Frequently Asked Questions About Treaty Visas

In this section you will find most frequently asked questions About Treaty Visas, E1 and E2 visas.

Can I gain E status as a self-employed professional?

No. The principal applicant should be going to the USA to 'develop and direct' his/her trade or investment, not to be a factor of production or trade in his/her own right. Thus accountants, IT consultants, doctors, lawyers, etc, cannot obtain E status to enable themselves to practice their profession in the USA.

How long can I stay in the USA in E status?

Indefinitely, provided the level of international trade or the value of you investment in the US remains sufficient to justify your being there. Registration is initially valid for between two and five years, but can be renewed any number of times.

Why isn't my country eligible for E status?

The treaties which give rise to eligibility for E status are generally on a reciprocal basis, in that they will also entitle US persons and companies to obtain similar immigration rights in the other treaty country. Nations with restrictive inward investment policies or currency controls are unlikely to have such a treaty with the United States. Further, most recent treaties entered into by the United States with e.g. the former Communist countries tend to be Bilateral Investment Treaties, conferring only E2 eligibility on nationals of the other contracting state. Note also that existing treaties may be suspended if the United States' relationship with the other treaty signatory deteriorates significantly or that country is subject to international sanctions, etc.

What is the minimum amount of trade or investment needed to qualify?

There is no set minimum level, though obviously the lower the amount of trade or investment the less likely it is that the application will succeed. The amount necessary will also depend on the type of business or trade engaged in.

What are the alternatives if I or my employees do not qualify for E-status?

The L-1 intra company transfer visa is the most obvious choice, though the H1B speciality occupation visa is also a possibility. In addition, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor is an option which eventually leads to US permanent residency. However, this visa is extremely difficult and time-consuming to obtain.

Can E-visa dependants work?

E dependants can now obtain a general work authorization. This work authorization must be applied for separately, though.

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