E-1 and E-2 Essential Employees

Work Visas

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E-1 and E-2 Essential Employees

The primary purpose of E-1 and E-2 visas are to allow international traders (E-1) and international investors (E-2) to live and work in the United States.  However, those individuals can also bring their “essential employees” with them to the United States.  If you already have an E-1 or E-2 company established, essential employee visas can help you transfer talent from your home country.

Who is Eligible?

E-1/E-2 essential employee visas are available only to those who have the same nationality as the company.  So, for example, a German E-2 company would only be able to employ Germans as essential employees in the United States.  

Essential employees would include the following individuals:

      1. Executives,
      2. Supervisors, and
      3. Those who have special qualifications that are essential to the operation of the enterprise.  


The last category, those with essential special qualifications, is unique in its flexibility.  Many U.S. visa categories are limited to “professional” positions with very high requirements in terms of education, experience and/or credentials.  Meanwhile, E-1/E-2 essential employees visas can be issued to skilled tradesmen and other important “non-professional” occupations that are critical to your business.  

What is the Process?

Most E-1/E-2 essential employee applications are filed through U.S. consulates in the home E-visa country.  No prior approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the U.S. is required.   

Most U.S. consulates have very strict requirements for E-2 visa applicants in terms of documentation required.  Further, a visa applicant must be well prepared for their interview.  They will only have a short amount of time to plead their case to the U.S. government.  A skilled immigration attorney can guide your employees on what to expect during the interview to give them the best chance for success.


The E-2 Attorneys of Sam Shihab & Associates

The attorneys of Sam Shihab & Associates have experience with E-1/E-2 visas for essential employees in a wide variety of cases:  large multinational companies and small businesses, professionals and non-professionals, and from countries all around the world.  

Please call or email to discuss your business with one of our attorneys and learn more about E-1/E-2 essential employees.