Treaty Traders: E Visas
This visa allows you to enter the United States to engage actively in substantial trade of goods and/or services means or conferences, engage in buying or selling, overseas contracts on behalf of your foreign employer, or participate in other business ventures between the United States and your country of national origin. You may also obtain this visa if you are coming to work as a volunteer, for example, for religious organizations. In addition, you may use this visa if you are coming to attend a training course being offered by a foreign company operating in the United States or if you are coming as an employee of a foreign-based company to provide consulting services to a United States company.
E-1 visas are available to the citizens of countries that have treaties of trade and commerce with the United States. South Korea is such a country. You are eligible to this visa if you are the national of a country with such a treaty and are coming to the United States solely to engage in substantial trade principally between the United States and your country. This means over 50% of your business must be between the United States and your country. You may either be the owner of a United States company, or an executive, or key employee, but at least 50% of the foreign-based company must be owned by nationals of that country. At least half the shareholders must either live abroad, or if living in the United States, must themselves have E-1 visas. If, for example, some of the owners of your company are living in the United States and are permanent residents there, the shareholder cannot be counted towards the foreign-owner or controlled 50%. Trade is defined as the import/export of goods, but can also be in services including technical services. Among the services included in this category, are banks, travel agencies, airlines, advertising agencies, high technology businesses, management consulting, project management, and law and accounting firms. You do not have to maintain a foreign residence in order to be eligible for an E visa, but, you must undertake to return to your country at the expiration of the E visa status.
This visa allows foreigners who have made substantial investments in the United States to live and work in the United States in order to develop and direct a business operation established by their investments.
You are eligible for this visa if you are the investor or if you are an executive manager or essential employee of a foreign company that made the investment, and, you and the major shareholders of the company are nationals of a country that has a treaty investor agreement with the United States. Half of the shareholders of the business must either live abroad or if they live in the United States, they themselves must be visa holders.