E-1/E-2 Visas for
Traders and Investors
E-1 and E-2 visas are limited to citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.
For an E-1 visa, a foreign national must be engaged in substantial trade that is principally between the United States and her E-1 qualifying country of nationality.
For an E-2 visa, a foreign national must own at least 50% of an active U.S. commercial enterprise in which he/she invested a substantial amount of capital that is “at risk.” (Ownership of multiple single family homes or condominiums held for rent and appreciation will not qualify a person for an E-2 visa no matter the total value of the investment.)
Foreign nationals also qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa to work as an executive, supervisor, or essential employee in a commercial enterprise that is at least 50% owned by foreign nationals from his/her same country of citizenship and that country has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.
E-1 or E-2 visa duration is dependent on the foreign national’s qualifying country and can be as long as 5 years. Each admission on an E-1 or E-2 visa is for 2 years regardless of visa expiration date, and there is no limit on how long a person can hold E-1 or E-2 status.
Finally, spouses of E-1 or E-2 visa holders can obtain general work authorization in the United States.