Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant visa status for a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who is coming to the United States to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.
Requirements: Treaty Trader
The applicant must be a national of a treaty
The trading firm for
which the applicant is coming to the U. S. 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 U.S. and the
treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the
Trade means the international exchange of goods,
services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other; and
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
Requirements: Treaty Investor
The investor, either a real or corporate person, must
be a national of a treaty country;
The investment must be substantial. It must be
sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the
percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise;
The investment must be a real operating enterprise.
Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment;
The investment may not be marginal. It must generate
significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United
The investor must have control of the funds, and the
investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed; and
The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and
direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill
capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
Each applicant for the visa must pay a nonrefundable US$100 application fee and submit:
- An application Form DS-156E , completed and signed. Blank forms are available without charge at all U.S. consular offices.
- A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period of stay in the United States. If more than one person is included in the passport, each person must complete an application.
- One (1) 2x2 photograph. See the required photo format explained inNonimmigrant Photograph Requirements.
- All male nonimmigrant visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality and regardless of where they apply, must complete and submit a form DS-157 in addition to the Nonimmigrant Visa Application (DS-156E).
- As part of the visa application process, an interview at the embassy consular section is required for almost all visa applicants. The waiting time for an
interview appointment for applicants can vary, so early visa application is strongly encouraged. During the visa interview, a quick, two-digit, ink-free
fingerprint scan will be taken, as well as a digital photo. Some applicants will need additional screening, and will be notified when they apply.
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. The consular officer will provide the applicant with special forms for this purpose. An applicant may also be asked to provide evidence, which illustrates that the stay in the U.S. will be temporary. It is impossible to specify the exact form the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly.
U.S. Port of Entry
A visa allows a foreign citizen coming from abroad, to travel to the United States port-of entry and request permission to enter the U.S. Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials have authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you are allowed to enter the U.S., the CBP official will determine the length of your visit on the Arrival-Departure Record (Form I-94). Since Form I-94 documents your authorized stay in the U.S., it’s very important to keep in your passport. Upon arrival (at an international airport, seaport or land border crossing), you will be enrolled in the US-VISIT entry-exit program. In addition, some travelers will also need to register their entry into and their departure from the U.S. with the Special Registration program. The Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection internet site offers additional information on Admissions/Entry requirements.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal alien. Dependents are not authorized to work in the United States.