NONIMMIGRANT VISAS - E Visas/Treaty

Purpose of this Visa:
This Visa enables nationals of certain countries to live and do business in the US by investing a “substantial” sum in the United States into a business or to set up a branch in the United States of a foreign company, which already does substantial trade with the United States.

E 1 Treaty Trader:
The E Visa category is divided into the E1 Treaty Trader and E2 Treaty Investor category. For E1 status, the Alien has to show 1) that he has a business in the foreign country 2) that the business in the foreign country does substantial trade with the United States 3) that there is a need for expansion of business for the foreign company to set up a branch in the US to further improve trade. The amount of investment in the US business is not important.

E 2 Treaty Investor:
For the Treaty Investor class, the foreign national has to show that he has set up a new business, purchased an existing US business or joined an existing US business, and that to do so he has invested substantial amount of funds.

Substantial funds is not defined but if the question whether the investment sum is sufficient to generate a reasonable income for the Alien and his family can be answered in the positive, the Visa will probably will be issued. As a rule of thumb, not with any certainty, any sum in the excess of US$70,000 would probably be acceptable. The greater the investment, the greater the chance of Visa approval.

Procedure:
Although for most Visas, the application is initially made through the United States Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Service in the United States after approval of which the Alien applies to the United States Consulate in the foreign country for Visa issuance; in the case of E Visas, as in the case of B Visitor Visas, the application can be made direct to the United States Consulate in the foreign country. The work involved is complex, and the need to engage the services of an attorney skilled in United States Visa procedures is essential.

Once the Alien has confirmed plans toward proceeding in this Visa category, the Alien has to commence the establishment of the business to the extent that the business is ready for operation. This would mean that all contracts have to be signed, premises leased, equipment purchased and all other steps be taken to the point that the business is ready for operation.

Upon filing the package with the United States Consulate, the Consulate makes a determination on the application. If the application is deficient, the Visa officer will communicate with the Attorney the need to correct the deficiency. When the Visa officer is satisfied, the Visa will be issued.

Duration of the Visa:
Although the E Visa is a non-immigrant Visa, it is valid for an indefinite period provided it is regularly renewed and the alien continues to run the US business.

Conversion to Permanent Residence:
This non-immigrant Visa can be converted into US permanent residency by showing that the business has generated US $0.5 million (for investment in depressed high unemployment areas of the US) or US $ 1 million for investment in any area in the US. The procedure is to re-structure the business showing the relevant investment and the satisfaction of a second condition that at least 10 US Citizens or US permanent residents have been provided employment.

Gopalan Nair Attorneys at Law / E Visa / How We Can Assist:
Potential clients may contact us on the procedure to obtain E Visas. Gopalan Nair Attorneys at Law will prepare all papers, oversee all contracts, ensure proper company registration procedures and ensure that legal requirements for E Visa category have been met. We will prepare the package for the foreign United States Consulate, and attend the interview at the Consulate if requested by the client, to ensure Visa issuance.

As Attorneys for the client, Gopalan Nair Attorneys at Law will ensure that Visas are properly renewed and the client continues to maintain valid status in the United States.

The E Visa Category is a valuable visa for foreign businessmen who wish to do business in the United States. As United States Visas are generally convertible to other non-immigrant or immigrant Visa categories, for those who subsequently wish to permanently reside in the United States, they may convert to permanent residence status. However, at the time of application of E Visa, the Alien must show non-immigrant intent.

Countries in the E1 Treaty Trader and E2 Investor Program:
(please note that this list is not conclusive and the countries may be added or taken out according to international relations with the US) The countries presently in this category are nationals of the following countries: Singapore, Brunei, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China (Taiwan only), Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Iran (but may be a problem because of US sanctions), Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Slovenia, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, UK, Yugoslavia, Albania, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Congo Kinshasa, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Granada, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Panama, Poland, Rumania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine. This list is not exclusive as new countries may be added and existing countries being taken out depending on prevailing state of international diplomacy.