There are certain situations when our clients qualify for both an E-1 and an E-2 visa.
An E-2 visa is a great option if you want to start a business in the U.S., you have invested a substantial amount of money in the U.S. or you are in the processing of investing the money, and you plan to hire U.S. workers. Please see the E-2 requirements when you click here.
An E-1 visa is a great option if you want to live and work in the U.S. and you engage in international trade between the U.S. and your home country. Please see the E-1 visa requirements when you click here.
Some of our clients qualify for both an E-1 and an E-2 visa. For example, if you have a company in your home country and you have been providing consulting services to U.S. clients, you could potentially qualify for an E-1 visa (if the activities constitute trade, you want to come to the U.S. to engage in substantial trade, and at least 50% of the international trade is between the U.S. and your home country). At the same time, you could qualify for an E-2 visa, if you want to come to the U.S. to develop and direct the E-2 business, make a substantial investment, set up a company, and hire U.S. employees.
So which visa should you apply for if you qualify for both an E-1 and an E-2 visa?
There are certain factors you should keep in mind:
You will first have to check if your home country is E-1 treaty country/E-2 treaty country or both. Please see the list of E-1 countries when you click here and list of e-2 treaty countries when you click here.
Let’s say that you are a national of Bulgaria – you would only qualify for an E-2 visa, and an E-1 visa would not be an option for you. However, nationals of many countries such as Argentina, Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, Finland, Germany, Japan, or New Zealand could apply for both an E-1 and an E-2 visa.
Things to keep in mind when deciding between an E-1 and an E-2 visa:
- You do not have to make a substantial investment in the U.S. when applying for an E-1 visa
- You do not have to employ U.S. employees in the U.S. when applying for an E-1 visa (but hiring U.S. workers is always good, even for an E-1 visa application)
- You do not have to submit a Business Plan when applying for an E-1 visa, but in certain cases we recommend that client does submit a Business Plan (please see our blog post when you click here).
- In certain situations, when you apply for an E-1 visa and you set up a company in the U.S., your business in your home country still has to continue (See more when you click here) As such, if you are the only operator of the business in your home country and you do not expect the trade to continue, you would have to look at an E-2 visa only.
- For an E-1 visa, the trade has to be substantial and more than 50% of international trade must be between the U.S. and treaty country and the trade must already be in existence. On the other hand, if the trade is not yet substantial, you could apply for an E-2 visa for a start-up company.
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