Treaties between the United States and many countries allow foreign nationals to come to the United States to conduct trade or to manage substantial investments. There is no minimum investment amount required. The law only requires that the investor show sufficient funds to make the business as described in the business plan function. If you qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa it can be a practical work visa solution permitting long term U.S. employment without the commitment to U.S. Permanent Residence.

Who Qualifies for the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa?

Visa A person may be issued an E-1 Treaty Trader if:

  • The individual or the firm has the nationality of the treaty country (at least national of the treaty country must own half of the company).
  • There must be substantial trade(more than 50 percent) between the U.S. and the country of nationality. Trade includes the exchange, purchase or sale of the goods or services or the transfer of technology.
  • The individual is either the principal trader who is coming it the U.S. to engage in substantial trade, or an executive, manager or employee with special skill essential to the company.
  • Who Qualifies for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

    A person may be issued en E-2 Treaty Investor visa if:

  • The individual or firm has the nationality of the treaty country (at least nationals of the treaty country must own half of the company).
  • The individual or the company has made or is in the process of making a substantial investment (generally in excess of $80,000 or $100,000 at risk) in a business in the United States.
  • The individual is either the principal investor who will direct and develop the enterprise, or an executive, manager or employee with special skills essential to the company.
  • The investment is not meant to merely provide income to the investor (i.e., the investment should create some U.S. jobs).
  • How Long Can E Visa Holder remain in the United States?

    If the U.S. business is a new enterprise with no business history, the E visa will usually be issued for a one year period, but may be issued for up to five years. The E visa can be extended indefinitely so long as the business continues to function inside the United States. In fact, we have seen clients entering their eleventh year in E status.

    What About Spouses and Dependent Children?

    Spouses and dependent children under the age of twenty-one may obtain dependent E visas. One excellent benefit of this visa category, is that spouses can obtain an Employment Authorization Document or EAD Card valid for work with any U.S. employer.

    Countries with Treaties for E- 1 Visa, updated August 2012.

    In order to benefit from the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa, you must be a national of one of the following countries:

    Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Republic of), Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

    In order to benefit from the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa, you must be a national of one of the following countries:

    Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwan), Chile, Colombia, Congo (Brazzaville & Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia FRY, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.

    While we try to keep these lists updated, the designated countries are always subject to change. Click here for the Department of States current list:


    While the E-1 and E-2 visas do not lead directly to U.S. Permanent Residence, it is possible to apply via a parallel employment based U.S. Permanent Residence process, see our page discussing the Employment Based Permanent Residence process and or the EB-5 Investor Immigrant Visa option, the fastest track to U.S. Permanent Residence.