Treaty Traders and Investors (E’s)

The E categories are designated for aliens engaged in international trade or investment between the United States (U.S.) and the aliens’ countries of nationality, provided the U.S. has an appropriate treaty relationship with the foreign country.

A treaty country is a foreign state with which a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation or its equivalent with the U.S. A Treaty Country includes a foreign state that is accorded treaty visa privileges under section 101(a)(15)(e) of the INA by specific legislation. A listing of countries with whom the U.S. currently has treaties can be downloaded from the State Department’s Foreign Affairs Manual (you will need to click on 9FAM 41.51 Exhibit 1 to obtain the correct list).

E-1 Treaty Trader

The E-1 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the United States and the alien’s country of nationality. The trade involved must be international exchange (successfully negotiated contracts binding on all parties) of items of trade between the U.S. and a treaty country. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.

Requirements

  1. The application must be filed with evidence that:
    The applicant is a national of a country with whom the U.S. has the requisite treaty or agreement;
  2. The activity constitutes trade as defined at 214.2(e)(9);
    The trade is of a substantial nature, i.e. an amount of trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of trade items between the U.S. and the treaty country;
  3. The trade conducted by the alien is principally trade between the United States and the treaty country of which the alien is a national. 
  4. Trade is deemed to be principally between the U.S. and treaty country when over 50% of the volume of international trade conducted by the alien treaty trader is between the U.S. and treaty country of which the alien is a national;
  5. If the applicant is not the principal trader, that the alien is employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possesses special qualifications that make the alien’s services essential to the successful and efficient operation of the enterprise.
  6. The applicant intends to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of E-1 status. (However, an application for initial admission, change of status, or extension of stay in E classification may not be denied solely on the basis of an approved request for permanent labor certification or a filed or approved immigrant visa preference petition.)
  7. The employee has the same nationality as the principal alien employer.
  8. The alien employer is an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons having the nationality of the treaty country.

E-2 Treaty Investor

The E-2 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the United States solely to direct and develop the operations of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is actively involved in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital.

The investment involved must place lawfully acquired, owned, and controlled capital at commercial risk with a profit objective, and be subject to loss if the investment fails.

Requirements

The application must be filed with evidence that:

  1. The investor is a national of a country with whom the U.S. has the requisite treaty or agreement;
  2. The alien (or in the case of an employee of a treaty investor who seeks classification as an E-2, the owner of the treaty enterprise) will direct or develop the enterprise. The alien must demonstrate that he controls the enterprise by showing ownership of at least 50% of the enterprise, by possessing operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device or by other means;
  3. The investor has invested in or is actively in the process of investing in the enterprise;
    The investment is substantial, i.e. sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise and big enough to support the likelihood that the investor will successfully direct and develop the enterprise;
  4. The investment enterprise is not a marginal enterprise; If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in an executive or supervisory capacity, or possess skills that are highly specialized and essential to the operations of the commercial enterprise. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify. 
  5. That the applicant intends to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of E-2 stat