E-1 and E-2 Visas for International Business Operations

The free movement of international business executives and highly skilled employees between countries is a critical aspect of multinational business staffing. Companies seeking to expand into the American market must integrate immigration and visa strategies into their business planning at an early stage to ensure successful transitions. Formulating a clear visa and immigration policy well in advance of establishing a presence in the US marketplace will provide a significant long-term advantage to the company.

Hodkinson Law Group acts for large and mid-sized public and privately held global companies within a range of industries including technology, energy, construction, media and entertainment in the companies' efforts to broaden their business reach into the United States market. For British-owned corporations and small businesses, the E-2 treaty investor visa can be a practical solution toward achieving their business goals. Hodkinson Law Group understands how to effectively guide global companies through the complexities of U.S. immigration and visa laws related to treaty investor and treaty trader visas.

The experienced lawyers at Hodkinson Law Group prepare and file E-2 treaty investor and E-1 treaty trader applications on a regular basis and are finely attuned to the frequently-changing procedural and documentary requirements of the Treaty Visa office at the U.S. Embassy in London. Hodkinson Law Group is also qualified to prepare and submit treaty investor and treaty trader visa applications in other countries which maintain a treaty of trade, friendship and commerce with the United States.

The requirements of E-2 visa eligibility are as follows:

  • the requisite treaty exists;
  • the individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country;
  • the applicant has invested or is in the process of investing;
  • the enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise;
  • the applicant's investment is substantial;
  • the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living;
  • the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an exective/supervisory position or possess skills essential to the firm's operations in the United States; and
  • the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates

Proving ultimate British ownership for companies with complex corporate ownership structures can be a challenge. The immigration lawyers at Hodkinson Law Group have the sophistication and experience to analyze corporate documentation to determine compliance with U.S. immigration regulations and work with corporate heads of human resources, legal and financial teams to source the necessary information.

Recent successes include the following:

Example 1: A multinational company, with a majority ownership held by a long-term trust and thousands of beneficiaries, was able to demonstrate a 51% British ownership structure based on a legal framework outlined by Hodkinson Law Group.

Example 2: An international business with securities traded on both the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange was able to demonstrate British ownership with the assistance of the attorneys at Hodkinson Law Group.

The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa is an option for companies meeting the following requirements:

  • the requisite treaty exists;
  • the individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country;
  • the activities constitute trade within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101 (a) (15) (E);
  • the trade is substantial;
  • the trade is principally between the United States and the treaty country;
  • the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm's operation in the United States; (see N13) and
  • the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates

Hodkinson Law Group lawyers have both the business sophistication to understand complex legal issues and the sympathy and understanding of the life-changing nature of reassignment between countries.

Satisfying the definition of trade for E-1 visa purposes, and calculating the percentage of international trade between the United States and the treaty country, can require clear and concise analysis.

Recent success includes the following:

Example 1: An international company with goods traded domestically and internationally was able to demonstrate that a majority of the company’s international trade was represented by trade between the U.S. and the UK, and that the percentage of U.S.-UK trade in relation to the total trade undertaken by the treaty investor business was not relevant for E-1 visa purposes.

Example 2: An entertainment and media company with offices in the U.S. and the United Kingdom was able to demonstrate that the exchange of intellectual property between the U.S. and the UK offices used in creating video games satisfied the definition of trade, despite the absence of trade with other entities outside of the corporate enterprise.

If your corporation is relocating all or part of its operations to the United States, or venturing into a new business, we understand that it can be easy to overlook the complex immigration requirements for transferred employees. Our corporate visa services are designed for both corporate clients who regularly transfer employees as part of routine business, and those seeking to make an initial entry into the country.

When you need creative strategies for handling immigration and E-2 visa requirements for corporate personnel, turn to the immigration lawyers at Hodkinson Law Group.

U.S. immigration attorneys at Hodkinson Law Group, based in London, England, UK, help individuals and corporate investors apply for a US visa. Our U.S. immigration lawyers assist with E2 visa applications (E-2 visas), EB5 immigration (including EB-5 US visas and EB5 green cards), nonimmigrant visa petitions, U.S. citizenship, work permits, naturalization, permanent residency, and expatriation issues. Contact a US immigration lawyer at our London office today.