E1/E2 Visas

Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant status for a national of any of the countries with which an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation exists, who is coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade, principally between the U.S. and his own country, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.

Treaties which provide for trade and investment (E-1 and E-2 status) exist with the following countries:

  • Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan only), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), 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.

Treaties which provide only E-1 treaty-trader status exist with the following countries:

  • Brunei, Greece, Israel.

Treaties which provide only E-2 treaty-investor status exist in the following countries:

  • Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Kinshasa), Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Grenada, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Panama, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Ukraine.

Bilateral investment treaties conferring E-2 status have been signed but have not yet entered into force:

  • Belarus, El Salvador, Haiti, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Russia, Uzbekistan.

Insofar as treaty traders (E-1) are concerned, the requirements are that:

  • (1) The trading firm and the visa applicant be nationals of the Treaty Country;
  • (2) The international trade be ”substantial” in the sense that there is a sizeable volume;
  • (3) The trade be principally between the U.S. and his own country, which is defined to mean that more than 50% of the trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality; and
  • (4) The visa applicant be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity or have unique skills which make his services essential to the efficient operation of the firm.

With respect to treaty investors (E-2), the requirements are that:

  • (1) The enterprise and the applicant be nationals of the Treaty Country;
  • (2) The applicant must have invested or be actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital;
  • (3) The commercial undertaking a real, operating enterprise;
  • (4) The investment be more than a marginal one solely for earning a living;
  • (5) The investor be in a position to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • (6) If the applicant is an employee of an investor, he must individually qualify as a manager or be specifically qualified with unique skills essential to the operation of the enterprise.

Applicants should understand that neither treaty nor investor status can be considered as a substitute for an immigrant visa. The ”E” visa is not permanent, and its validity depends on continuing with governing law and regulation.