While the United States is a popular destination for most activities, it is also considered an ideal place for beneficial business opportunities. One wishing to indulge in favourable business opportunities and temporarily work and live in a growing environment must hold a valid US visa. Hence, two visa classes are available for foreigners wanting to do business in the US: E1 and E2. These E-class visas enable individuals in countries with whom the US has a treaty of commerce, friendship, and navigation, among other things, to temporarily work, live, and engage in business activities in the US.

So, what is the difference between E1 and E2 visas?

The E1 and E2 requirements are quite similar, which include significant things to know before applying. Knowing the difference between these visas is essential for business interests seeking entry and indulgence in activities in the US.

E1 Visa

An E1 trader visa enables an individual or employee of a company to enter the United States for the purpose of international trade. Although there is no cap on the amount of trade one can carry, “trade” can also refer to the trading of goods, services, and banking, with a focus on volume over value.

Such a visa may also cover members of the immediate family, like a legal spouse and unmarried children under 21 (only the spouse of the visa holder is allowed to work).

Requirements/eligibility for an E1 visa

According to the USCIS regulations for the E1 visa, it is only available to foreign nationals of treaty countries who wish to be “admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.”

The trade must be conducted primarily between the treaty country and the United States. The E1 visa eligibility further includes:

  1. The volume of trade between the treaty country and the US must be at least 50 per cent.
  2. The visa holder must provide the details of solely engaging in substantial trade, which is not strictly defined.
  3. The visa holder must be a national of one of the treaty countries (the requirement does not apply to the immediate family).
  4. Trade may involve the movement of actual commodities or transportation, or it may involve non-physical services like banking, travel, technology, journalism, or insurance.
  5. The holder must provide evidence showing that they intend to return to their home country after the visa expires.

E2 visa

An E2 visa, or E2 investor visa, in the USA, is part of the US visas available to nationals/citizens of one of the over 30 countries that have set treaties with the United States. The visa enables the holder, who has funds to invest, to enter the United States to set up a business, practice, or office.

An E2 does not provide residency, or what they call a “green card, but the visa can be extended for an indefinite period for as long as your business operates.

Requirements/eligibility for an E2 visa

The USCIS rule for the E2 visa states that it is for foreign nationals of a treaty country who wish to be “to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a US business”.

The sole purpose of obtaining the visa is to operate or develop the enterprise. This further includes:

  1. The holder must own at least 50% of the business or be in a significant managerial position, giving them operational control.
  2. The investment qualification must demonstrate that there is a risk of loss of capital and that the funds are not generated through illegal means.
  3. The investment made can be in a new company or an existing company.
  4. The investment must have the potential to generate sufficient income to provide for the visa holder and his family within five years of their entry into the US.

E1 and E2 Visa Countries

The United States has treaties set up between E1 and E2 visa countries that allow a smooth business flow between borders.

  • E1 visa

Argentina, Brunei, Ethiopia, China, France, Italy, Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, Colombia, Germany, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Austria, Costa Rica, Greece, Korea, Oman, Thailand, Belgium, Denmark, Honduras, Latvia, Pakistan, Togo, Bolivia, Estonia, Iran, Liberia, Philippines, Turkey, Sweden, Luxembourg, Spain, U.K., Canada, Finland, Israel, Mexico, Suriname, Yugoslavia.

  • E2 visa

Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Egypt, China, Colombia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia, Germany, Latvia, Thailand, Australia, Congo, Grenada, Liberia, Philippines, Togo, Costa Rica, Honduras, Luxembourg, Poland, Pakistan, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Bangladesh, Czech Republic, Iran, Mexico, Romania, Tunisia, Belarus, Ecuador, Ireland, Morocco, Senegal, Turkey, Italy, Moldova, Slovakia, Switzerland, Ukraine, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Estonia, Jamaica, Mongolia, Spain, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Japan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, Cameroon, Finland, Kazakhstan, Norway, Suriname, Yugoslavia, Canada, France, Korea, Oman, Sweden.

There are many more countries qualified under the E2 visa as compared to the E1 visa.

Significant differences between E1 and E2 visas

The major differences between E1 and E2 visas are already stated in the USCIS rule. In simple words, the capital invested in the enterprise undertaken must be subject to risk and sufficient to pay for the day-to-day operations of the business.

There is no exact number when it comes to the E1 visa minimum investment or E2, but the higher the money flow between the borders, the higher the chance of visa approval.

Knowing about E1 and E2 visas is essential when it comes to business interests and the guide illustrating specific requirements of applying US visa from Dubai helps to ease up the process and wishing to conduct such interests in the United States. So, hopefully, now you have everything you need to know!