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E Visas: Foreign Nationals Engaged in International Trade or Investment

The E category visas are designed for foreign nationals engaged in international trade or investment. They allow nonimmigrant workers who engage in trade/investment between the U.S. and their home country to come to the United States temporarily in order to continue their trade or investment work, provided the US has an appropriate treaty relationship with the foreign country.

To be classified as a Treaty Country, a foreign state must have a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation or its equivalent with the U.S.. A Treaty Country includes a foreign state that is accorded treaty visa privileges under section 101(a)(15)(E) of the INA by specific legislation. For a full list of Treaty Countries, please visit the U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries.

E-1 Visa (Treaty Trader)

The E-1 visa is the appropriate visa category for foreign nationals who enter the United States to conduct substantial trade between the United States and their country of residence.

Requirements:

  • The applicant must be a national of a Treaty Country.
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the US must have the nationality of the treaty country.
  • The international trade must be “substantial” in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
  • The trade must be principally between the US and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the US and the country of the applicant’s nationality.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
E-2 Visa (Treaty Investor)

The E-1 visa is the appropriate visa category for foreign nationals who enter the United States to conduct substantial trade between the United States and their country of residence.

Requirements:

  • The applicant must be a national of a Treaty Country.
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the US must have the nationality of the treaty country.
  • The international trade must be “substantial” in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
  • The trade must be principally between the US and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the US and the country of the applicant’s nationality.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
E Category Family Visas

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany or join the principal visa holder to the US. The spouse of an E visa holder may apply to DHS for employment authorization. Dependent children of an E visa holder are not authorized to work in the US, however.

E Visa Application Procedures

If the prospective E applicant is already in the US in a different lawful nonimmigrant status, either the worker himself/herself or the employer may file a Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker on behalf of the candidate.

If the prospective applicant is abroad, he/she should contact the local US Embassy/Consulate for more E Visa application information. As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for visa applicants from age 14 through 79, with few exceptions. The waiting time for an interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged.

E Visa Required Documentation

Each applicant for a Treaty Trader (E-1) visa must submit these forms and documentation, as explained below.

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160 . Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E , completed and signed.
  • A passport valid for travel to the US and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the US.
  • One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in the US Department of State’s Nonimmigrant Visa Photograph Requirements.

Each applicant for a Treaty Investor (E-2) visa must submit these forms and documentation, as explained below.

  • Online Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application, Form DS-160. Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E, completed and signed, if you are an Executive/Manager/Essential Employee.
  • A passport valid for travel to the US and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the US.
  • One (1) 2×2 photograph. See the required photo format explained in the US Deparment of State’s Nonimmigrant Visa Photograph Requirements.
Additional Documentation

An applicant for a Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa must first establish that the trading enterprise or investment enterprise meets the requirements of the law and complies with the many requirements for the E visa classification. The consular officer may provide the applicant with special forms for this purpose. The applicant can expect the consular officer to request additional documentation to make a determination about eligibility for a Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor visa. It is impossible to specify the exact documentation required since circumstances vary greatly by applicant.