Since 1815, the U.S. has been signing bilateral treaties, including the E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor treaties, with other countries, that are ratified by Congress which allow citizens from other countries to get visas based on the establishment of businesses in the U.S. Essentially individuals from many of those 80 countries are eligible to get a visa and to run a business that they set up in the U.S., due to their nationality, based on the existence of these treaties.
So what happens under the Trump Administration? I do not believe that these treaties will be revoked, because, while another country may pull out unilaterally, in the U.S.’s case it has to be done through a vote by Congress, and these visas lead to job creation for Americans.
The chances of these treaties being repealed are very slim, because, as I mentioned in a recent article about the EB-5 Visa, the Trump administration’s chief focus will be on creating generations of new jobs in the U.S. for U.S. citizens. E-1 and E-2 visas represent a mechanism by which new companies are created in the U.S., and in order for those companies to function and prosper (and in order for the visas to be approved and later renewed), there must be job creation for Americans. Given the spirit of these visas is to generate and increase business between the two countries, and the end result of the visas being the generation of new jobs, the E treaties should not be changed whatsoever.
There’s one more aspect of these visas that’s important: the concept of reciprocity. Reciprocity is essentially a mechanism by which the U.S. government can adjust or minimize the maximum times, or the validity, of the visas that the government issues. Right now, the maximum period for E visa is 5 years, with unlimited renewals. As long as the business that has been established to support the E visa and to sponsor the visas exists and continues to generate revenue and maintain or create jobs in the U.S.,, then the nationals of those E visa countries are always eligible to renew.
Some nationals are limited through reciprocity, where the U.S. government essentially minimizes the maximum term to 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, or 2 years, depending on the country and the political situation. It’s easier for the government to modify the maximum period of time allowed through the process of reciprocity. But, as I mentioned earlier, pulling out of a treaty and revoking it unilaterally would require a congressional action, and revoking a mechanism that creates jobs would not make sense to Trump nor a majority of Congress.
In order to maximize the potential of job generation, it’s more likely under the Trump administration that these maximum periods would actually be increased for some countries, as opposed to minimized. The take-home lesson is that anyone who holds a passport from any of the 80+ countries on the Department of State website’s list should be encouraged to continue to invest in the U.S. and to set up their companies, which will in turn help the U.S. economy through the creation of jobs.
Steve Maggi, ESQ
Founder / SMA Law Firm