Treaty Trader & Treaty Investor


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The Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa is for citizens of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who wishes to travel to the United States to:

  • Carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country.
  • Develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the citizen has invested.
  • Invest a substantial amount of capital.

For a list of participating countries, click here.

A treaty investor/trader visa is not a substitute for an immigrant visa. Persons wishing to remain in the United States indefinitely should apply for immigrant visas. Treaty investor/trader visas can be renewed or extended only if the investment or trade continues to meet all applicable requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations.

How to Apply

Step 1

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

Principal applicants must also fill out and print a DS-156E Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Investor application form.

Step 2

Pay the visa application fee.

Step 3

Schedule your appointment on this web page. You need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • The CGI reference number you wrote in the passport number field on you bank receipt. (Click here if you need help finding this number.)
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
Step 4

Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months and your current and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

Supporting Documents

Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa applicants must establish that the trading enterprise or investment enterprise meets the requirements of the law and complies with the many requirements for the E visa category. The consular officer may provide you with special forms to complete for this purpose. You should expect that the consular officer will request additional documentation to determine your eligibility for a treaty trader or treaty investor visa. It is impossible to specify the exact documentation required since circumstances vary greatly by applicant. For detailed requirements for this category, review 9 Foreign Affairs Manual 402.9 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor.

In addition to these items, you must present an interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service. You may also bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.

Caution: Do not present false documents. Fraud or misrepresentation can result in permanent visa ineligibility. If confidentiality is a concern, you should bring your documents to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in a sealed envelope. The U.S. Embassy or Consulate will not make your information available to anyone and will respect the confidentiality of your information.

Qualifications for Treaty Trader (E-1)

  • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country.
  • 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 applicant’s nationality.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • 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 qualify.
  • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates.

Qualifications for Treaty Investor (E-2)

  • 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 U.S.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates.

Spouses and Children of E-visa Holders

  • Derivative applicants applying separately from the principal E visa applicant need not submit any materials in advance. These applicants should bring a copy of the principal applicant’s approved visa and hard copies of documents listed below to their visa appointment.
  • Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 can receive derivative E visas to accompany the employee to the United States.
  • Spouses and children under the age of 21 need to establish a relationship to the principle applicant by providing a certified marriage certificate, birth certificate and/or other similar documents.
  • Spouses or children applying after the principal applicant has obtained an E-visa must submit proof of the principal’s current immigration status in the United States, including documentation on any change of status, and proof that the principal applicant is still employed with the company by showing recent pay stubs, tax returns, etc.
  • Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the primary visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible for visitor (B-2) visas.
  • There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an E visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the United States. They may study on a derivative E visa. However, if qualified, they may apply for an F-1 visa. If you have school-age children, you should refer to the regulations governing the issuance of F-1 visas.
  • Spouses may seek employment authorization on derivative E visas. For additional information, please contact USCIS after arrival in the United States.

More Information

For more information about E visas, visit the Department of State's Treaty and Investor Visas webpage.