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E-1 and E-2 Visa Eligibility in Emerging Markets

Immigration & International Trade in the U.S. .jpg

by Sherrod Seward, Partner  |  Queen City Immigration Law  |  704-500-2075

Immigration is often underutilized as an incentive to encourage international trade and development, especially in emerging markets. Queen City Immigration Law is determined to educate markets around the world about the benefits of investment-based visas in the E category. The E-2 Treaty Investor visa and the E-1 Treaty Trader visa are great programs that allow foreign business professionals come to the U.S. to conduct their business while simultaneously developing international trade. Below, please find a list of eligible treaty countries for these nonimmigrant categories in the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Africa. 

E-1 TREATY TRADER

This nonimmigrant classification is for nationals of select countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation to be admitted to the United States when involving themselves in substantial trade with the United States. These visas allow for unlimited travel in and out of the United States. These visas also allow the beneficiary to stay in the United States for extended periods with work authorization.

E-1 BENEFITS

SELF SPONSORSHIP

▸ Allows investor to obtain non-immigrant status

▸ Renewable indefinitely for the life of the business

▸ May freely travel in and out of United States

▸ Spouses and children under 21 years old are eligible for same nonimmigrant status, with spouses able to obtain work authorization

TRAVELING BENEFITS

▸ Avoids complications with B1/B2 Visas

▸ Stay within the United States for prolonged periods of time

▸ Freely travel in and out of United States during the validity of the E-1 visa

TREATY TRADER REQUIREMENTS

▸ Trader must be a national of a treaty country

▸ Must be executive, manager, or specialist in foreign business

▸ Ideally travels for business development purposes

TRADER COMPANY

▸ At least 50% owned by treaty country nationals

▸ Business substantially involved in international trade in goods or services with the U.S.

▸ International trade with the U.S. will be continuous

Middle East

Iran E-1 June 16, 1957

Israel E-1 April 3, 1954

Jordan E-1 December 17, 2001

Oman E-1 June 11, 1960

Pakistan E-1 February 12, 1961

Turkey E-1 February 15, 1933

Africa

Ethiopia E-1 October 8, 1953

Liberia E-1 November 21, 1939

Togo E-1 February 5, 1967

Caribbean

*No Eligible Countries

E-2 TREATY INVESTOR

This nonimmigrant classification is for nationals of select countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in an American business to manage and direct such business. Certain employees of E-2 Treaty Investors, as long as they have the same nationality as their employer, may also be eligible for this classification.

E-2 BENEFITS

SELF SPONSORSHIP

▸ Allows investor to obtain nonimmigrant status

▸ Renewable indefinitely for the life of the investment

▸ Spouses and children under 21 years old are eligible for same nonimmigrant status, with spouses able to obtain work authorization

BUSINESS OWNERSHIP

▸ Own a business or franchise in the United States

▸ The immediate family members can seek immigrant status though other categories

▸ Business can eventually be sold

E-2 VISA REQUIREMENTS

▸ Investor must be a national of a treaty country

▸ Investor must have control of the investment funds

▸ Investor must control and direct the business and cannot be a passive investor

▸ Investment must be substantial and subject to business risk

▸ Investor must own at least 50 percent of the investment

▸ Business must support other employees besides investor

Middle East

Armenia E-2 March 29, 1996

Azerbaijan E-2 August 2, 2001

Bahrain E-2 May 30, 2001

Iran E-2 June 16, 1957

Jordan E-2 December 17, 2001

Kazakhstan E-2 January 12, 1994

Kyrgyzstan E-2 January 12, 1994

Oman E-2 June 11, 1960

Pakistan E-2 February 12, 1961

Turkey E-2 May 18, 1990

Caribbean

Grenada E-2 March 3, 1989

Jamaica E-2 March 7, 1997

Trinidad & Tobago E-2 December 26, 1996

Africa

Cameroon E-2 April 6, 1989

Congo (Brazzaville) E-2 August 13, 1994

Congo (Kinshasa) E-2 July 28, 1989

Egypt E-2 June 27, 1992

Ethiopia E-2 October 8, 1953

Liberia E-2 November 21, 1939

Morocco E-2 May 29, 1991

Senegal E-2 October 25, 1990

Togo E-2 February 5, 1967

Tunisia E-2 February 7, 1993

Immigration is an underappreciated incentive to global business development, especially with enterprises in emerging markets. It is even truer with foreign business partners in emerging markets who often do not know of the immigration opportunities available for business people. For further explanations or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at 704-500-2075 or email info@qcilaw.com