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Kelley Kronenberg

Visas E1 and E2

Visas E1 and E2

E visas are among the most widespread since they are intended for a large group of people, companies, and their employees, from merchants and businessmen to professionals and artists. There are different requirements that must be met and taken into account to request such visas. Legal advice, therefore, becomes fundamental, not only strictly for the field of immigration but also for the formation of companies and contracts on the basis of the visa application, in order to have the preparation of documents and tests required by the US immigration service; in fact, it is often to wait until the end before applying for a visa, concentrating their initial efforts only on the start-up phase of the company. This is difficult when applying for a visa, where there are often no basic requirements or documents to obtain it, precisely because of an incorrect initial configuration.

Commercial Visa E-1:

The E-1 visa (“Treaty Traders”) is the visa intended for those who frequently maintain commercial activities or services with the United States; such frequent exchanges must be documented correctly and must respond to precise proportions in order to obtain the visa. This visa is often used by merchants and import and export companies, but it can also be extended to the provision of services, it can also be requested by professionals or other people engaged in different types of activities, such as architects, artists, and craftsmen. The E-1 visa is issued for a maximum of 5 years and then extends for other periods of 5 years, as long as all the basic requirements persist.

Treaty Investors Visa E-2:

There are several countries that can use the E-2 visa, this visa it is for those who wish to invest a sum of money in the United States in order to start a business or services, or to take over a business already in operation. The Immigration Office of the attorney Sonia Oliveri can not only provide legal advice for the application of this visa, but also get in touch with possible contacts to detect or train the modalities of the franchise.

The investment required for an E-2 Visa is variable, it is often wrongly stated that an investment of around one hundred thousand dollars is required to obtain an E-2 visa, this preconception not only lacks legal foundation but is often far from practical reality. The relevant laws do not dictate any type of threshold, on the contrary, they dictate a principle of proportionality. The investment is considered acceptable or not according to the type of activity that you want to carry out. For activities with low start-up costs, it will be required an investment that covers almost all initial costs, on the other hand, for investments with high start-up costs, an investment that only covers part of the initial costs can be considered sufficient. Therefore, even an investment of only twenty thousand dollars can be enough to obtain the E-2 visa, if the activity does not require, by its nature, a substantial initial cost and the last one has been incurred in its entirety. For example, a Law Firm; an investment of a few thousand dollars to cover only the first months of rental of the premises and the necessary technical equipment (computers, telephone, etc.) can be considered sufficient. Likewise, an investment of one hundred thousand dollars may not be sufficient if the activity carried out requires a substantial initial economic expense. One hundred thousand dollars is probably not considered sufficient, for example, in the case of the opening of a new hotel or a new transport company, since it would represent a very small investment in proportion to the start-up costs that will be incurred.

The investment is not the only requirement for an E-2 visa, it is also necessary that the investment be made by a citizen of the treaty country or by a company controlled by a citizen of the treaty country (or another country where it is possible to apply for an E-2 visa). Even about the control requirement, incorrect statements are often heard; in particular, as a general rule, it is considered that the person requesting the E-2 visa must possess at least 50.1% of the shares of the company; this does not correspond to the truth in cases where the company is managed by one or more managers, rather than directly by its members, in fact, the requirement that the applicant manage the E-2 visa can also be demonstrated through his position as a manager, as well as that of a member. It is also possible to demonstrate negative management, that is, even if the company is directly controlled only by its members, if it has only two members and each owns 50% of the shares, each member counts with the same power to make decisions, being able to immobilize the other simply by voting on the contrary to each other. This situation is defined as “negative management” and is considered sufficient to obtain the E-2 visa for each of the two investors.

Another requirement for the E-2 visa are: that the investment comes from the country of origin (Spain, Colombia, Italy, etc.) and has already been carried out partially (and not only planned); that the company has already opened or is about to open; that the business activity allows to obtain a substantial benefit, not only guarantee the mere existence of those who manage it. Finally, it is also possible to immobilize the amount to invest, conditioning it to obtain the visa. The E-2 visa has a maximum initial duration of 5 years, but is renewable continuously, as long as the commercial activity persists.

Nationals employed by the holder of the E-1 or E-2 visa:

Each individual holder of an E-1 or E-2 visa can hire one or more persons of the same nationality to work as managers or specialists in their own company, sponsoring them for a visa and as an employee.

Although the definition of Legal Manager and Specialist is the same used for the L visas (see the page dedicated to the L visa for more information), in the case of visas, this definition is interpreted more broadly, which allows framing various types of workers such as Managers or Specialists. Even a very young person with low qualifications will be able to obtain a visa as a manager, as long as it is possible to demonstrate that once he has obtained the E visa, he will be at least partly directive. In the same way, an individual who can fulfill specific functions, even if he is not particularly specialized, can be considered a Specialist; for example, a generic cook, without particular specializations in a type of kitchen. Thus, in the case of visas as employees for any certificate, training and experience, they are certainly useful, but they do not play a crucial or essential role in the case of L visas (see the section on L visas to understand the difference). The employee visa E-1 or E-2 also has a maximum initial duration of 5 years but is continuously renewable, as long as the commercial activity persists and while the employee continues to work.

Members of the E-1 or E-2 visa holder (principal and employees):

The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany the holder of the E-1 or E-2 visa in the United States. In addition, although children can only obtain a travel visa, the spouse has the right to apply for a work permit (the so-called EAD) with which they can perform any type of employment (unlike the E visa holder who can only perform work activity within your company).