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E-1 Category: Treaty traders

This visa allows businesspersons who are citizens of countries that have entered into trade treaties with the United States to more easily engage in international trading activities within the United States.

The businessperson must either be engaging in substantial trade with the United States on an individual level or work for an organization that does substantial trade with the United States.

The E-1 visa treaty trader’s business must conduct over 50% of its international trade with the United States and, as mentioned above, the trade must be substantial. Substantial trade is defined as:

  1. A continuous flow of international trade between the United States and the treaty country;
  2. Numerous transactions over time;
  3. The income from international transactions must be sufficient enough to support the treaty trader and his or her family; and
  4. Proof of the trade, which may be all or some of the following: bills of lading, customer receipts, letters of credit, insurance papers documenting commodities imported, purchase orders, trade brochures, courier inventories, and sales contracts.

E-2 Category: Treaty investors

This visa allows businesspersons from countries that have investor treaties with the United States to work in the United States for a business in which people from their country have invested.

The following are some requirements for getting an E-2 visa:

  1. You must be a citizen of a country that has an investor treaty with the United States;
  2. You must be coming to work in the United States for a company you own or one that is at least 50% owned by other citizens of your home country;
  3. You must be either the owner or a key employee of the United States business;
  4. You or the company must have made a substantial investment in the United States business;
  5. The United States business must be actively engaged in trade or the rendering of services to the effect that it produces more than marginal profits.

NAFTA Provisions for E-1 and E-2

The usual documentary waiver provisions for Canadian citizens under NAFTA do not apply to the E-1 Treaty Trader classification or the E-2 Treaty Investor classification.

Therefore, unlike the TN, B-1, B-2, and L-1, Canadian citizens must apply for an E-1 visa at a United StatesConsulate. This is particularly important for a Canadian individual to take into account when already in the United States and seeking to change status internally to an E-1 or E-2 as they could run into delays should they need to leave the country and be readmitted under the E-1 or E-2 status.

In that scenario, where status was changed internally to an E-1 or E-2 and the individual left the United States, the individual would need to obtain a visa from a United States consulate prior to seeking re-admittance to the United States under the E-1 or E-2 classification.

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