With Brexit looming, more British businesses are looking to expand into other markets like the United States. Companies who are contemplating this expansion should know that there are several routes to accomplish this goal. The following will give a brief description of the most popular non-immigrant categories. All of the following visa types allow for a spouse to apply for work authorisation and for derivative children (under 21) to attend school in the US.
E-2 Treaty Investor
A company from a treaty country, who has invested a substantial amount of money into the purchase or creation of a new business in the US, is eligible for E-2 visa registration. The United Kingdom is one such treaty country* and allows for businesses which are at least 50% British owned to qualify for this visa category.
An investor or employee of the same nationality as the company can apply for an E-2 investor or employee visa. An investor must show that they will be in a position to direct and develop the company in the US. An employee must be in a managerial or executive position or be able to show specialised knowledge of the company or its products and may apply after the company obtains its registration.
For more information on E-2 and E-1 visas, please click here
L-1 Intracompany Transfer
If a company is already established outside of the United States, then it may transfer certain employees to work for its US office if they have worked for the non-US company for at least one out of the past three years. These employees must have certain job responsibilities, generally falling into either the L-1A category of managers and executives or L-1B (employees with specialized knowledge).
For more information on L-1 visas, please click here
E-1 Treaty Trader
Similar to an E-2, an E-1 visa allows for owners and employees with the same treaty nationality* of the company to work in the US if the company has had substantial trade with the United States. Substantial trade means more than 50% of the company’s international trade (which does not include the domestic trade) is with the United States. This is generally shown through invoices and pay bills.
An employee of an E-1 company must also show that they have either duties which are executive/supervisory in nature or alternatively special skills which make their services essential to the operation of the business.
While the above will give a general idea of whether a company and applicant may qualify for a visa, the requirements as written and visa types listed are not exhaustive. Therefore it is best to speak with an Immigration Lawyer who can assess your chances of success and perhaps suggest other routes. The above is also not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.
* For a current list of E-1 & E-2 treaty countries, please see the State Department’s list by clicking here
On behalf of Mackie Adoniadis, US Immigration Lawyer, B&A Immigration