Visa Classifications for Treaty Traders and Investors
The E-visa is a nonimmigrant visa classification used by foreign nationals who wish to enter the United States to engage in business activities. These activities include attending business meetings, negotiating contracts, or participating in other commercial transactions. There are three types of E-visas: E-1 visas for treaty traders, E-2 visas for treaty investors, and E-3 visas for Australian professional workers. Here's what you should know.
The E-1 visa is available to foreign nationals from countries that have a trade treaty with the United States. This visa allows the holder to engage in international trade between the U.S. and their home country.
Eligibility Requirements for the E-1 Visa
To qualify for the E-1 visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States has a trade treaty
- Be employed by a company that conducts substantial trade with the United States
- Have an executive or supervisory position within the company
The E-2 visa is available to foreign investors from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. This visa allows the holder to come to the U.S. to develop and direct their business enterprise.
To qualify for the E-2 visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Have made a significant investment in a U.S.-based enterprise
- Have an executive or supervisory role within the company
The E-3 visa is available to professional workers from Australia. This visa allows the holder to come to the United States to work in their field of expertise.
To qualify for the E-3 visa, applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Be a national of Australia
- Offered a job from a U.S. employer in their field of expertise
- Have the required academic or professional credentials for the position
- Be in a role that is considered a “specialty occupation”
How Does the E-Visa Differ from Other Employment Classifications?
The E-visa classification is unique in that it allows foreign nationals to come to the United States for business purposes without obtaining a formal job offer. Other employment-based visa categories require applicants to have been offered a job from a U.S. employer before applying for a visa.
The E-visa is also different from other visa categories in that it does not have an annual limit on the number of visas that can be issued. This contrasts with the H-1B visa, for example, which has a yearly quota of 85,000 visas.
Finally, the E-visa classification does not lead to permanent residency in the United States. The E-1, E-2, and E-3 visas are all nonimmigrant visas, which means they are temporary. Holders of these visas can stay in the United States for as long as their visa is valid, but they will eventually have to leave the country.
Applying for an E-Visa
To apply for an E-visa, you must first file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, you must submit a visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
The application process for an E visa varies depending on which type of visa you are applying for. To apply for an E-1 visa, you must file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Once the petition is approved, you must submit a visa application at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The application process for an E-2 visa is slightly different - you must first file your petition with the USCIS, but you do not need to submit your application at a U.S. embassy or consulate until your petition is approved. The process for applying for an E-3 visa is even more straightforward - you need to submit your application at a U.S. embassy or consulate like any other nonimmigrant visa application.
Setbacks in the E-Visa Application Process
Despite the relative ease of the E-visa application process, there are a few potential setbacks that applicants should be aware of. One common issue is that of “business intent.” To qualify for an E visa, you must demonstrate that you have a bona fide business purpose for coming to the United States. This can be difficult to prove, especially if you are applying for an E-2 visa without a job offer from a U.S. employer.
Another potential issue is the requirement that you have a significant investment in your U.S.-based enterprise. For the E-2 visa, this investment must be “at risk,” meaning it could be lost if the business fails. This can be challenging to meet, as most investments are not entirely at risk.
Finally, it is important to note that the E visa classification is intended for businesses and employees who wish to come to the United States temporarily. If you want to live permanently in the United States, you must apply for a different visa classification.
Can You Appeal a Denied E-Visa Application?
In many cases, there is no standard appeals process. However, depending on the reason your visa application was denied, you may still be able to get approved. For example, if your application is denied because you do not have the necessary credentials for your position, you may be able to submit additional documentation to demonstrate your qualifications. If your application is denied because you do not have a job offer from a U.S. employer, you may be able to find an employer who is willing to sponsor your visa or reapply again once you have a legitimate offer.
Why You Should Work With an Immigration Attorney
The E-visa application process is relatively straightforward, but there are a few potential challenges that applicants should be aware of. If you are considering applying for an E visa, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you navigate the process and avoid potential pitfalls.
The team at Maney | Gordon | Zeller, P.A. has helped thousands of immigrants achieve their American dream. If you need legal assistance during the application process or after an application was denied, call (800) 708-4399 to learn how we can help.