The Difference Between E-1 and E-2 Visas

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Here we explain the difference between E1 and E2 visas. Getting a visa to the United States is not easy.  But if you need to come to the United States for business purposes, an immigration lawyer can talk to you about your options. If you have business knowledge, the drive, and monetary resources to run a business and create employment, you can probably make a strong case and get an investor’s visa.

There are two types of visas available for business people and traders who wish to live and work in the United States and continue their businesses here. These visas are the E1 and E2 visas. If you’re confused as to which visa is right for you, then keep reading to learn the difference between the E1 and E2 visa.

E-1 Visa – Treaty Trader

The E-1 visa, also known as Nonimmigrant Treaty Traders, is for people who wish to enter the United States to conduct trade between the United States and the treaty country. The visa lets them stay in the US for extended periods of time to handle the business operations from the US. While there are several requirements to be eligible, you must be a national of one of the treaty countries.  There should also be substantial international trade.

The E-1 visa applies to people who are crucial to its operations. The  E-1 visa processing time is relatively short in order to facilitate traders from treaty countries to enter the US and run their operations. The US is relatively open to people who wish to enter the country to create employment opportunities for the American people, boost international trade for America, and inject money into the economy.

Do I Qualify for an E-1 Visa?

In order to qualify for an E1 visa, you need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • You have to be a national of an E1 treaty country
  • The business must do substantial trade between the US and the treaty country
  • You have to conduct principle trade with the US

Only nationals from the following countries qualify for an E1 visa. You can also to visit the US State Department Website by clicking here, to see a complete list.  The treaty countries include:

  1. Argentina
  2. Australia
  3. Austria
  4. Belgium
  5. Bolivia
  6. Brunei
  7. Canada
  8. China
  9. Colombia
  10. Costa Rica
  11. Denmark
  12. Estonia
  13. Ethiopia
  14. Finland
  15. France
  16. Germany
  17. Greece
  18. Honduras
  19. Iran
  20. Ireland
  21. Israel
  22. Italy
  23. Japan
  24. Korea
  25. Latvia
  26. Liberia
  27. Luxembourg
  28. Mexico
  29. Netherlands
  30. Norway
  31. Oman
  32. Pakistan
  33. Philippines
  34. Spain
  35. Suriname
  36. Sweden
  37. Switzerland
  38. Thailand
  39. The UK
  40. Togo
  41. Turkey
  42. Yugoslavia

The U.S. government hasn’t put a specific number to how much trade counts as substantial.  The profit should be enough for the trader to support himself and his family, if applicable, and employees.  At least 50% of the trade should be between the U.S. and the treaty country making up for the majority of any trade business going on.

E-2 Visa – Treaty Investor

The E-2 visa is similar in almost all aspects. It is for people who want to start a business in the US.  The investor does not need to have a business abroad.  However, it can make a stronger case and showcase the investor’s ability and intention of running a business in the US.  After all, the investor needs to convince the immigration officers through his or her acumen, resources, and a business plan.

Do I Qualify for an E-2 Visa?

In order to qualify for an E-2 visa, you need to satisfy the following requirements:

  • You have to be a national of an E2 treaty country
  • The investment must be “substantial”
  • You have to have the majority share in the business

The E-2 treaty countries are:

  1. Argentina
  2. Armenia
  3. Australia
  4. Austria
  5. Bahrain
  6. Bangladesh
  7. Belarus
  8. Belgium
  9. Bosnia-Herzegovina
  10. Bulgaria
  11. Cameroon
  12. Canada
  13. China
  14. Colombia
  15. Congo
  16. Costa Rica
  17. Czech
  18. Ecuador
  19. Egypt
  20. Estonia
  21. Ethiopia
  22. Finland
  23. France
  24. Georgia
  25. Germany
  26. Grenada
  27. Honduras
  28. Iran
  29. Ireland
  30. Italy
  31. Jamaica
  32. Japan
  33. Kazakhstan
  34. Korea
  35. Kyrgyzstan
  36. Latvia
  37. Liberia
  38. Luxembourg
  39. Mexico
  40. Moldova
  41. Mongolia
  42. Morocco
  43. Netherlands
  44. Norway
  45. Oman
  46. Pakistan
  47. Panama
  48. Philippines
  49. Poland
  50. Republic
  51. Romania
  52. Senegal
  53. Slovakia
  54. Spain
  55. Sri Lanka
  56. Suriname
  57. Sweden
  58. Switzerland
  59. Thailand
  60. Togo
  61. Trinidad and Tobago
  62. Tunisia
  63. Turkey
  64. Ukraine
  65. United Kingdom
  66. Uzbekistan
  67. Yugoslavia

The law does not tell us what is “substantial.”  The investment should be enough to support the day to day operations of the business and the individual, their family, and employees.  The Investor must have invested or be in the process of investing a substantial amount of money in a genuine, bona fide enterprise.  The investor must enter the U.S. with the intention of starting, directing, and operating the business.  He or she must own a majority share of the business.

Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

The subtle differences between the E1 and E2 visas can be confusing. Ask an immigration attorney to help you make a strong application that can increase your chances of qualifying for the visa.   You have to make sure that you meet the requirements and opt for the right one.  Click here to contact us today.

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