General Practice, Solo & Small Firm DivisionMagazine

One Tricky Case

Let’s say Company A is a U.S. subsidiary of a British automotive parts manufacturer, Company B. Company C is a British holding company that owns Companies A and B. Company B wants to send its CEO, CFO, and plant manager (and their spouses and children) to start up Company A. The CEO is a citizen of Spain, and his wife and children are citizens of Greece. The CFO and his wife are citizens of Germany. The plant manager and his wife are citizens of the United Kingdom.

Under normal circumstances, an immigration lawyer would consider applying for "E-2" (treaty investor) visas for these company officers and their dependents, but the rule is clear: The treaty investor (Company B), whether an individual or business, or an individual employee thereof, must possess the nationality of the treaty country. The nationality of the company is determined by the nationality of the individual owners of the company. The nationality of the employees is determined by the authorities in the country where the employee claims citizenship or nationality.

In this circumstance, the British plant manager and his wife may come to the United States on an approved E-2 visa petition filed by Company B with the U.S. consulate in London. But the Spanish executive, and his Greek dependents, along with the German executive and his wife, will have to rely on B-1 "business visitor" visas for a time until L-1A "intracompany transferee" visas petitions are approved.

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