The E-1 / E-2 are temporary, nonimmigrant visas based on a reciprocal commercial treaty or other agreements between the U.S. and the applicant’s country of nationality (citizenship).
Treaty trader (E-1) visas are available to qualified persons solely to carry on a substantial trade in goods, services or technology principally between their home country and the U.S.
Treaty investor (E-2) visas are available to qualified persons solely to develop and direct the operations of a business in which they have invested or are actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. The applicant of a treaty country can enter the U.S. for an indefinite time, often in two-year increments.
Executives and high level manager/supervisors of a treaty trader or treaty investor as well as other employees with special qualifications essential to the efficient operation of the U.S. enterprise are also admissible under E-1 or E-2 visas, if they are the same nationality as the trader or investor.
The spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of traders, investors and their treaty employees are also admissible as E-1’s and E-2’s. Unlike treaty traders, investors and employees, their spouses and unmarried children do not need to be nationals of the treaty country and they are authorized to accept employment in the U.S.
An E-2 visa does not automatically transition into EB-5, but can be done with viable projects meeting specific requirements. What is important is that there is no minimum time requirement for an investor to stay in E-2 status and that the E-2 capital investment may be counted towards the EB-5 requirement.
|Visa||Non-immigrant Visa||Immigrant Visa|
|Investment Amount||No required amount; however, needs to be substantial||Minimum investment amount is $500,000 if the project is in TEA; Otherwise it is $1million (soon to increase)|
|Proof for Source of Funds||Money must come from a legitimate source and traced||Money must come from a legitimate source and traced; requirement is more extensive than the source of funds requirement for E-2 Visas|
|Nationality||Nationality requirement||No nationality requirement|
|Job Creation||Some (No mandated amount nor a time constraint)||10 full-time jobs per investor|
|Intent to depart||Yes||No|
|Visa Validity||Indefinite||Two-year conditional resident status, then permanent resident status|
|Processing time||Can be processed in about three months, or with premium processing, 15 business days||Can be more than 14 months|
Individuals who have been employed by a company, organization or firm as a manager, executive, or in a specialized knowledge capacity, may qualify for L-1 status if, during the 3 years preceding entry to the U.S., they have worked for the employer outside the U.S. for at least one continuous year and now wish to transfer to an executive, managerial or specialized knowledge position in the U.S. to work temporarily with a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate of their foreign employer.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may apply to accompany the principal visa holder in L-2 status and are authorized to accept employment.
The Multinational Executives and Managers (EB-1C) is a first preference immigrant petition for priority workers ultimately leading to a green card. The company must have a foreign entity, and must be “doing business” in the U.S. for one year.
No labor certification is needed for this visa.
O-1 visas are available to qualified persons who can demonstrate either extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business and athletics, or a record of extraordinary achievement in motion picture and television productions.