The non- immigrant status visa subcategories E-1 and E-2 are of prime interest to foreign entrepreneurs and investors who want to start up or develop a business in the United States and who are coming from counties that have a commercial or trade agreement or treaty with the United States. Spain, along with Ibero-American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, México, Paraguay, Panama and Ecuador) have signed agreements for both aforementioned subcategories except for Panama and Ecuador who have only signed commercial treaties for the E-2 visa.

In both cases, if either the entrepreneur or the investor is already in the United States with a non-immigrant visa, then he may apply for the subcategory E-1 and E-1 visa. The applicant must submit the I-129 form to the USCIS. However, if we are dealing with an employee who is in the United States under any of the non-immigrant immigrant categories as a supervisor or director (executive or manger) or with a special qualification, he must have the employer submit the application for immigration category change on his behalf.

When the visa application in these subcategories is submitted from outside of the country, it is recommended that applicants consult the U.S. Department of State website to obtain relevant information regarding how to request the non-immigrant E-1 and E-2 visa while overseas.

Sterna Abogados can take care of the entire process for you.


The E-1 and E-2 subcategory visa only authorizes employees to carry out the activity for which they were granted the visa unless the employee is working for the parent company or one of its branches. This is allowed if and when an established relationship exists between such organizations, when the job position has not been substantially changed, and when the branch has opening a job position that requires either a director, supervisor (executive or manager) or someone with special qualifications.

The entrepreneur or the investor must notify the USCIS of all significant changes that may affect the terms and conditions of the visa agreement (such as merger, acquisition, sales, or core business). This is done by submitting the I-129 form along with the corresponding bank fee, which will allow the applicant to request a renewal extension period. This form must be submitted along with other pieces of evidence proving that all conditions of the work agreement have been maintained in order to continue to reside in the country with this type of visa.

In any event, we recommend that you seek advice from the USCIS to help you determine if a change is essential or not by submitting the I-29 form with the corresponding bank fee and a detailed description of the change that has occurred.

Nationals from countries such as Mexico and Canada who are involved in strikes or other labor disputes causing interruption at work, may not be eligible to apply for either of these subcategories.


Will the entrepreneur´s, investor´s, or employee´s family members benefit from this migratory status?


The spouse and children under the age of 21 will receive the same subcategory visa even if they are not of the same nationality as the entrepreneur, investor or employee, considering that they are accompanying the worker and are classified as his economic dependents. Once the visa is approved, it will be granted for the same amount of time as that of the worker.

If the worker´s family members are in the United States and they are looking to switch their migratory status or renew their current one as E-1 or E-2 dependents, they can do this by submitting the I-539 form and by paying the corresponding bank fee. The spouse of the employee with the E-1 or E-2 visa may request a work permit, that once approved, will not place the spouse under any work restrictions (such as type of job or location). The spouse may request this by submitting both the I-765 form and the corresponding bank fee.

Visa subcategory title holders from both groups are allowed to travel abroad and once they return to the U.S. they will be granted two years automatic readmission. The worker´s family will be entitled to these two automatic readmission years if they are travelling and reentering the country with the visa holder. However, the readmission period shall not apply if they are not accompanied by the visa holder. It is very important to keep in mind that you must request the renewal as E-1 or E-2 dependents before your initial card expires.

If you would like more information regarding our migratory services, please contact us!


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