E-1 and E-2 Treaty Traders and Investors
Foreign Nationals who want to start businesses in the United States may qualify as Treaty Traders or Treaty Investors. Nationals of certain countries with treaties with the United States can either conduct trade between the United States and his home country (E-1) or simply invest in an enterprise in the United States that has the capacity to hire employees and not just provide a living for the investor himself and his family.
The foreign trade must be “substantial” and must be ongoing prior to the petition for the E-1 classification. Substantial is likely to mean more than $10,000 per month in trade between the two countries. The E-2 investment may be in escrow for an existing business pending approval of the classification or in the process of getting invested for a new enterprise. While there is no formal minimum investment amount, we believe that a conservative view will require a minimum $150,000 to $200,000 investment. The percentage of the total capital initially required will depend upon the size of the business and the total capital required.
The E-1 and E-2 visa classification can be applied for at the foreign consulate or under certain circumstances as a change in status while in the United States. It is a favored classification because while it is a non-immigrant visa, the holder is not required to maintain a residence abroad. The doctrine of dual-intent applies to this visa classification.
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