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E-1/E-2 Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors

E-1/E-2 Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors


Nationals of countries that have signed commercial treaties with the U.S. may apply for a non-immigrant visa under the E-1 Treaty Trader or E-2 Treaty Investor visa categories. Applicants must be engaged in certain trade or investment between the U.S. and the applicant's treaty country.

Some countries that have signed a commercial treaty with the U.S. are eligible for one type of E visa but not the other. The treaty between Israel and the U.S., effective April 3, 1954, enables eligible nationals of Israel to apply for an E-1 Treaty Trader visa. Israeli nationals are not, however, eligible to apply for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa at this time.

The E classification is divided into two categories: the E-1 Treaty Trader and the E-2 Treaty Investor. The process for each is virtually the same but eligibility differs between the two types of E visa. Unlike other non-immigrant visas, there are no numerical limitations on the provision of E-1/E-2 visas.

Information about countries that have signed treaties of commerce and navigation with the U.S., as well as effective dates of the treaties, can be found on the State Department's website using the following link: http://travel.state.gov/visa/frvi/reciprocity/reciprocity_3726.html.

E-1 - Treaty Traders

E-1 applicants must be able to show that they are coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade that is principally between the United States and the applicant's treaty country.

"Trade" means the international exchange of existing goods, services, or technology, with title of the trade items passing from one party to the other party. "Substantial" means there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade with more than half of the trade activity involved between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality.

The applicant must be a national of a treaty country and the trading firm employing the applicant must also have the same nationality. Generally, these visas are awarded only to applicants employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or those with skills and experience essential to the business' successful operation.

Example:
Secure Ltd. is an Israeli software company located in Rehovot, Israel, that develops software systems for banking operations. Over the last two years, the Israeli software company expanded its operations into the U.S., signed contracts with American banks and other American financial institutions. In order to expand its marketing and sales activities in the U.S., Secure established a subsidiary in New Jersey. The subsidiary is principally engaged in trade in technology, and providing technical support and training in the U.S. Therefore, the principal company and its subsidiary are eligible to transfer employees to the U.S. through an E-1 visa.


E-2 - Treaty Investors

E-2 applicants must be able to show that they are coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.

"Invested/Investing" means that the investor's money is "at risk" in the commercial sense and does not consist of loans secured with company assets. Uncommitted funds in a bank account, undeveloped land or stocks, or a non-for profit organization will not be taken into consideration as part of the investment. The investment must generate significant income or have a significant economic impact in the U.S. "Substantial" means that the capital is sufficient to allow the enterprise to be successful.

E-2 applicants can be the investor, or an employee of the individual or company that is making the investment. Generally, these visas are awarded only to applicants employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or those with skills and experience essential to the business' successful operation. The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.

* * * * *
Statutory authorization for these types of non-immigrant visas can be found in Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act at the following link:
http://www.uscis.gov/propub/ProPubVAP.jsp?dockey=c9fef57852dc066cfe16a4cb816838a4.
The requirements are further detailed in 22 CFR § 41.51, and available at: http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2008/aprqtr/pdf/22cfr41.51.pdf.

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