Home    |    Links    |    FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Back »

E - 1 Treaty Trader

What is a “Treaty Country” for E-1 visa purpose?

A treaty country is a foreign state with which the United States has a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation or its equivalent.

What is a Treaty Country Nationality?

The authorities of the foreign state of which the alien is a national determine the nationality of an individual treaty trader. In the case of an enterprise or organization, ownership must be traced as best as is practicable to the individuals who are ultimately its owners.

What are the requirements for the E-1 Treaty Trader Category?

E-1 treaty trader status is designed for qualifying individuals who are citizens or nationals of countries with a qualifying commerce and navigation treaty with the U.S., and who will only engage in substantial trade in goods, services and technology principally between the U.S. and that foreign country.

How does USCIS define “trade” for the purpose of E-1 visa?

Immigration regulations define trade as the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country.

How much trade is considered “substantial trade” for the purpose of E-1 visa?

Substantial trade is an amount of trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade items between United States and the treaty country. Essentially, trade is considered substantial when there are numerous transactions over a period of time and the income derived is sufficient enough to support the treaty trader.

Note: A one-time transaction, no matter how great the value, does not constitute substantial trade between that country and United States.

What items are considered “items of trade” for the E-1 status?

Items of trade include but are not limited to goods, services, international banking, insurance, monies, transportation, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news gathering activities.

What does “principal trade” mean?

Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists when over 50 percent of the volume of international trade of the treaty trader is conducted between the United States and the treaty country of the treaty trader's nationality.

What are “Special Qualifications” for the E-1 status?

Special qualifications are those skills and/or aptitudes that an employee in a lesser capacity brings to a position or role that are “essential” to the successful or efficient operation of the treaty enterprise.

Is a labor certification necessary for the E-1 status?

Labor certification is not necessary nor a requirement for the E-1 classification.

Can a U.S. employer file for E-1 status for an employee?

No. A United States employer cannot petition for E-1 status for an employee since this visa classification is specifically set aside for foreign nationals, including foreign employers, with a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, Navigation or some similar type of agreement between the United States and a foreign nation.

Can an employer get E-1 status for an employee?

An employer can get E-1 status for an employee only if the employee meets all of the requirements to get E-1 status.

Can the E-1 employee file the Form I-129 for him/herself?

No. The E-1 employer or the employer abroad must always file the Form I-129 on behalf of an E-1 employee.

What are the requirements to become an E-1 Treaty Trader?

To obtain an E-1 Treaty Trader status, the following are eligibility requirements:

  1. A treaty, with treaty trader provisions, exists between United States and the foreign state;
  2. The individual and/or business possess the nationality of the treaty country;
  3. Business activities constitute trade between USA and the treaty country;
  4. Such trade is substantial and international in nature;
  5. Trade is principally between United States and the treaty country; and
  6. The individual intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates.

What requirements must the employee meet to become an E-1 employee?

To obtain E-1 employee status, the following are eligibility requirements:

  • The employee must be a national of the treaty country;
  • The employee’s employer must either be in valid E-1 status, or if outside of the U.S., the employer is classifiable under E-1 status;
  • The employee is coming to the United States to fill an executive or supervisory position, or has special qualifications essential to the firm’s operations in the United States; and
  • The beneficiary intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status expires.

What initial evidence or documents must be filed with the E-1 Nonimmigrant Visa Application at the U.S. Consulate?

The individual should be directed to the U.S. consulate nearest to the individual’s place of residence or to the Department of State’s website at www.state.gov

Can the E-1 employee change employers and remain in E status?

An E-1 employee cannot change employers and remain in E-1 status. However, another employer may sponsor the employee for E-1 status. USCIS must approve any substantive changes in the terms or conditions of E status prior to the change of employment.

What is the initial period of stay granted to an E-1 nonimmigrant?

An E-1 nonimmigrant is usually granted an initial period of admission of two (2) years.

What is the maximum period of stay granted to an E-1 nonimmigrant?

E-1 Treaty Traders do not have a maximum period of stay restriction. However, E-1 Treaty Trader employees involved in start-up activities only receive two years since it is presumed that they will conclude their activities in a two-year period.

E - 2 Treaty Investor FAQs


What is a “Treaty Country”?

A treaty country is a foreign state with which a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation or its equivalent exists with the United States.

What is a Treaty Country Nationality?

The authorities of the foreign state of which the alien is a national determine the nationality of an individual treaty investor. In the case of an enterprise or organization, ownership must be traced as best as is practicable to the individuals who are ultimately its owners.

Which countries or regions are on the list for the Treaty Investor Services?

For a list of Treaty Investor countries, please visit the U.S. Department of State's website at:

http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/treaty.html

What are the requirements for the Treaty Investors Category?

E-2 status is designed for qualifying individuals who are citizens or nationals of countries with a qualifying Commerce and Navigation treaty with the U.S., and who will solely develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he/she has invested or is actively in the process of investing substantial capital.

How does USCIS define “investment” for E-2 visa purpose?

USCIS defines investment as the treaty investor's placing of capital, including funds and other assets, at risk in the commercial sense with the objective of generating a profit.

Note: The funds used by the investor must be the investor's own unsecured personal funds not a loan or some other secured financial instrument.

What is considered a “bona fide enterprise” for the E-2 classification?

A bona fide enterprise means that the enterprise must be a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking that actually produces services or goods for profit.

How much investment is considered a “substantial amount of capital” for the E-2 classification?

A substantial amount of capital is considered an amount, which meets the following three criteria:
  1. That is substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise being considered;
  2. Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor's financial commitment to the enterprise's success; and
  3. Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise.

What does “solely to develop and direct” mean?

Solely to develop and direct means that the treaty investor can demonstrate that he or she develops and directs the investment enterprise by:
  1. Showing control via ownership of at least 50% of the enterprise; or
  2. Showing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device, or by other means.

What is a “marginal enterprise”?

A marginal enterprise is an enterprise that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family. In other words, a marginal enterprise is only sufficient enough to provide a minimal living and nothing more for the treaty investor.

Can a U.S. employer file for E-2 status for an employee?

No. A United States employer cannot petition for E-2 status for an employee since this visa classification is specifically set aside for foreign nationals, including foreign employers, with a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, Navigation or some similar type of agreement between United States and a foreign nation.

Can an employer get E-2 status for an employee?

An employer can get E-2 status for an employee if the employee and employer meet all of the requirements set forth for E-2 status.

What requirements must an individual meet to become an E-2 Treaty Investor?

In order to obtain an E-2 Treaty Investor status, one must meet the following eligibility requirements:
  1. A treaty, with treaty investor provisions, exists between United States and the foreign state of which the petitioner is a citizen;
  2. The individual and/or business possess the nationality of the treaty country;
  3. Has invested or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States;
  4. Is seeking entry solely to develop and direct the enterprise; and
  5. Intends to depart the United States upon the expiration or termination of treaty investor (E-2) status.
Note: A substantial amount of capital is distinct from that of a relatively small amount of capital in a marginal enterprise that is solely for the purpose of earning a living.

What requirements must the employee meet to become an E-2 employee?

In order to obtain an E-2 employee status, one must meet the following eligibility requirements:
  1. The employee must be a national of the treaty country;
  2. The employee's employer must either be in valid E-2 status, or if outside of the U.S., the employer is classifiable under E-2 status;
  3. The employee is coming to the United States to fill an executive or supervisory position; or has special qualifications essential to the firm's operations in the United States; and
  4. The beneficiary intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates and/or expires.

What initial evidence or documents must be filed with the E-2 Nonimmigrant Visa Application at the U.S. Consulate?

The individual should be directed to the U.S. consulate nearest the individual's place of residence or to the Department of State's website at http://www.state.gov/. Please note that each embassy/consulate has its own country specific requirements and application rules.

Can one petition be filed for the E-2 employer and employee (not the E-2 Treaty Investor)?

No. Separate petitions must be filed for employer and employee. The filing and approval of the employer's Form I-129 must precede the employee's filing of the Form I-129.

Can the E-2 who is an employee change employers and remain in E-2 status?

An E-2 employee cannot change employers and remain in E-2 status. However, another employer may sponsor the employee for E-2 status. USCIS must approve any substantive changes in the terms or conditions of E-2 status prior to the change of employment.

Can the E-2 who is an employee work for more than one employer?

No. An E-2 employee can only work for the employer that filed the petition or one of the employer's affiliates, subsidiaries, or branches.

What is the initial period of admission granted to the E-2 nonimmigrant?

An E-2 nonimmigrant is usually granted an initial period of admission of two (2) years.

What is the maximum period of stay granted to the E-2?

E-2 Treaty Investors do not have a maximum period of stay.

Note: E-2 Treaty Investors involved in start-up activities only receive two years since it is presumed they will conclude their activities in a two year period.

How can the E-2 visa holder extend his/her status if their status is expiring?

An extension of stay for an E-2 may be authorized in increments of up to two years. Each extension must be applied for with all supporting documents.


The information contained on this site is offered only for general informational and educational propose and does not constitute a legal advice or opinion. All efforts are being made to keep this information current, but it may not be guaranteed that it applies to your specific case, and should not be relied upon or acted without seeking the advice of qualified attorney.