Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

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Overview

To qualify for Treaty Investor (E-2) visas applicants must be coming to the United States either to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. Moldova is one of these countries. For a list of all treaty countries, click here

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty investors or employees of enterprises may receive dependent E visas in order to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent. They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant to obtain an E visa.

E visas permit the investor and his or her family to live in the United States during the period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). E visas are nonimmigrant visas; consequently, visa holders are allowed to live in the United States only so long as the conditions under which the visa was granted remain valid. Dependents are not authorized to work in the U.S. unless they receive explicit authorization to do so from DHS-USCIS in the United States. Dependents of trader investors may apply for work authorization after their arrival in the United States.

Qualifications

  • The investor, either a person, partnership or a corporate entity, must have the citizenship of the treaty country. If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality;
  • The investment must be substantial and the funds have to be "irrevocably" committed. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise;
  • The investment must be in a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or mere ownership of undeveloped land are not considered an investment;
  • The investment may not be marginal. Based on 9 FAM 402.9, the enterprise must either show a financial return that significantly exceeds what is necessary to support a living for the investor or else the enterprise must have the capacity, present or future, to make a significant economic contribution; 
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in a commercial sense. If the funds are not subject to partial or total loss if business fortunes reverse, then the investment is not an investment in the sense intended by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(E) and in Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise do not qualify; 
  • The investor must be coming to the United States 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 or unskilled workers do not qualify. Please note that a detailed explanation of why the applicant's skills are essential for the enterprise in the U.S. or why the applicant possesses qualifying “executive or supervisory: experience may be required. 
  • The applicant must intend to depart the United States when his/her E-2 status ends.

How to Apply for a Visa

An E visa applicant must schedule an appointment using the online appointment system by clicking on the 'Schedule Appointment' button after logging in.

Please note that E-2 submissions which do not comply with these requirements will be rejected.

Please follow the steps below to make an appointment:

Step 1

Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 2

Pay the visa application fee. Save your receipt.

Step 3

Log in to your profile at www.ustraveldocs.com.

You need the following documents/information for requesting an appointment:

  • Your passport number;
  • The receipt number from your Moldova Agroindbank receipt. (Click here if you need help finding this number);
  • The ten (10)-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.

After entering the mandatory/necessary information, you will receive the following message: “Your request to schedule an appointment has been received and will be reviewed. You will receive an email once your request is approved.”

Step 4

Submit all business documents for review, as described below, to the Consular section any day from 15:30 to 16:00 (except for Moldovan and/or U.S. Holidays). After receiving your files, Consular Section will review the application. This process may take up to 10 business days. At the end of the review process, you will be contacted to schedule your interview.

Important: After your request was approved, log back into your profile on www.ustraveldocs.com and select “Continue” option in order to schedule the appointment (left side of the screen).

Step 5:

Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview set by the Consular Section.

You must present:

  • A printed copy of your appointment letter;
  • DS-160 Confirmation Pages for E2 visas;
  • One photograph taken within the last six months (see photo requirements);
  • Your current and all old passports;.

Supporting documents for Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

All documents should be submitted to the Consular Section two weeks before interview date. Applications should be submitted in hardcopy files, divided as follows:

Tab A (Table of Contents)

Cover letter describing the enterprise and the beneficiary. This letter should address all the requirements for E-2 visa eligibility. These, which are described in depth in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 402.9) require the applicant to show:

  • the applicant has invested or is in the process of investing;
  • the enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise;
  • the applicant's investment is substantial;
  • the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living;
  • the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possess skills essential to the firm's operations in the United States; and
  • the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates.

Tab B (Forms)

1) The confirmation page of the DS-160 (applicants are required to complete the online electronic visa application form DS-160 and submit the confirmation sheet with their application) and form DS-156E (parts 1, 2, and 3). Contact information provided on the DS-160 must include an e-mail address.

2) MRV fee proof of payment from MAIB ($205.00).

3) Please submit a letter of agreement between the investor and the representative signed by both parties and include contact email address and phone number;

If the applicant is not an investor but an employee, please include a job letter from the company. This letter should describe:

  • the business;
  • the job the applicant will do;
  • his or her qualifications for that job.

Tab C (Applicant Information)

  • A copy of the bio data page of the principal applicant's passport;
  • A copy of any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS (Form I-797);
  • A resume or curriculum vitae of the principal applicant;
  • Signed statement of intent to depart the US upon termination of status.

Tab D (Ownership)

1) Articles of Incorporation (for corporations) or Organization (for LLC's) for US business.

2) Share certificates and/or operating agreement (as applicable) to verify ownership.

  1. a) If you have a large company with several owners or subsidiaries or if the chain of ownership includes intermediary entities, please also submit the following:
  • An organogram of the full ownership structure;
  • Legal evidence of instances of ownership within that chain;
  • Color photocopies of the bio data pages of the passports of the owners of the ultimate parent company.
  1. b) If the investor is a public company with many shareholders, none of whom owns more than 50%, please also include:
  • A copy of the most recent Annual Report;
  • The Companies House Report;
  • A copy of the most recent trading information on the stock.

Tab E (Investment)

1) A complete money trail of the funds invested, including:

  • Documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, earnings, sale of business, etc.)
  • Movement of these funds to a U.S. account;
  • Use of these funds for qualifying business expenses. Please include invoices, cancelled checks, and bank statements showing matching debits (highlighted).

2) If you are buying an existing business, please provide all of the following that apply in your case:

  • A signed, dated, valid purchase agreement
  • A binding escrow agreement (see 9 FAM 402.9 for guidelines) that explicitly says where the money goes if the visa is issued, what happens when it does not, and is signed and dated by all parties. Please cross-reference exactly any relevant purchase agreement.
  • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments.
  • Evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business

3) If you are establishing a start-up, please provide all of the following that apply:

  • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments;
  • Evidence of equipment and/or inventory purchases.

4) If you are purchasing a franchise, please provide:

  • a signed and dated franchise agreement;
  • evidence of payment of the franchise fee;
  • evidence of any employees already or to be hired.

5) Investment spreadsheet. Evidence of investment is required, e.g., copies of debits from bank accounts, checks, invoices.

Tab F (Real and Operating)

  • Relevant local, state and/or federal licenses
  • Monthly bank statements for current calendar year.

Tab G (Marginality – if existing business)

  • US tax returns for business for the past three years. Taxes must include all statements and schedules. These must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.
  • All W-2 and/or 1099s for the last two tax years.
  • Profit and loss statements for the current and previous calendar years.

Start-up business should also provide:

  • A business plan that analyzes the local market and competition and gives a 5-year projection of profit and loss. Projections must be backed up by external sources;
  • A breakdown of start-up costs necessary for the business to become operational.

 

Consular officers look at each application individually and consider professional, social, cultural and other factors during adjudication. Consular officers may look at your specific intentions, family situation, and your long-range plans and prospects within your country of residence. Each case is examined individually and is accorded every consideration under the law.

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility.

Dependents/Family Members

Spouses and unmarried minor children of the principal applicant may apply for accompanying visas. Each family member must meet all other visa eligibility requirements, including evidence that they will have sufficient funds for their support. The spouse of an E visa holder may apply to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for work authorization. Children of E visa holders may not accept employment. School-age minor children may attend public schools on accompanying status.

Children under the age of 14 are NOT required to be present for the interview. If only one parent is present at the visa interview, either a notarized declaration from the other parent giving permission for the child to travel to the U.S. or an original custody agreement showing sole custody is required.

For more information about treaty investor visas, please visit the Treaty Investor page.