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Treaty Trader or Treaty Investor
35 MINUTE READ
August 19, 2022

Introduction

Treaty Trader visas (E-1) and Treaty Investor visas (E-2) are non-immigrant visas for nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation who wish to go to the United States for one of two purposes: to carry out substantial trade, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1); or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital (E-2).

The Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor visas were established to facilitate and enhance economic interaction between the United States and other countries.  U.S. immigration law explicitly states that E-1 visa holders must enter “solely to carry on substantial trade” and E-2 holders “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise” in which he or she has invested. Moreover, these visas are non-immigrant visas and thus are temporary. Treaty trader/investor 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. Persons wishing to remain indefinitely in the United States should apply for the appropriate immigrant visa.

Application instructions are below for first time E-company applications and for applications of employees of a previously vetted E-company, E-visa renewals, dependents/spouse of an E-visa employee

Additional information about E visas is available at the Department of State’s website here.

 

Application instructions for a first time Treaty Trader (E1) or Investor (E2) visa company

How to Apply

  1. Prepare your E visa application using the instructions and document checklist below.
  2. Complete a  DS-160 application form 
  3. Log on to http://usvisa-info.com/and follow the online instructions to pay the visa fee.
  4. Courier/mail/email your application to the E Visa Unit.  Our office highly recommends the email option. Given the long possible processing times, please do not submit your passport unless requested to do so by our office.
    • Courier – Use the directions on http://usvisa-info.com/
    • Mail – E Visa Unit, U.S. Embassy Dublin, 42 Elgin Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
    • Email:  E1-E2visasdublin@state.gov
      1. Subject Line:  “Surname, Given Name, Business Name, Type of E Visa (E1/E2)”
      2. Only MS Word document or .PDF files are accepted
      3. Files should be no larger than 3MB
      4. Can send application via multiple emails or attachments
  5. Receive autoreply confirmation of receipt of application from the E visa unit.
  6. The E visa unit will contact you when your application review is complete; you can then schedule an interview.

Preparing the E Visa Application

The maximum size of any E visa application is 80 (40 double-sided) pages.  Oversized applications are not accepted.  Do not include brochures, photographs, or business plans that do not contribute to the value of your application.  The E visa unit evaluates dozens of applications a month.  Please think lean, and submit only what is necessary to establish qualifications.

Tips to establishing E Visa qualification:

  • Lengthy applications take longer to read and contribute to longer processing times.
  • Pages of hotel and airline booking receipts add no value.
  • Stacks of bank statements that do not identify which entries are relevant as costs or earnings also add no value.
  • Avoid jargon and buzzwords.  Explain your trade or investment in clear, simple language.  Remember, the E Visa Unit may not be familiar with your particular industry.
  • Clearly explain the investment.  Provide an accounting for the amount invested with detail, and provide evidence.
  • Clearly identify the source of the funds for your investment.
  • Do not submit documents that are not germane to E visa qualification.  For example, there is no need to establish that Ireland has a qualifying treaty.

The following documents do not count towards the 80-page limit: forms DS-160, DS-156E, G-28, appointment confirmation, civil documents, copy of passport bio-page, tabs/dividers.  All submissions for new cases or renewals should be organized into sections comprised of the following documentation:

  1. Confirmation of payment of the visa fee.
  2. DS-160 form confirmation page for all applicants and dependents.
  3. Form DS-156E (PDF 92KB) signed by an officer legally empowered to act in the company’s name.
  4. If your photograph could not be uploaded online to your DS-160 application form, please provide one 5 x 5 cm color photograph taken within the last six months for each applicant, requirements can be found here.
  5. A cover letter summarizing the requirements for an E-visa and how the applicant(s) fulfill(s) them. State exactly and precisely how the enterprise and applicant qualify. Please do not include lengthy citations from the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) or the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).
  6. Comprehensive Index/Table of Contents.
  7. For each dependent, if applicable: A copy of civil documents establishing the relationship between the principal applicant and any dependents (spouse or child under age 21), e.g. government issued birth and/or marriage certificates, adoption papers, etc. At the interview, we will require the original civil documents. Notarized copies, religious documents, hospital records, and short form birth certificates that do not show parentage do not satisfy this requirement.
  8. Supporting documentation as outlined in the Document Checklist below.

Document Checklist

Supporting documentation must be bound with sections clearly delineated by dividers with tabs. If there are more than two documents under one of the numbered tabs, please subdivide the numbered sections into lettered subsections with tabs. Organized submissions ensure an efficient review of an applicant’s case and reduce the need for clarification that may delay processing.

The following is a list of suggested documentation in the order in which it should be indexed. Additional documents may be requested depending on the circumstances of the case.

I. E-1 and E-2 Proof of Nationality of Investor or Applicant

  • Photocopy of passport biographical page

II. E-1 and E-2 Ownership Documents (either A, B or C):

  • Sole Proprietorship:
    • Business registration documents
  • Partnership:
    • Partnership or joint venture agreement
    • Shares/stock certificates indicating total shares issued and outstanding shares
  • Corporation:
    • Shares/stock certificates indicating distribution of ownership, i.e. shares held by each firm and shares held by individual owners
    • Corporate matrix
    • If publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, enclose a sample of recently published stock quotations

III. E-1 Trade

  • Purchase orders
  • Bills of lading
  • Sales contracts/contracts for services
  • Letters of credit
  • Carrier inventories
  • Trade brochures
  • Insurance papers documenting commodities imported into the U.S.
  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable ledgers
  • Client lists
  • Other documents showing international trade is substantial and that at least 51% of the trade is between U.S. and the treaty country. Documents should also show that trade supports an ongoing business entity in the treaty country.

IV. E-2 Investment

  • For an Existing Enterprise: (show purchase price)
    • Tax valuation
    • Market appraisal
  • For a New Enterprise: (show estimated start-up cost)
    • Trade Association Statistics
    • Chamber of Commerce Estimates
    • Market Surveys
  • Source of Investment:
    • Personal statement of net worth prepared by a certified accountant
    • Transactions showing payment of sold property or business (proof of property ownership and promissory notes) and rental income (lease agreements)
    • Voided investment certificates or internal bank vouchers and appropriate bank statement crediting proceeds
    • Debit and credit advices for personal and/or business account withdrawals
    • Audited financial statement
    • Annual report of parent company
  • Evidence of Investment
  • Existing Enterprise:
    • Escrow documents
    • Signed purchase/sales agreement
    • Closing and settlement papers
    • Loan or mortgage documents
    • Promissory notes
    • Financial reports
    • Tax returns
    • Security agreements
    • Assumption of lease agreement
    • Business account statement for routine operations
  • New Enterprise:
    • Inventory listing, shipment invoices of inventory, equipment or business related property
    • Receipts for inventory purchases
    • Canceled checks or official payment receipts for expenditures
    • Canceled check for first month’s rent or full annual advance rent payment
    • Lease agreement
    • Purchase orders
    • Improvement expenses
    • Initial business accounts statements
    • Wire transfer receipts

V. E-2 Marginality

  • For Existing Business
    • S. corporate tax returns
    • Latest audited financial statement or non-review statements
    • Annual reports
    • Payroll register
    • W-2 and W-4 tax forms
    • Canceled checks for salaries paid and/or corresponding payroll account
  • For New Business
    • Payroll register, records of salaries paid to employees (if any), employee data including names, rates of pay, copies of W-2s
    • Financial projections for next 5 years, supported by a complete and thorough business plan
    • Business income and current corporate tax returns
    • Proof of registration, ownership, audited financial and review engagements

VI. E-2 Real & Operating Commercial Enterprise

  • Occupational license
  • Business License/business permits
  • Sales tax receipt
  • Utility/telephone bills
  • Business transaction records
  • Current/commercial account statements
  • Letters of credit
  • Invoices from suppliers
  • Advertising leaflets
  • Business brochures/promotional literature
  • Newspaper clippings

VII. E-1 and E-2 Executive/Managerial/Supervisory/Essential Skills

  • Letter from the E-visa enterprise providing specific information on the applicant and the reasons for his/her assignment to the U.S. The letter should explain the employee’s role in the E-visa company (job title and duties), the applicant’s executive or supervisory responsibilities or, if not a supervisor, his/her specialist role, the level of education and knowledge required by the employee’s position, his/her employment experience, progression of promotion or high level training or special qualifications and the reasons why a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident cannot fill the position (if the position is not managerial or supervisory).
  • Letter from responsible official at U.S. Company or office identifying the need for assigned employee.
  • Organizational chart showing current staffing pattern at U.S. Company.
  • Evidence of executive, supervisory or specialized knowledge, education, experience, skills or training, such as certificates, diplomas or transcripts.

Employee Visas for a previously vetted E company/E Visa Renewals/Spouse/Dependents of current E Visa Holders

Applying for an E Visa

To begin the process, create an account on www.usvisa-info.com and enter your visa category.  Once you pay the fee online, you will see the message “Send Documents.”  There are 4 different types of E visa interviews:

1. This is your first E Visa and you are not applying with a vetted company: you or your company will need to submit additional documentation to become a registered E Visa Company.  Full instructions to build an E Visa package are above.

2. You are renewing your E Visa – Please provide the following documentation:

  • Visa Fee Receipt
  • DS-160 application form confirmation page
  • Completed DS-156E form (PDF 92KB)
  • A detailed resume or CV
  • Full corporate tax returns for the last two years, including all schedules and forms
  • G-28 Form (PDF 351KB) if represented by an attorney
  • Electronically submit your E visa renewal using the instructions below.

3. You are applying for your first E visa as an essential/specialized or managerial employee for a previously vetted E Visa Company: Please provide the following documentation:

  • Visa Fee Receipt
  • DS-160 application form confirmation page
  • Completed DS-156E form (PDF 92KB)
  • A detailed resume or CV
  • A photocopy of the biographic page of your passport
  • G-28 Form (PDF 351KB) if represented by an attorney
  • A letter from the company describing the beneficiary’s qualifications and role with the company in the United States – no more than 2 pages.
  • Electronically submit your E Visa Application using the directions below.

4. You are a dependent/spouse of an E-1/E-2 visa holder: Please provide the following documentation:

  • Visa Fee Receipt
  • DS-160 application form confirmation page
  • Copy of marriage certificate, birth certificates for children (Please bring originals to the interview). Include an official English translation if not in English.
  • Photocopy of principal applicant’s visa if already approved
  • Electronically submit your E Visa Application using the directions below.

Please note that the spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of E visa holders may apply for an E visa.

Submitting an E Visa Application:

Submit your application to: E1-E2visasdublin@state.gov

Use the subject line: “Surname, Given Name, Business Name, Type of E Visa (E1/E2)”

Attach your application as a Word Document or .pdf form, limiting email size to no more than 3MB.  You may send multiple attachments, or multiple messages if required.  Do not send “linked” or “zipped” files, as we cannot access or open these.

You will receive an automatic email confirmation that your application has been received and accepted.

No application should exceed 14 pages (7 double sided).

Electronic submission is the only acceptable method for these E Visa applications.  If your case requires additional documentation, we will contact you (or your attorney) via email and ask you to bring these documents to your interview or email them prior to the interview.

Case review begins upon receipt of a complete and correct application.  Incomplete applications will delay processing.  Please do not submit documents other than those requested above, unless requested to do so by the Visa Unit.  If, after the interview, the case requires additional documentation, you will receive guidance from the Visa Unit on what to submit and by what method.  You have a maximum of 30 days to provide the missing documentation.  Cases will not be held longer than 30 days.

After your application has been reviewed you will receive notification to schedule an appointment.  In all cases, please bring the following:

  1. Your valid passport
  2. DS-160 application form confirmation page
  3. Completed DS-156E form (PDF 92KB)
  4. One 5cm x 5cm sized photograph, taken within the last six months for each applicant, requirements can be found here
  5. Your current resume or CV

If your visa is approved, case processing can take an additional 5 business days until your passport is turned over to our courier for delivery to the courier office you selected or other address if you have paid for home/office delivery.  All applicants should factor this time into their travel schedule.

The Visa Unit recommends that all visa applicants NOT make non-refundable travel plans prior to the return of their passport.  No guarantee of visa issuance can be made prior to the visa interview.

Note for E Visa Renewals:  E visa applicants who have changed status to E from some other category must follow the directions for First Time Applicants.  U.S. immigration laws require that the Visa Unit assess all E visa applications for compliance with immigration regulations, even if the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has approved a change of status.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • I own a house in the United States. Does this qualify as an investment and entitle me to an E-2 visa?   No.  Owning property in the United States does not entitle you to a visa.  To qualify for an E-2 visa the investment must be a real active and commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking, producing some service or commodity.

 

  • Can I retire to the United States on an E-visa?  No.  The E visa is a work visa, specifically intended for those who are coming to the U.S. to “solely carry on substantial trade” or “solely to develop and direct the operations of the enterprise”.  Eligibility ceases when you no longer meet these requirements.

 

  • Does an E-visa lead to a “green card” or U.S. citizenship?  An E visa is a non-immigrant visa and does not lead to either a “green card” or “citizenship”.  You may remain in the U.S. only as long as your business conforms to the E visa regulations.  Applicants who wish to become US citizens must apply for the appropriate immigrant visa category.

 

  • How much money do I need to invest? There is no minimum money requirement; however the investment must be substantial in relation to the total cost of either purchasing an established business or creating a new business. It must also be sufficient to ensure the investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise.

 

  • Do I need to have the money invested before I apply for the visa? Yes. The E-2 visa regulations state that the funds or assets must be committed to the enterprise and the commitments must be real and irrevocable.  Funds can be considered “irrevocably committed” if they are held in an escrow account for release of transfer contingent on the issuance of an E visa. Mere intent to invest or possession of uncommitted funds on a bank account, or even prospective investment arrangements entailing no present commitment will not suffice.

 

  • How can I start a business without an E-visa? Subject to admission by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, you may enter the U.S.  in B-1 (temporary business) visa status in order to set up (not run) your business.  You may not be paid in the U.S. while in B-1 status.  If required, you may hire individuals (who are properly documented to work in the U.S.)  to manage and run daily operations prior to receiving your visa.   Once you have the initial commitments completed you may apply for your E-visa.

 

  • Can my spouse and children work in the U.S.? Effective January 16, 2002, dependent spouses of E visa holders are eligible to apply for work authorization from the Citizenship and Immigrant Service.  Children of E visa holders are not permitted to work in the United States unless they have independently qualified for employment authorization.

 

  • Can my fiancé(e) or common law spouse accompany me? Under U.S. Immigration law, a legal marriage must exist to be considered as a spouse.  Therefore, fiancé(e)s and common law spouses do not qualify for derivative E visas.

 

  • Do my children need to be present at interview? Children under 14 do not need to attend.  They must, however, be in Ireland when their visas are issued.  Applicants maybe advised to provide evidence of physical presence.

 

  • Can anyone apply for an E-visa at the U.S. Embassy in Ireland? You may do so if you are a resident of Ireland, domicile in the state or are a landed immigrant from a qualifying treaty country.  You will be asked for evidence of your residency.  Please note British passport holders who are resident in Ireland may not be eligible.  The Convention, which entered into force on July 3, 1815, applies only to British territory in Europe (the British Isles (except the Republic of Ireland), the Channel Islands and Gibraltar) and to “inhabitants” of such territory.  This term, as used in the Convention, means “one who resides actually and permanently in a given place, and has his domicile there”.