L-1 Intra-Company Transferees
TN/NAFTA for Citizens of Canada & Mexico
E1 - E2 – Treaty Traders/Investors
Canadian and Mexican citizens whose occupations appear on the Appendix 1603.D.1 to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) may be eligible for TN status to enter the United States and engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. Among the list of designated TN professions are: accountants, registered nurses, engineers, lawyers, research assistants, librarians, hotel managers, and a variety of other occupations. Canadian citizens may file the TN application at a Port of Entry into the U.S. and obtain an immediate decision on the application, whereas Mexican citizens must apply at a consular post.
Applicants for TN status must possess the following:
- Proof of Canadian or Mexican Citizenship. Landed immigrants or permanent residents do not qualify.
- Employer Letter stating the minimum requirements and job duties of the position for which the alien will be engaged on a temporary basis.
- Minimum qualifications of one of the professions specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty. The Appendix also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation. (See list of designated professional occupations ) The most common minimum requirement is a Baccalaureate degree and licensure, if required for the profession. A foreign national must have licensure before he or she can obtain TN status.
An alien may be admitted to the United States in TN status for an initial maximum period of three years. If the alien has filed a Green Card application, or has been named a beneficiary of an immigration petition (either family-based or employment-based), he or she would NOT be qualified for this visa category.
Family Members of the TN Applicant
Spouses and children (unmarried children under the age of 21) who are accompanying or following to join NAFTA Professionals (TNs) may receive derivative TD visa status.
E-1 Treaty Trader
The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa allows a business owner or essential employee to enter the United States,
"....solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the United States and the applicant's country of nationality. The trade involved must be an international exchange of goods or services between the U.S. and a treaty country..."
To qualify for E-1 Treaty Trader visa:
- The applicant must be a national of a treaty country;
- The trading firm must be at least 50% owned and controlled by a foreign corporation (or individual) of the same treaty country as the E-1 trader applicant;
- The international trade must be "substantial" in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade;
- The trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality;
- Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other; and
- The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
E-2 Treaty Investor
E-2 Treaty Investor visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign investors to invest in the U.S. by establishing a new enterprise, or purchasing an existing business. To qualify for this visa, the foreign entrepreneur must have invested, or plans to invest in the near future, a substantial amount of capital within the U.S.
In order to be qualified for the E-2 visa, you must:
- Be from a country with a treaty agreement with U.S.;
- Invest in a U.S. company that is at least 50% owned and controlled by a foreign corporation (or individual) of the same treaty country as the E-2 investor applicant;
- Provide substantial investment that is sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
*The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise;
- Have sufficient funds or assets to be irrevocably committed (i.e. "at risk") to the investment;
*Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment. Loans secured with assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
- Invest in an enterprise that is more than marginal, i.e. must be more than sufficient to earn a living for the investor and his/her family;
- Be planning to establish an active business enterprise;
- Perform his or her duties in a managerial or supervisory capacity;
Duration of Stay for E-1 and E-2 Visa Holders:
An E visa is a non-immigrant visa and does not lead to either a "green card" or U.S. Citizenship. If the investor is present in the U.S. on another valid nonimmigrant visa status (such as B-1), he or she may file with the USCIS to change the status to that of E status. The E-1/E-2 non-immigrant status is valid for periods of 2 years with unlimited number of extensions to continue the business, which can be filed with USCIS. If the investor is outside the U.S. and/or desires to travel overseas to develop and promote the business, he or she must apply for an E-1/E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate Office with appropriate jurisdiction. E visas can be issued for up to five years. It is not unusual, however, for the U.S. Consulate Offices to issue an E-1/E-2 visa for two years at the initial application. On renewal, the visas are generally granted for five years, as long as the U.S. Consulate Officer is satisfied that the business continues to meet the E-1/E-2 requirements.
There is no specific period of time that an E-2 treaty investor and his/her family may remain in the U.S., as long as there is an ultimate intention to depart.
Spouse & Children:
The Principal E-1/E-2 holder’s Spouse and children under 21, regardless of nationality, may remain in the U.S. under E-1/E-2 Dependent status. They may apply for and obtain work authorization (EAD) from the USCIS to pursue other employment opportunities.