Companies (E-1 treaty traders and E-2 treaty investors) that have already electronically registered their U.S. site(s) with the relevant U.S. consulate can electronically apply for U.S. visas for their employees. The E visa corresponds to a work visa, entitling the holder to accept full employment regardless of whether the employee wishes to complete several business trips or accept a long-term employment relationship in the U.S.
Employees must have the nationality of the relevant treaty country. This means that companies that are, for example, majority German-owned may only apply for the e visa for personnel with German citizenship.
Furthermore, the employee, including executives, managers or specialists, must be eligible for future employment in the United States.
Evidence of a period of employment within the group of companies (which must be submitted when applying for the L visa) does not have to be submitted. However, regular contractual links must exist within the group of companies. Contractors or freelancers do not qualify for the E category. The future visa holder must therefore either have a regular employment contract with the parent company, or they must be able to demonstrate that they have an assignment contract at the affiliated subsidiaries or the U.S. site.
The work visa (e visa) is granted for an initial maximum period of 5 years. Theoretically, the company can request 5-year extensions of the visa an infinite number of times as long as the company continues to successfully conduct business in the U.S. and continues to satisfy all basic entry requirements for e registration. Residence status can be granted by immigration officers at the border for a maximum of two years at a time. These periods are reset when exiting and reentering the country until the visa has expired and must be re-applied for in accordance with the consular process.
Applicants must appear in person for an interview at one of the authorized U.S. consulates. In addition to submitting the general application documents, the applicant must provide evidence of U.S. employment, offered salary, and their qualifications.
Applications in Germany are submitted exclusively to the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main.
Compared with many other work visa categories (such as L-1 or H-1B), E visas are less costly and time consuming.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age receive a derivative E visa lasting the same period as the principal applicant’s E Visa. Children of visa holders who reach the American legal age of majority must change their non-immigrant status or leave the country.
A spouse can apply for his or her own work permit (Employment Authorization Document EAD) that is not tied to the specific location or company of the principal applicant.
Family members with E status may also attend public/private educational institutions.