Over the years, the United States has executed bilateral investment and trade agreement with certain foreign countries. These agreements (treaties) are designed to facilitate investment opportunities and mutual trade relationships. Of equal importance, these agreements allow nationals of such treaty countries, including business owners, managers/executive and certain key employees, to apply for employment authorized visas and work in the United States to direct and/or develop their U.S. investments or trade. Spouses of E-2 visa holders are eligible to apply for employment authorization after arriving in the United States. Treaty visa duration depends on the particular nationality and there are no limits on the maximum number of visa extensions, subject to certain limitations.
A. E-1 Treaty Trader Visa
Certain foreign nationals who engage in international trade with the United States may qualify for E-1 treaty trader visa. The volume of such trade must be sufficient to justify the trader or his/her employee(s) being in the United States to manage the trade, and must constitute the majority of the trader’s international trade (i.e. at least 50% of the Trader’s exports/imports must be to/from the USA). There is no set minimum level of trade which is considered sufficient.
B. E-2 Treaty Investor Visa
Foreign investors, including small startups and large multinational companies alike, and their key employees may qualify for the E2 treaty investor visa. The investment must be in an active commercial entity and could be established by either purchasing an existing or setting up a brand new business. The investment must be irrevocably committed (must be put at risk), substantial (must meet a proportionality test when compared to the total business value) and also non-marginal (investment revenues must be sufficient). There is no preset required minimum investment amount for a successful E-2 visa application. The actual investment amount depends on the specific nature of the investment.
C. E-3 Specialty Occupation Visa for Australia Nationals
The E-3 classification apply only to nationals of Australia who are have a job offer from a U.S. company to work in a specialty occupation, e.g. an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in the professions and at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.