Internationals who want to engage in a business relationship with the U.S in the form of trade and investment qualify for a U.S nonimmigrant visa. This visa is called the Treaty Trader and Investor Visa and holds the denomination of E Visa USA.
The article will give an overview of what the E visa allows its holders to engage in, what are the types of E visas, its processing times, and a brief guide on its application procedures.
The E Visa is not a traditional business visa such as the B-1 Visa. It is only specific to trade and investment. Those who hold it cannot engage in any other activity which does not fall within those two.
To qualify as a Trader or Investor, you must plan to do the following in the U.S:
- Become involved in the operations of a company in which you have invested capital
- Trade with someone in the U.S, either in products or services
The investment and trading can be in any industry or field, such as technology, tourism, transportation, and so on. The visa does not regulate or prohibit types of industries in which you can trade or invest, as long as they are within the legal framework of the U.S.
In addition to the main trader and investor who can get the E visa, the employees of the company with which trade or investment is done, can also get E visas. This means that if you work in a company that trades with the U.S, and you need to go to oversee or work in those operations, you qualify for the E visa. The same visa is issued for both employers and employees in this case.
What are the types of E visa?
The E visa is a category which is made up of several other visas. These visas, then specify the type of activities that the holder can engage in while in the U.S. There are three types of E visas, each one with its own rules and regulations.
The E-1 visa is the visa for trade in the U.S. It allows the person who is a citizen of one of the treaty countries (listed below) to go to the U.S and trade in various industries. If you want to trade in the U.S as a representative of a company, that company must have at least a 50% ownership by people who are citizens of treaty countries.
Also, you must have a position of key responsibility to qualify for the E-1 visa. This means that you must be an essential employee to the operations of the company, an executive, supervisor, or person with specialized skills to be able to apply.
Moreover, the amount of trade that is done between the treaty country and the U.S cannot be in low volumes. The trade must be substantial, meaning that it is in bulk and is traded continuously.
The E-2 visa is the investor visa for the U.S. The person or company must commit to a substantial investment in the U.S, which has an economic impact in the country. Low amounts of investment, which only generate income for the investor and any dependents or family do not qualify for the E-2 visa. The company that the investment is going to must be a real enterprise and not just a paper company.
The investor must be a citizen of one of the treaty countries. If the investor is a company, it must be owned at least 50% by people who are citizens of the treaty countries. Additionally, only the primary investor and any essential employees, executives, supervisors, or highly specialized people can apply for the E-2 visa. Those who are not essential to the operations of the investment, cannot obtain this type of visa.
The E-3 visa is entirely different from the E-1 and E-2 visas. Its primary condition is not an activity such as trade or investment, but a nationality. Only citizens of Australia qualify to obtain this visa.
In addition, the applicants from Australia must work in a specialty occupation, which requires specialized knowledge gained through extensive training or education. The education must be at a higher level, such as a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree.
The dependents of the Australian citizen, so the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old also qualify, even if they are not citizens of Australia.
Who qualifies for the E visa?
Besides being in trade and investment, the E visa is based on treaties that the U.S has developed with other countries. These treaties specify the type of E visa that the nationals of a country can obtain. Only countries with which the U.S has treaties are allowed to apply, so trade and invest, with the E visa.
How to apply for an E visa?
The application procedure for the types of E visas is similar to other types of non-immigrant visas. The steps for applying are as follows:
- Apply online by filing Form DS-160 and obtain the confirmation page and code at the end when you submit it
- One photograph which you will submit in the Form DS-160 page, which meets the US photo specifications and requirements
- Pay the application fee, which for E visas is $205. You might be required to pay additional fees depending on the country you are from, such as visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees.
- Schedule your visa interview, which is required for all applicants over 13 and under 80 years old. Make sure to schedule it early to avoid long waits due to the U.S Embassy’s case load. When you schedule it, you will receive a visa appointment letter, which you will need to bring to your interview.
- Prepare your document file which contains your passport, receipts of fee payments, Form DS-160 confirmation page, visa appointment letter, and Form DS-156E if you are applying for an E-1 or E-2 visa.
- Attend the visa interview, where you will be asked questions from a U.S Embassy official regarding your purpose of visit to the U.S.
E Visa Processing Time
The processing time of E visas depends on the demand for them. The general consensus is that after you apply for any type of E visa, it will take from 8 to 10 weeks time to process it. After that, you will receive a response from the U.S Embassy on whether your visa has been approved or denied.
E Visa Extensions
The extension or renewal of an E visa is possible; however, it depends on several conditions. The most important one is that the activities for which the visa is given are continued. This means that either the trade or the investment is in line with U.S laws and regulations. When the trading period ends or when the investor is no longer essential to the operations, the person holding the E visa must return to their home country.
If the person wants to stay longer in the U.S, then they must apply for other appropriate visas, since they will not be allowed to remain in the U.S with an E visa.
E Visa Dependents
The primary traders and investors who have an E visa, can also bring their dependents with an E visa. Dependents are spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old. The dependents must apply for the same visa and it is recommended that they apply at the same time as the primary visa applicant.
Dependents of E visa holders are allowed to open bank accounts, get a driver’s license, study, as well as work. They are only allowed to start working if they obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).