The E-1 treaty trader visa allows an individual to come to the U.S. for the purpose of furthering substantial trade that is international in scope. The trade must be primarily between the United States and the treaty country where the person holds citizenship.

The current list of E-1 treaty countries includes the following: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark (does not include Greenland), Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France (includes Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, and Reunion), Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan (includes Bonin and Ryukyu Islands), Jordan, South Korea, Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, the Netherlands (includes Aruba and Netherlands Antilles), Norway (does not include Svalbard), Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain (applies to all territories), Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom (applies only to British territory in Europe ), and Yugoslavia (valid for new Republics that arose out of former Yugoslavia).

In order for a business to qualify to utilize E-1 visas, the company must demonstrate that the U.S. business has created substantial trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. Trade is not limited to goods and services. However, the trade must be principally with the treaty country. The U.S. business must be able to document that more than 50% of the total volume of international trade will occur between the U.S. and the treaty country. In the event the U.S. entity is a branch office, the foreign business must have more than 50% of its trade with the U.S.

At least 50% of the U.S. entity must be owned by non-U.S. resident nationals of the treaty country. If the company is publicly traded, the firm’s nationality is considered to be that of the country in which the firm’s stock is listed and traded on a public stock exchange.

E-2 Treaty Investor

The E-2 treaty investor visa allows an individual to come to the U.S. for the purpose of furthering a substantial investment in a U.S. enterprise made by individuals or businesses that are citizens of a treaty country.

The current list of E-2 treaty countries includes 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 (includes Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion), Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan (includes Bonin and Ryukyu Islands), Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, the Netherlands (includes Aruba and Netherlands Antilles), Norway (does not include Svalbard), Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain (applies to all territores), Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom (applies only to British territory in Europe), and Yugoslavia (valid for new Republics that arose out of former Yugoslavia).

In order for a business to qualify to utilize E-2 visas, the company must demonstrate that a substantial investment in the U.S. business has been made by individuals or companies that are citizens of the treaty country. Whether the amount invested will meet the “substantiality” test will depend on a variety of factors, such as the nature and type of business and typical start up costs for similar businesses. In addition, the investment must be placed “at risk” (actually invested into the business) and not be “marginal” (not made solely for the purpose of earning a living).

Similar to the E-1, at least 50% of the U.S. entity must be owned by nationals of the treaty country in order to qualify to utilize E-2 visas.

E-1 or E-2 Visa Processing

Before an individual can apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa, the sponsoring entity in the United States for which he or she will work must be registered as an E-1 or E-2 qualified petitioner. An initial request to qualify and register the U.S. entity for E-1 or E-2 status must be filed together with at least one individual’s E-1 or E-2 application at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over the treaty country. Once the company is E-1 or E-2 qualified, an individual who is a national of the treaty country may apply for an E-1 or E-2 visa if he or she is seeking admission to work in an executive or supervisory capacity, or as an essential employee of the company. Employment with the company abroad is not a pre-requisite for E-1 or E-2 status.

E-1 and E-2 visas can be issued for up to five years and are renewable indefinitely provided the company and the individual maintain eligibility for E-1 or E-2 status. Upon each entry to the United States, E-1 and E-2 visa holders may be granted up to two years of E status on Form I-94 provided the E-1 or E-2 visa is valid at the time of entry. Spouses and dependent family members of E-1 or E-2 visa recipients are also eligible for E-1 or E-2 dependent visas. Moreover, E spouses are eligible to apply for employment authorization after they enter the United States.

E-1 or E-2 non-immigrants who do not plan to travel internationally may submit a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to extend their stay for up to two years.

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