The E-1 and E-2 nonimmigrant classifications allow a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce, and navigation) to carry on certain trade or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise. In other words, the E-1 and E-2 allow an individual to start or run a company or business in the United States. The Treaty Trader visa (E-1) requires the holder to be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, to carry on substantial trade, and to carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification. The Treaty Investor visa (E-2) requires the holder to be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, and be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.
The treaty trader and investor visas provide a way for an individual or family to come to the United States to operate a business. Certain employees of such a person or a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification, and this classification does allow for dependents to accompany the principal. A successful application requires lots of thought and preparation. The petition may be filed within the United States or directly at a US Embassy depending on the exact circumstances. Gasparian Spivey Immigration has great experience with these types of petitions here and abroad for small and large businesses. Our involved and hands on approach ensures that the best case is presented.
The Department of State maintains a listing of treaty trader countries at http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/treaty.html