The E-1 (Treaty Trader) nonimmigrant category is limited to nationals of a treaty country who will engage in international trade on behalf of an organization that is majority owned by nationals of that same country. The E-2 (Treaty Investor) nonimmigrant category is limited to nationals of a treaty country who will invest a substantial amount of capital in a US enterprise. Under both categories, certain employees (i.e., managers and essential employees) of the organization may be eligible for this classification.
E-1 and E-2 Challenges:
Proving substantial trade or investment in the US
Employers must demonstrate that the amount of trade is sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of items between the US and the treaty country (E-1) or that the investment places capital at risk with the objective of generating a profit (E-2).
Meeting the requirements to classify an employee under this category
Employers must establish that the employee seeking this classification either (1) will involve duties that are executive or supervisory in nature and which provide the employee ultimate control for overall operations or (2) possesses special qualifications or skills which make their services essential to the overall operation of the US business.
Meeting Department of State requirements (if applying overseas)
Candidates must meet all DOS requirements, which may change with some frequency, including registering the US enterprise under the E Visa program at the appropriate consulate/embassy.