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Can two partners own an E-1 business 50/50?

By December 22, 2021E-1 Visa, Immigration
Two business partners dressed in suits smiling

E-1 visa is a great visa for people who engage in international trade between the U.S. and their home country and the trade is substantial. The E-1 business is owned at least 50% by treaty country national(s). The question is: can two business partners apply for an E-1 visa if they own the business 50/50?

The answer is: yes. Two people can apply for an E-1 treaty trader visa if they each own 50% in the E-1 business and could qualify for an E-1 treaty trader status. The business partners could either have the same nationality, or they could have a different nationality (as long as they are each national of an E-1 visa treaty country).

If they have the same nationality, then the E-1 business would have one qualifying nationality (this is relevant for bringing E1 employees in the U.S. as the E1 employees have to have the same nationality as the E-1 business).

If they have different nationality, then the business would have 2 qualifying nationalities.

Example

Each partner (Italian nationals) owns 50% in a U.S. company. The company is based in the U.S. and sells goods to customers in Italy. Both partners can apply for an E-1 treaty trader visa based on the 50% company ownership. However, if only one partner decides to apply, that is also fine.

If both traders would be coming to the U.S. on an E-1 treaty trader visa, you would have to show that each is coming to the U.S. to engage in substantial trade, meaning that each partner should have an executive/managerial role in the E-1 company.

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