Understanding the differences between the E1 and E2 Visas is an important part of determining how to gain the global mobility that would best benefit you. Working to obtain either an E1 or E2 Visa is a time-consuming process that brings great opportunities, no matter which you work towards, but spending that sort of time towards a Visa ill-suited to your goals is costly.
To fully understand how either Visa benefits you and the differences between them, we will discuss the E1 and E2, their requirements, and how the opportunities they provide you. While E Visas, overall, promote trade and investment between countries, there are several differences between the E1 and E2 that affect what you’re able to do.
About the E1 Visa
The E1 Visa allows people or employees of a company to enter the United States for the purposes of carrying out international trade. The term «trade» applies to goods, services, and banking, as well as some other areas. While there is no limit set to the amount of trade that must occur, there is an emphasis placed on the number of transactions instead of an overall value.
Who Qualifies for an E1 Visa?
In order to qualify for this Visa, there are several prerequisites that must be met. For example, the United States prerequisites, which include:
- Be the national of a U.S. State Department treaty trader country
- Engage in substantial trade continuously, further defined as «continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time»
- Trade includes banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, communications, and technology.
- More than 50% of the total volume of international trade between the trader’s treaty country and the United States.
- Employed at a certain level (such as executive or specialist) by a company operating on an E1 Visa
- Prepared to provide evidence of returning to home country at the end of the Visa period
Who Does an E1 Visa Cover?
It’s an important question to ask if you’ll be remaining in a country for an extended period of time. Whom can you bring with you and what are they allowed to do? As with any kind of immigration, whether temporary or long-term, there are different answers depending on the kind of Visa you’re working towards having.
An E1 Visa covers immediate family, meaning your legal spouse and unmarried children 21 years old or younger. It’s important to note that under the E1 Visa, the spouse of the holder is allowed to work, but the children are not. The E1 Visa allows for an initial stay of up to 2-years, with extensions for the same time period. The extensions available to you are unlimited, but the conditions must be continuously met.
About the E2 Visa
An E2 Visa, like the E1, promotes trade and investment between countries, but in a different way. This Visa is also known as the «Treaty Investor Visa” and is available to citizens or nationals of one of over 30 countries that have trade treaties with the United States.
Essentially, it enables people who have significant funds to invest in order to come to the United States to set up a business, a practice, or office of one sort or another. It’s important to understand that the E2 Visa doesn’t provide residency like a Green Card does, but can be extended indefinitely for as long as the holder’s business is viable.
Who Qualifies for an E2 Visa?
The differences between an E1 and E2 Visa begin with how one qualifies for them. To obtain an E2 Visa, the investor must demonstrate that their only reason for entering the United States is to run or develop the business concerned. What usually satisfies this requirement is having a minimum 50% stake in a business or a significant managerial or leadership position that gives the investor operational control of the company.
For an investment to qualify, the investor must show there is a risk of loss of their capital and that the funds are generated or sourced legally, even if those funds come indirectly. The investment can be put into a new or existing company, though the investment cannot be used to create a job for the investor.
An important note to make, the investment must have a good chance of generating sufficient income to provide for the Visa holder and any family attached within 5 years of coming to the United States. Also, the business must have dedicated premises. Meaning that a home or any residence the investor lists as their address does not suffice.
How Much Does an E2 Visa Cost Investment Wise?
Using the United States as an example, the E2 Visa has no minimum amount of investment or job creation requirements. While that is true, anything lower than a $100,000 USD investment has little chance of success. Investments below that dollar figure are acceptable, but more scrutiny is applied. The best way to think about an investment cost to obtain an E2 Visa is to consider how it will be assessed by the reviewing officer and how it relates to the total cost of establishing or purchasing the enterprise you’re interested in. Generally, the more you can invest, the more you’re likely to show you’re a real investor.
Differences Between an E1 and E2 Visa
Both the E1 and E2 Visas stem from the same goal, to help trade between countries, beyond that there are many differences both subtle and blatant. For example:
E1 Visas list fewer eligible countries than E2 Visas, countries approved for an E1 status include:
Another difference is that an E1 holder must be a citizen of the country from which they wish to apply or work for a corporate entity that has citizenship of a treaty country and there is no upfront investment. An E2 holder must only make an investment committed and irrevocable that is sufficient to ensure a successful operation, an upfront investment is a requirement. Although, this too has country restrictions, being that they must have a trade deal with the United States. These countries include:
- The United Kingdom
- Sri Lanka
Citizenship By Investment and the E2 Visa
Even if you are not a citizen of one of the E2 treaty countries, there is a way to gain an E2 Visa to the United States while also gaining several additional perks. The Grenada Citizenship by Investment programme offers dual citizenship in exchange for an investment in an approved real estate project. Whereas investing directly in the United States may be prohibitively expensive and wouldn’t grant citizenship, investing in a Grenada development offers many opportunities for global mobility and guard against instability.
As a Grenada citizen you are eligible to apply for a United States E2 Visa. This citizenship also speeds up the application process more than applying directly without being a citizen of Grenada. In addition to the E2 Visa, you’re also eligible to travel visa-free to more than 140 countries including the UK, Schengen territories, China, and Russia.
Here at Range Developments, we’ve had 2 successful and completed developments: the Dominica and St. Kitts. Our third luxury hotel, the Six Senses La Sagesses, in Grenada is underway and will be completed in 2022. This is the perfect opportunity to gain an E2 Visa from the United States while also gaining more opportunities than applying for that single Visa.
To get started on your journey, we encourage you to speak to one of our Citizenship by Investment consultants.