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E Visa

The E visa is available to Canadian investors as well as citizens of several other countries that have a commercial treaty agreement with the United States. It is not available to citizens of India.

A list of treaty countries can be found at http://travel.state.gov/visa/fees/fees_3726.html

This visa can also be used to bring Canadians to the U.S. to work for a Canadian owned business when the Canadian being hired in the U.S. has never worked for the Canadian investor or his companies before. It also can solve the problem where a Canadian owned U.S. company needs to transfer a Canadian to the U.S. when the Canadian does not have one year of employment in Canada.

The difficulties with the visa are the following:

(1)   The amount that must be invested has to be substantial. The term is very subjective but generally means enough funds in order to create a successful business. The amounts have been as low as $50,000 but a very specific business plan showing the profitability was required. Investment in real estate, although substantial, will not satisfy the visa requirements. There is an exception to the substantial investment requirement pursuant to an E-1 visa  if the U.S. business does substantial business with Canada.

(2)   The investment must be an active investment. This requires that several employees will be hired to work at the business. Real estate investments usually do not require employees.

(3)   The income generated must be able to pay employees plus the investor if the investor will work at the business and the investor’s income must be more than a living wage, that is, generally it must be greater than $50,000. If the investor does not work at the business, some employee will have to be a manager and earn a managerial level salary.

(4)   The investment must be at risk. In order to qualify the funds must have been invested in a manner that if the business fails the funds could be lost.

(5)   The funds must have come from a legal source. The history of how the investor derived the funds needs to be explained.

(6)   The investor must have some experience or qualifications if the investor is going to manage the business.

(7)   If the business fails or does not appear to be successful, the visa may not be renewed.

For Canadians, the application for the E visa is made at a U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto. The visa is initially granted for one year in the case of a new business and then for periods of time from two to five years.

The spouse and children under 21 are entitled to an E-2 dependent visa and the spouse can obtain a work visa too in order to work for any employer.