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APR 2000

Business Immigraiton

By Vanessa S. Barcelona
  The E visa, based upon a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation; or a bilateral investment treaty between the U.S. and the country from which the E visa holder is a national, is available to nationals of the Philippines.

Other Asian countries whose nationals qualify for E visa issuance are: Thailand, Japan, China (Taiwan) and Korea. It allows a person to enter the U.S. to carry on trade between the U.S. and the foreign country of which s/he is a national (treaty trader); or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which s/he has invested or is actively in the process of  investing a substantial amount of capital (treaty investor). 

Unlike many applications which must be submitted initially to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for approval before arrangements can be made for visa issuance at the U.S. Consulate abroad, the E visa application may be filed directly at the U.S. Consulate. For some consulates, the applicant may submit the application and supporting documents (with passports) and wait for a review and determination if an interview is necessary. If the documents are sufficient, then the passport is simply  stamped with the E visa and then returned to the applicant. Other consulates absolutely require an interview.  It is important to find out what the policy is for the Consulate with whom the applicant will be applying. 


The E visa is an appropriate visa for someone who wishes to enter the U.S. on  the basis of an investment; but is unable to enter as an L-1 Intracompany transferee. (The L-1 visa requires that there be an ownership nexus between the foreign company (for whom the L-1 applicant must have worked for at least 1 out of the last 3 years); and the U.S. company with whom the L-1 applicant will be transferred). Without this nexus between the foreign company and the U.S. company, the applicant cannot qualify for the L-1 Visa. 



Documents which will be presented in order to obtain the E visa are listed below. The list below is by no means all-encompassing. It is provided, however, in order to guide the potential applicant in determining which documents can be provided to meet the U.S. State Department's requirements for E visa issuance:

Evidence of the establishment of the U.S. business:
  •  articles of incorporation
  •  partnership agreement
  •  organization and staffing charts
  •  shares
  •  titles
  •  contracts
  •  receipts
  •  licenses
  •  leases

    Evidence of the investment in the U.S. enterprise (for the treaty investor):
  •  titles
  •  receipts
  •  contracts
  •  loans
  •  bank statements showing capital injection

    Evidence of trade between the U.S. and the treaty country:
  •  receipts
  •  contracts
  •  invoices
  •  shipping documents

    Evidence that the business is a real, operating enterprise
  •  catalogs
  •  sales literature
  •  news articles
  •  telephone and other util ity bills
  •  advertisements/invoices for ads placed
  • Evidence that the existing enterprise is owned by a national of the E treaty country passport/birth certificate or other proof of citizenship with the treaty country 
    Proof of ownership of the company by a national or by nationals of the treaty country - stock certificates

  • Evidence that the E employee or investor has the qualifications to assume the position, given the duties inherent in the title
  •  C.V. or resume; and/or Diploma;
  •  Professional certificates;
  •  Letter(s) of work experience

    Miscellaneous documents:
  •  Passport of all members of the E investor's family
  •  Birth/marriage certificates to show relationship of spouse and children to the E investor/employee

    As with all visas, there are advantages and disadvantages to the E visa. It 
    is important therefore that one first obtain the necessary information before a decision can be made as to whether this visa would be the best possible route to obtaining lawful admission in the U.S.


VANESSA S. BARCELONA is a partner with the law offices of Barcelona & Pilarski, P.A. She obtained her law degree from the University of Florida. She is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association, and the Florida Bar. Please send all e-mails to: vsbarcelona@earthlink.net


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