Immigration Services > Non-Immigrant Visas

The E visa category was established to give effect to treaties between the United States and foreign countries that provide for reciprocal benefits to nationals of each country who conduct trade between the two countries or who invest in the other country.

Treaty Traders and Investors (E-1 & E-2)

Lubin, Salvetti & Associates represents clients seeking classification as E-1 Treaty Traders and E-2 Treaty Investors.  These visas are available to individuals from countries which have entered into a "treaty of commerce and navigation" with the United States. The E-1 visa is intended for foreign business owners, managers, or employees who oversee substantial trade between businesses in the U.S. and his or her home country. E-2 visas are for entrepreneurs who will invest in and direct the operation of a business enterprise in which he or she has invested a substantial amount of capital.

An E-1 or E-2 visa is generally initially granted for two years and renewable for two year periods thereafter. It is requested by filing Form I-129 and the E supplement and providing information about the business to show that the Petitioner and business enterprise meet all the required criteria.  Our office offers an approval guarantee, and we will refund legal fees if we are not successful in securing a visa for our clients seeking E-1 and E-2 visas.

E-1 Visa for Treaty Traders

A person wishing to enter the United States as an E-1 treaty trader must demonstrate that he or she is seeking admission in order to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, between the United States and the treaty foreign country where he or she is a citizen.

"Substantial" describes the flow of goods or services between the U.S. and the treaty country and involves weighing the applicant's volume of trade and transactions. The best example of "substantial" trade is a large number of high-valued transactions.  

For E-1 purposes, trade must:

  • involve the exchange between businesses in the U.S. and the treaty country;
  • be international in scope; and,
  • involve qualifying activities.

Over 50% of the total volume of the international trade conducted by the treaty trader regardless of location must be between the United States and the treaty country of the foreign national's nationality.

E-2 Visa for Treaty Investors

An E-2 visa is for an investor or entrepreneur who:

  • Is a citizen of a treaty country;
  • Has invested (or is actively in the process of investing), a substantial amount of capital in a business enterprise in the U.S.; and,
  • Is seeking to enter the U.S. to develop and direct the business enterprise, which is shown by demonstrating at least 50% ownership of it or by having operation control of it through a managerial or similar position.

An investment is the investor’s placing of capital, including funds and/or other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit. The capital must be subject to partial or total loss if the investment fails.

The investment must be substantial, which means:

  • Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
  • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial

Many of our E-2 clients have started their own businesses, but E-2 treaty investors are also frequently franchise business owners.

Marginal enterprises

The investment enterprise – meaning the business – may not be marginal.  Marginal basically means "small."  A business that will qualify an investor for an E-2 visa will be sufficient to support the investor and his or her family and almost certainly should be sufficient to support additional employees as well.  In other words, a marginal enterprise is one that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family; that is the minimum standard that must be met for an E-2 visa to be granted.  There is not a hard-and-fast minimum investment required for E-2 visas, but it must be enough to ensure that the business is not considered marginal.

Basic information

An E-2 visa is generally initially granted for two years and renewable for two year periods thereafter. It is requested by filing Form I-129 and the E supplement and providing information about the business to show that the investment is substantial, the enterprise is not marginal, and that the Petitioner meets all the required criteria.