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What are Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas?

There are two types of visas for people from other countries who come to the U.S. to develop, direct and work in enterprises that involve a substantial amount of trade. These are called Treaty Trader, or E-1 visas and Treaty Investor, or E-2 visas. To obtain one of these, a person must be a citizen of a country that maintains commerce and navigation treaties with the U.S.

People may be eligible for these visas generally work in industries that involve trade between the U.S. and the visa holder's home country. These industries include:

-- Communications-- Insurance-- International banking-- Tourism-- Transportation

To qualify for an E-1 visa, the specific business (either a commercial or entrepreneurial one) for which the person is involved must have a substantial amount of trade in services, goods or technology. More than half of the company's trade must be between the visa holder's home country and the U.S.

To obtain an E-1 visa, a person must be either a principal investor in the company or an essential employee. An essential employee could be someone who's directing or developing the enterprise, someone in an executive or supervisory position or someone with a highly-specialized skill.

The same is true for E-2 visas. However, the investor may be a corporate entity, partnership or person. The business must have a "significant economic impact," according to the State Department, on the U.S. or at least generate "significantly more income" than just enough for one person to provide for his or her family.

If you have questions about applying for or renewing an E-1 or E-2 visa or are having difficulty obtaining one, and experienced Georgia immigration attorney can provide guidance.

Source: U.S. Department of State, "Treaty Trader & Investor Visa," accessed Oct. 06, 2016

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