U.S. immigration law provides for two nonimmigrant visa categories for treaty traders (E-1) and treaty investors (E-2), who are citizens or nationals of countries who have a bilateral treaty of commerce and navigation with the U.S. If an individual receives a E-1 or E-2 visa, he or she can be accompanied by a spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21.
An E-1 visa for a treaty trader allows him or her to carry on substantial trade in goods, service, and technology, principally between the U.S. and his or her country of citizenship or nationality. Substantial trade is sufficient trade to guarantee the continuous flow of trade between the U.S and the treaty country. There must be numerous transactions to constitute substantial trade; a single transaction, no matter how large an amount it involves, cannot qualify as substantial trade. More than 50 percent of the volume of trade conducted by the treaty trader must be between the U.S. and the treaty country.
An E-2 visa for a treaty investor is designed to allow him or her to direct the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested or is actively investing a substantial amount of capital in the U.S. The treaty investor’s investment must place lawfully acquired capital at commercial risk with the objective of earning profits, and that capital must be subject to loss if that investment fails. The investment must consist of the investor’s personal unsecured funds, not of loan proceeds or a secured financial instrument. The treaty investor must either control or own at least 50% of the enterprise or show operational control through a management position.
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