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Treaty Trader Visas (E-1) and Treaty Investor Visas (E-2) are non-immigrant visas for nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation who wish to go to the United States for one of two purposes:

(1) to carry on substantial trade, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1); or

(2) to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital (E-2).

E-1 Treaty Trader

The E-1 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the United States and the alien’s country of nationality. The trade involved must be international exchange of items of trade between the U.S. and a treaty country. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.

The treaty trader countries are the following:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

E-2 Treaty Investor

The E-2 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the United States solely to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is actively involved in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital. An investor must be coming to develop and direct the business which means that there must be a controlling interest. The investment must be a real and active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing some service or commodity, as opposed to a paper organization, an idle speculative investment in, e.g., a bank account, undeveloped land or stocks, or a not-for-profit organization.

The treaty investor countries are the following: 

Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Rep., Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

Employees of Treaty Traders and Investors

If applicant will be employed rather than doing business on his or her own account, employing company must have (same) treaty nationality in order for the applicant to become E-1/E-2 employee. Company’s nationality is determined by its ownership, not ordinarily by its place of registry.

Two Types of Employees Qualify for E Visas:

E2 Executives and E2 Managers: Executives and Managers should be going to develop and direct the trade or investment of the principal investor/trader in the U.S. Such personnel should be able to demonstrate their executive or managerial qualification.

E2 Specialists or E-2 Essential Skilled Workers: This is a good way of employing highly skilled level people over in the U.S. Employer should demonstrate that:

  • the employee should have specialized knowledge of the business which may be difficult to find in the U.S.; and
  • the employment of the treaty national is necessary for the running of the principal trader or investor’s business in the U.S.

Period of Stay

Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years.  Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each.  There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted.

Dependents (spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age) of an E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant will be admitted under same classification as the principal and can apply for a work authorization for E1/E-2 dependents.

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