E-Class Visas: Frequently Asked Questions


8 CFR § 214.2: Temporary Nonimmigrant Work Visas


These are visas given to foreign nationals of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to come to the US solely to engage in international trade on for themselves. Some of their employees or employees of their organization may also be eligible for this visa.



Nationals of Treaty countries who come to the US to invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business are also afforded this visas, as are some of their qualifying employees.


Investors in the CNMI are afforded certain advantages in maintaining their status during the transition from the CNMI Permit System to the US Immigration Laws.


This classification also allows Australian Nationals to come to the US and engage in a “specialty occupation” or as a professional. Think of this as H-1B on steroids for Australians.


Currently our firm provides services to applicant seeking a nonimmigrant work visa in the following E-Class categories:




    • E-2C    Long-term foreign investors in the CNMI


    • E-3    Certain “specialty occupation” professionals from Australia.



E-Visa Frequently Asked Questions


Can an E-1 or E-2 dependents work in the United States?


The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty traders, treaty investors, or employees of qualifying enterprises may also receive E visas in order to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent. They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant.


Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for a visitor visa B2




E-1/E-2 verses F-1


There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of a E-1/E-2 visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the U.S.; they may study on E-1/E-2 visas. However if they are qualified, they may apply for the F-1 visa. If you have school age children, you should refer to the regulations governing the issuance of F-1 visas.


Working on an E-1/E-2 visa




Spouses may work in the United States if they apply and obtain a Work Permit Card from the Department of Homeland Security. They may apply for this card after they enter the United States. Dependent children may not work in the United States although they may attend school.




What is an investor permitted to do while in the US on the Visa Waiver Program or on a B1/B2 visa?



Potential investors may seek out investment opportunities, sign contracts, and take other steps to purchase or establish a business while traveling on B1/B2 status or on the Visa Waiver Program. However, applicants may not develop and direct a business while in such status. State Department regulations state (9 FAM 41.31 N9.7), “an alien seeking investment in the United States, including an investment that would qualify him or her for status as an E-2 investor, is precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business prior to being granted E-2 status.” Such actions are impermissible whether or not the investor receives any payment for his work.



Does an E-visa lead to legal permanent residency?


There is no formal route from an E-visa to a green card. Applicants who wish to become US citizens consult with competent counsel to see how they can fulfill the necessary requirements.




Can I retire on an E-2 visa?


No. The E-visa is a work visa. It is expressly intended for those whose enter the US “solely to carry on substantial trade” or “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise.” As soon as you cease to meet this requirement, you are no longer eligible for the visa.


Can a refusal be appealed?


If the applicant is denied an E visa, the officer will provide a form describing the reasons for the refusal and citing the appropriate section of US regulation. The officer’s decision is final. If the applicant feels strongly that the case was misjudged or if the material facts of it change, he or she may submit a new application for the same business. This will be treated as a new submission and take its place at the end of the queue. Every effort will be made to see that the next interview is conducted by a different Officer.”


What documents are required to register a franchise?


These may vary from case to case, but at minimum we require a signed and dated franchise agreement and proof of payment of the franchise fee. If you are purchasing an existing franchise from a current franchisee, we also need a letter of consent from the franchisor.


What is the minimal amount of money that I need to invest?


Neither the regulations nor the law stipulates any specific minimum amount for a qualifying investment. Instead, the law says the investment must be “substantial”-namely, sufficient to ensure the investor’s commitment o the enterprise and enough to make it likely that it will succeed.




If I have been arrested or convicted for any reason in the United States or outside it, must I go through some extra steps to obtain a visa?


Yes. At minimum, you must submit a police certificate from the Criminal Records Office in your country of origin issued within 6 months of the date of the visa interview. For more information, check with the US Consulate website in your area.




Are subsidiaries or affiliates of a Treaty Investor enterprise automatically eligible to send employees on E-2 visas?


No. In order to register the subsidiary of a US treaty investor company or the affiliate of one with common UK ownership, you must (a) notify the Consulate by letter of the addition, (b) provide them with the latest US tax return for the subsidiary or affiliate, and (c) provide proof of its ownership. The Consulate will process such requests in the order received and will not put them into the regular queue for new registrations and renewals. E-1 subsidiaries or affiliates require completely new applications for the company to be added.


Can outside funds-such as savings or income from other sources-count towards the marginality requirement?


No. In most cases, income from the business alone must be able to support the investor and his family.


Do my children need to be present at the interview?


Dependent children under 14 do not need to attend the interview. However, they must be in the United Kingdom when their visas are issued. Applicants are advised to provide evidence (such as boarding passes) of their presence.

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