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E Visa: Treaty Traders E-1 & Treaty Investors E-2

What is an E-1/E-2 visa?

Treaty trader (E-1) and treaty investor (E-2) is available for certain foreign nationals of countries who have Treaties of Commerce and Navigation, or a bilateral investment treaty with the U.S. It is especially useful for business owners, principal investors, managers and employees who remain in the U.S. for extended lengths of time.



In order for a foreign national to be eligible for the E visa, the following factors apply: (1) a treaty must exist between the U.S. and the foreign national’s country of origin, and (2) majority ownership or control of the investing or trading company must be held by nationals of the same country as the foreign national slated to work in the U.S. The E visa category is unique from most since the application for the company registration and individual visa is usually initially filed with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate at the country where the treaty company is located instead of with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Both E-1 and E-2 visa holders can be transferred to the U.S. in either a (1) managerial or (2) special/technical skills level position. The length of the visa stamp would depend on the length of the Treaty the U.S. has with the participating country. Whether the sponsoring company has the qualifying trade or investment required for the E visa is an in-depth discussion beyond the scope of this article. Once approved, an E-1 or E-2 visa holder is granted a two-year period for entry to the U.S. that can be renewed. Spousal dependents of E-1 and E-2 visa holders can work in the U.S. with authorization from USCIS.

  • E-1 Special requirements for E-1 traders include the trading company must be engaged in trade; the trade must be “substantial,” and the trade must be principally (more than 50%) between the U.S. and the Treaty country.
  • E-2: Special requirements for E-2 investors include at least 50% ownership of the investing company by nationals of the treaty country. The investment must be an active, irrevocable commitment of funds; the investment must be “substantial,” ideally creating jobs for U.S. workers, and not merely sustain the foreign national and immediate family.


Over the years, we have assisted many clients in both the E-1 and E-2 visa categories at the company registration level and individual visa stage at various consular posts around the world, including but not limited to Canada, the Czech Republic, Denmark,  Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden and the United Kingdom.