Foreign investors may choose between either a non-immigrant classification or permanent residence if they wish to do business in the United States. E-2 non-immigrant status or treaty trader allows a foreign national to enter the United States in order to develop and direct an enterprise in which he or she has invested a substantial amount of capital. Whether the investment qualifies as 'substantial' must be determined by the INS (I-N-S)or by the U.S. consulate if the application is made abroad. In order to be granted E-2 status, the foreign country and the United States must have a treaty of commerce and navigation. Furthermore, the foreign investor must have the nationality of the country with which the treaty exists. 'E' visa holders can generally stay in the United States for a period of 5 to 10 years for those wishing a longer time frame to stay in the U.S. The fifth employment-based immigrant preference category has been set aside for foreign investors in new commercial enterprises. The newly created enterprise must benefit the U-S economy and create full-time employment for at least ten U-S workers, permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the U-S. The act that created this new category of immigration also requires that the grant of residence be conditional for two years. The conditional basis can be removed, however, through a petition that demonstrates compliance with all the conditions of the investor program. For more information on foreign investor visas, consult an attorney who specializes in this area of law.