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Treaty Trader E-1 Visa
Treaty Investor E-2 Visa
Investor Immigrant EB-5 Visa

Investor Visas (E-1 & E-2)

To qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa, in addition to other requirements, the applicant must be from a country that has a treaty with the U.S. See U.S Department of State Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

E-1 visa treaty traders carry on substantial trade in goods, including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals.

The general requirements for a treaty trader are:

- National of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
- Substantial trade
- Continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time.” No minimum requirement regarding the monetary value or volume of each transaction, greater weight is given to more numerous exchanges of greater value.
- Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader
- Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists “when over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the U.S. and the trader’s treaty country.”

E-2 visa treaty investors direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing, a substantial amount of money.

To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:

- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
- Substantial amount of capital in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
- Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
- Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

- A bona fide enterprise refers to a real, active and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking which produces services or goods for profit. It must meet applicable legal requirements for doing business within its jurisdiction.

- The investment enterprise may not be marginal. A marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.

- Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

Investment is the placing of capital, “including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit.” The capital must be at risk – “subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.”

Source of funds - The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.

The Process

E-1 and E-2 visa may be obtained by filing a nonimmigrant petition with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or filing an application with the respective U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the treaty country.

If E-1 or E-2 visa holder intends to travel during the period of employment, petition must be filed at the respective U.S Consulate or Embassy to obtain the E-1 or E-2 visa.

Period of Stay

E-1 and E-2 treaty traders, investors, and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

An E nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.

Family Members

Spouses and children under 21 will obtain E-1 or E-2 dependent status to accompany the principal E-1 or E-2 trader/investor. Spouses may be eligible for employment authorization document (EAD).

The EB-5 visa enables foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency through investing in a U.S. Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

Requirements:

investment of capital

- $500,000 – if investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) - Effective November 21, 2019 minimum investment will increase to $900,000.
- $1,000,000 – if investment is not in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) - Effective November 21, 2019 minimum investment will increase to $1,800,000.

in a new commercial enterprise

- “New Commercial Enterprise” is a business that is established after Nov. 29,1990.
- The investor can consider investing in
- an enterprise already in existence by increasing the current net worth and number of employees. The increase must be at least 40 percent. After the reorganization, you can then turn it into a commercial enterprise.
- a troubled business which is one that has been operational for at least two years and having a 20 percent loss within the two years of acquisition.
- The investor may also invest into the regional center that will help in the administration of the business.

- which results in job creation
- create 10 full time employment opportunities for U.S. based workers within 24 months from obtaining permanent residence. For a business made with a regional center, the investor must show that the 10 full time jobs were made available.

Investment is the placing of capital, “including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit.” The capital must be at risk – “subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.”

Source of funds - The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.

EB-5 Investor Options:

  1. Direct Investment – EB-5 direct investors must create/find their own investment project and must take a direct managerial role in overseeing that project. Direct investment is best for those who want more hands-on control of their investment and the project that received their investment.
  2. Regional Center – EB-5 investor invests the fund in a project created and manage by a regional center. Regional centers receive designation from USCIS to administer EB-5 investment projects and are responsible for adhering to USCIS EB-5 program regulations. This option may be best for those who are more interested in the immigration goals of EB-5 (“permanent residence”) rather than obtaining a maximum return on their investment. About 90 percent of all EB-5 applicants invest through a regional center. List of Regional Centers Authorized by the USCIS & List of Regional Centers Terminated by the USCIS.

Removing Condition

The EB-5 investor permanent residency (green card) is initially granted conditional permanent residence for a two-year period. Consequently, EB-5 Investor must file a petition to remove the condition before expiration of the two-year period. Upon removal of the condition, the EB-5 investor and any derivative family members will retain permanent residence status without restrictions.