You’re French and you’re willing to move to the US? Working and living the American dream is exciting, inspiring…and challenging.

Only a few options exist to work legally in the US: the E1 visa or the E2 visa.

Follow this complete tutorial of the E1 and E2 Visa for French people, and let’s find out if one of these is the right visa for you!

What are E1 and E2 Visa?

The complete name of the E1 visa is the E1 Treaty Trader visa, and E2 is the E2 Treaty Investor visa.

These visas are issued to citizens of nations with which the United States have a treaty of commerce and navigation:

  • People coming to the US to engage in “substantial trade” can apply for an E1 visa,
  • People coming to the US to grow and direct a business in which they’ve invested can apply for an E2 visa.

Either way, you must be coming to the US for one of these reasons:

  • To engage in substantial trade in services or technology, or in qualifying activities between the US and the treaty country.
  • To develop and direct the operations of a company you’ve invested a substantial amount of capital,
  • To fill an executive/supervisor role, or provide essential skills to the operations of the firm.

More simply, the E visa program has multiple goals:

  • To drive fiscal growth,
  • To drive investment in the US economy,
  • To enforce cross-cultural exchange.

In August 2019, the US Department of State (DoS) has announced that the E1 and E2 validity for French nationals have been reduced from 5 years to 15 months.

How to get the E1 or E2 visa?

To get either the E1 or E2 visa, as a French applicant, a lot of administrative steps and paperwork are required.

  1. You need to complete the Form DS-160 and upload your photo, making sure that your photo meets the photograph requirements.
  2. Then, create a user account on the Embassy website, pay the visa fee and plan a consular appointment interview.
  3. Two days later maximum, submit via email the supportive documents to the Embassy. The documents have to be submitted before your appointment.
  4. Attend your appointment at the Embassy, carrying the complete E visa application package. Be careful not to bring any prohibited items.
  5. Be prepared to leave your passport at the Embassy for the time needed to process your application. Processing time is usually 3-5 business days after the interview but it may vary so do NOT make any travel plan (flight, hotel…) before receiving your visa.

What are the supporting documents for E1 or E2 visa applications?

Depending on the type of visa you’re applying, you don’t have to provide the same supporting documents.

For E1 visa application, you need to add the following documents to your application:

  • A cover letter describing your company and your position,
  • A proof of French ownership and controlling interest in the enterprise;
  • A detailed spreadsheet showing all of the company’s international transactions for a period of at least 1 year, the value of each transaction, the list of trading partners;
  • A proof that trade is principally between the US and France;
  • Your résumé, certifications and degrees;
  • The contact email address and phone number of your attorney (link towards another article) or representative.

For E2 visa application, the supporting documents to submit are similar. In addition, please provide the following:

  • Proof that funds have been invested or that the investor is actively in the process of investing. Please attach proof of actual purchases and/or signed contracts like invoices, receipts and contracts;
  • Proof that the company is a real and active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing some service or commodity. You can attach clients lists, letters from clients, signed contracts, photos of the company, and so on;
  • Evidence that investment is substantial;
  • Evidence that enterprise is more than marginal;
  • Business plan for the next five years, including projected expenses and profits, in order to verify the capacity of the company to realize profit.

Good to know about E1 and E2 visas 

What country are eligible?

All French citizens are eligible for E1 and E2 applications.

However, if you come from another country, check the Treaty countries list to see if you’re eligible.

If you can’t apply for E1 or E2 visa, you can ask your attorney or your representative what others options you have.

What about families?

E1 and E2 visa holders can bring family (wife, husband, unmarried children under 21) to the US, and the spouses are permitted to work.

Is every job accepted?

As long as you prove that you carry on substantial trade or that you are an executive, manager or specialist employed by a company operating on an E1 or E2 visa in the U.S., you can get an E1 or E2 visa.

Are there specific diploma or skills to possess to apply?

There are no minimum level of degree to apply.

However, you have to provide proof that your skills are essential to running the company.

Whatever your dream is, ask your attorney some advices to pursue it and achieve your goals.

There are multiples visas and many ways to get one. But you need to be guided all the way and to benefit from professional advices.

Explore your options and start living your dreams.