nationals who receive Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are eligible to have their family members (spouses and children) join them as dependents. Such dependent children are eligible to attend schools and reside in the US until they reach 21 years of age. Dependent spouses are eligible to receive employment authorization documents after their entry in the US in E visa status. They may accept employment for the company which formed the basis for the E visa or for any other employer. It is said that the E-1 and E-2 visa categories are the closest nonimmigrant visa statuses to permanent residence.

Please note that brothers, sisters, parents, and other family members may not be designated as dependents. However, the investment or the US Company may be structured in such a manner to allow other such family members to also receive the Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor designation. Our law firm has successfully done so for our clients.

Contact Us to Learn Your Next Steps?

If you desire to file for a Treaty Investor or Treaty Trader visa you should contact the competent Columbus immigration lawyers of The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates. Advanced planning of your proposed business is critical to a successful visa application and business later on. Our lawyers will offer their experience in analyzing your objectives and in applying practical solutions to achieving your goals. We have worked with hundreds of investors successfully and are familiar with the intricacies of US Consulates around the world.

Contact us by email or by phone at (800) 625-3404 to schedule a consultation.


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