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E-1 And E-2 Visas For Treaty Trader Or Treaty Investors

Guidance For Obtaining E-1 And E-2 Visas

The E visa permits the citizens of countries that have treaties with the U.S. to act as treaty traders, treaty investors or employees of entities that are treaty traders or investors.

  • Treaty traders (E-1) participate in the international exchange of goods or services between the U.S. and the treaty country in question.
  • Treaty investors (E-2) direct and grow a business venture in which the investor has invested or plans to invest.

What is a treaty country? It is any foreign nation that has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce or Navigation with the U.S. Examples include Canada, Egypt, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

Treaty Trader (E-1) Requirements

  • The applicant must come from a country that has a treaty with the U.S.
  • The firm involved must have the same nationality as the treaty country.
  • The trade must be substantial enough to have a sizable flow from numerous transactions over an extended time period. Granted, there is no minimum value for the transactions.
  • At least 50% of the trade conducted by the applicant or employer must be between the U.S. and the applicant’s or employer’s nation of origin.
  • “Trade” refers to the exchange of goods or services between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • The employee must possess highly specialized skills or hold a supervisory or executive position.

Treaty Investor (E-2) Requirements

  • The applicant must come from a country that has a treaty with the U.S.
  • The investment in question must be substantial enough to ensure the success of the enterprise.
  • The percentage invested in a low-cost venture must be greater than the percentage invested in a high-cost venture.
  • So-called “paper organizations” do not qualify. The enterprise must be a real, operating enterprise. Securities such as bank accounts do not qualify.
  • The investment must generate significant income or have a significant impact on the American economy.
  • The assets of the investment enterprise may not be used to secure a loan.
  • The investor should retain control of the funds.
  • The investment must not be commercially risky.
  • The purpose of the investor’s immigration must be the development or direction of the enterprise.

Period Of Stay

E-1 and E-2 statuses last up to two years or, for statuses issued by the consulate, up to five years. Petitioners can seek new visas or extensions as long as they intend to participate in qualifying activities. Still, non-immigrant petitioners must intend to depart the U.S. once their status expires, ends or receives termination.

If an E-1 or E-2 non-immigrant leaves the country, they can automatically receive a two-year readmission period.


Traders and investors may often bring over their spouses, if dependent, or their children who are under 21 years of age. Their spouses and children can have different nationalities than those of the trader or investor. The dependent spouse can apply for authorization to work and does not have any restrictions on where they can seek employment.

Get Our Guidance – Schedule Your Consultation

To discuss your case with an experienced E-1 and E-2 visa attorney in an immigration evaluation, contact our law offices online or by telephone at 408-389-4764. We can help determine whether you are eligible for an E-1 or E-2 visa or status in the United States.