The E-1 visa is for treaty traders and the E-2 is for treaty investors. The E visa is only available to nationals of countries that have commercial treaties with the United States. A list of Treaty Countries can be found on the U.S. Department of State website.
As an E-1 treaty trader, you must be engaged in “substantial trade” between the U.S. and your home country. This trade can relate to many different areas including merchandise, equipment, banking, tourism, and transportation.
As an E-2 treaty investor, you must be developing or directing an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital. A substantial investment is usually an investment constituting more than 50% of the amount needed for the enterprise. There are other requirements that must be met in order to qualify for the E-2 visa.
Typically, visas are granted for 5 years, sometimes less, but unlike the majority of other visas, the E visa can be extended indefinitely.