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NON-IMMIGRANT :

E-1 TRADER / E-2 INVESTOR VISA


GENERAL INFORMATION FOR E-1 TRADER / E-2 INVESTOR VISA


In recent years, E visas have been becoming more popular employment visas since they are unlimited in duration (unlike the H and L visas), they enjoy unregulated salaries (unlike the H visas), they are unlimited in number per year (unlike the 65,000 per year for H visas), one is able to bypass the INS processing period which is known to be slow, and instead apply directly with the Embassy (unlike the H and L visas), and they do not require prior work experience with the employer abroad (unlike the L visas). The main purpose of the visa is to enhance or facilitate economic and commercial interaction between the United States and certain foreign countries, such as Japan. Don't be afraid to consider this visa if your business is not listed on the stock exchange. Employees and owners of many small business qualify for this visa.

E aliens are allowed to have "dual intent," which is both immigrant and nonimmigrant intent at the same time. Thus, the fact that the alien intends to apply or has already applied for a U.S. green card does not prevent him or her from obtaining an E visa.

The requirements for the E-1 treaty trader visa are the following:

  1. You are a citizen from a country, such as Japan, that has a trade treaty with the U.S.
  2. The individual and business possess the same nationality. At least 50% of the company needs to be owned by nationals from your country who do not have U.S. legal permanent resident status.
  3. The company must have already been engaged in "substantial trade" between the U.S. and Japan. The volume of trade, the monetary value of the transactions, and the consistency of trade will be considered.
  4. The trade is principally between the U.S. and Japan.
  5. The applicant, if an employee, must be an executive or supervisor, or possess skills essential to the firms operations in the U.S.
  6. The applicant intends to depart the U.S. when the E-1 status terminates.

The requirements for the E-2 treaty investor visa are the following:

  1. You are a citizen from a country, such as Japan, that has an investment treaty with the U.S.
  2. The individual and business possess the same nationality. At least 50% of the company needs to be owned by nationals from your country who do not have U.S. legal permanent resident status.
  3. The applicant has invested or is actively in the process of investing. The use of escrow accounts contingent upon the receipt of the visa are acceptable.
  4. The investment must be a real and operating commercial enterprise rather than mere land or stock.
  5. The investment must be "substantial." No set dollar figure is required, but rather the nature of the business is considered.
  6. The investment must create employment for people other than the alien and his or her immediate family members.
  7. (a) The applicant owns at least 50% of the business with full rights of control, or (b) If the applicant is an employee or owns less than 50% of the business, he or she must be an executive or supervisor, or possess skills essential to the firm's operations in the U.S.
  8. The applicant intends to depart the U.S. when the E-2 status terminates.

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E-1/2 PROCEDURE & DOCUMENT CHECKLIST


step 1. VISA APPLICATION AT US EMBASSY / CONSULATE

1. Collect supporting evidence about the trade and/or investment (every type of document is not always applicable)

A. Evidence of possession and control of investment funds

  • Bank records
  • Financial statements
  • Loans/savings

B. Evidence of remittance to the United States

  • Bank drafts
  • Transfers
  • Exchange permits
  • Receipts

C. Evidence of establishment of business in the U.S.

  • Articles of incorporation
  • Partnership agreement
  • Organization & staffing charts
  • Shares
  • Titles
  • Contracts
  • Receipts
  • Business license
  • Leases/deeds

D. Evidence of the nationality of the investors/traders

  • Valid passport for the applicant
  • Articles of incorporation of parent company
  • Stock exchange listings

E. Evidence of trade between the U.S. and the treaty country

  • Invoices
  • Bills of lading
  • Custom clearances
  • Warehouse receipts
  • Shipping receipts
  • Sales receipts
  • Contracts

F. Evidence of investment in the U.S.

  • Titles
  • Receipts
  • Contracts
  • Loans
  • Bank statements

G. Evidence of substantiality

  • Financial statements
  • Audits
  • U.S. corporate or business tax returns

H. Evidence that the enterprise is not marginal

  • Payroll records
  • IRS tax returns
  • Personal tax returns
  • Evidence of other personal assets and income

I. Evidence that the business is a real, operating enterprise

  • Annual reports
  • Catalogs
  • Sales literature
  • News articles

2. Collect evidence of worker's qualifications, such as

  • Resume
  • Copy of certificates/transcripts from colleges and universities
  • Documents proving employment with the company, such as tax records and payroll records
  • Documents proving employment outside of US as an executive, manager, or person with specialized knowledge
  • Documents proving applicant is the primary investor
  • Copy of professional licenses
  • Employment tax records for the past 3 years
  • Organizational chart of company showing foreign worker's position and who he/she manages
  • Copy of business card
  • Copy of US visas
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of INS Form I-94, Arrival/Departure card (if in US)

3. Write company support letter

4. Complete a nonimmigrant visa application Form OF-156 for the applicant and each accompanying relative

5. Complete the E treaty trader/ investor Supplement and the E identification sheet

6. Obtain one passport-size photo (37 mm x 37 mm) of the applicant and each accompanying relative

7. Pay the $45 "MRV" fee. This fee is payable in yen to the "U.S. Embassy Visa Application Fee," Touza account 3151583 of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Shin-Akasaka branch. The fee may be paid at any Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi branch in Japan at no charge to the visa applicant. Attach the original payment receipt to the visa application.

8. Obtain a valid passport for the applicant and each accompanying relative

9.
Marriage certificate (if spouse accompanies)

10. Birth certificate (if child accompanies)

11. Divorce certificate (if applicable)

12. Once you obtain the above documents, submit the application and supporting documents to the Embassy using (a)a travel agent, (b) the special drop box at the front gate of the Embassy, or (c) mail the application to the Embassy and address it to "VISAS BY MAIL." Include a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage so that the passport can be mailed back to you for options (b) and (c).

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