E-1 (Treaty Trader Visa)/ E-2 (Treaty Investor Visa)
The E visa category can be used by business owners and employees whose home country has entered into a trade or investment treaty with the U.S. To qualify for the E visa category:
- the business enterprise in the U.S. must be at least 50% owned by citizens of the treaty country;
- the foreign national must be an owner, or an essential employee holding the same nationality as the company owners; and
- the business enterprise must either be carrying on a substantial amount of trade with the U.S. (E-1 category), or the business enterprise must be making a substantial cash investment in the U.S. (E-2 category).
Countries with treaties conferring either E-1 or E-2 status are:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China (Taiwan only) Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.
Countries with treaties conferring only E-1 (treaty-trader status) are:
Brunei, Denmark, Greece, and Israel.
Countries with treaties conferring only E-2 (treaty-investor status) are:
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Congo, Czech Rep., Ecuador, Egypt, Georgia, Grenada, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kygyzstan, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Panama, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Slovak Republic, Sri Lanka, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, and the Ukraine.
Obtaining an E visa can be a one-step process at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Unlike other work visas, a petition does not first need to be made to the INS. A qualifying foreign national can submit an application directly to the Embassy.
An E visa can be granted for an initial period of two years, and can be extended almost indefinitely. Spouses of E visa holders can obtain work authorization to work for any employer in the U.S.