Treaty traders and investors: the “E visas”
Persons from certain countries with treaties with the U.S. who either invest in a business in the U.S. or who conduct a business that promotes trade between the United States and their own country may obtain a “treaty investor” or “treaty trader” visa.
Treaty trader visas
This visa permits travel in and out of the U.S. as long as the person operates any business that involves the exchange, purchase, or sale of goods and services, (including, for example, a travel agency) between the U.S. and the person’s country. This visa is granted one year at a time. To obtain a renewal, a regular financial report must be submitted.
Treaty investor visas
Immigration authorities do not use a standard amount for determining eligibility for treaty investor status. Unlike the permanent investor green card category ($1 million), the test for nonimmigrant investors is whether the investment is “substantial”. An investment of a small amount of money in a business that is marginal, simply for the purpose of earning a living, will not work. However, some investments of under $100,000 have worked.