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How to Obtain an Investor Visa (E-1 and E-2)

In order to promote trade and investment as well as to encourage positive relations and peace with countries throughout the world, the United States has signed treaties of friendship, commerce and navigation with over 75 countries. Nationals, as individuals or companies, of these treaty countries have the opportunity to obtain work visas in the United States, granting them the ability to trade with or develop their investment in the United States. If you are interested in filing for an investor visa, consulting one of our San Diego immigration attorneys can offer the necessary information you need to get started.

Work visas associated with treaty countries are a part of the E visa category. At Kazmi and Sakata, Immigration Lawyers in San Diego, we understand the complexities and proper preparation involved in the process of applying for an E visa. To help prospective applicants resolve any questions, we have provided a brief overview of the two E visas:

E1 Treaty Trader Visa

Individuals who reside in the countries that qualify for investor visas have the ability to take part in international trade and the E-1 visa if the following requirements are met:

  • Applicant must be of the same nationality of the trading firm for which they are entering the US
  • International trade must be considered “substantial” with a sizeable and continuous volume of trade occurring between the US and the treaty country
  • A majority of the trade, more than 50%, must be made between the US and the treaty country
  • Trade must be defined as the international exchange of services, goods and technology
  • The title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive position, or possess specialized skills that are essential to the efficient operation of the firm

The United States government does not set a minimum amount of trades that the trader must have in order to qualify for the E1 Treaty Trader visa. However, prospective applicants who have low amounts of trade items are less likely to qualify for the E1 Treaty Trader visa under business and employment law immigration standards.

E2 Treaty Investor Visa

Nationals of countries that have a qualifying treaty also have the ability to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa. The E2 Treaty Investor visa is designed for the nationals who are making investments in the United States and meet the following requirements:

  • The investment must be substantial meaning the amount will be enough to ensure the enterprise invested in will be successful
  • The investment must be made into a real operating enterprise. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security such as bonds, stock or property are not considered an investment.
  • The investment must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living income to the investor and their family, or have a significant impact in the US economically
  • The investor must have control of the funds
  • If the applicant is not the principal investor, they must be employed in a supervisory, executive or have highly specialized skills critical to the enterprise. The investor must be entering the US to develop and direct said enterprise

For more information about E-1 and E-2 visas, consult our website at or call us today.

June 2024