E Visa Treaty Countries List for Investors & Traders
Which are the E-2 countries and E-1 countries that are eligible for the US treaty investor and trader visa routes?
E visas are arguably one of the most attractive US visa classifications. They offer holders the potential to renew their status indefinitely, and the opportunity for dependants to join them in the United States.
But the qualifying criteria for the E-1 visa and E-2 visa are strict, and it will be important to ensure you meet these requirements and evidence these sufficiently within your petition.
What are E Visa Treaty countries?
One of the first requirements when assessing eligibility for the E-2 Treaty Trader and E-1 Treaty Investor visa categories is that the visa applicant must be a national of a country designated by US Congress as eligible for participation in the relevant nonimmigrant visa program. This means being on the list of E Visa Treaty countries.
E Visa Treaty countries have a treaty of commerce in place with the United States which, among other benefits, allows reciprocal nonimmigrant status for citizens.
A treaty of commerce is designed to open up trade and investment between two countries in a way that will protect both countries’ investments and trade. Expectations and requirements of the agreement will need to be adhered to, such as investing a substantial amount in the US whilst also creating jobs for US workers. These requirements are tested and safeguarded under the E visa eligibility criteria and application processes.
List of E Treaty countries
You must check whether your country of nationality has the required treaty in place before making an E visa application.
There are three E visa treaty country lists: one for E-2 countries which have only an E-2 investor treaty with the US; one for countries with only an E-1 trader treaty in place; and one for countries with both E-1 trader and E-2 investor treaties.
|E-1 & E-2 Treaty Countries
||E-2 Countries||E-1 Countries|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Bulgaria|
|China (Taiwan)||Congo (Kinshasa)|
|Korea (South)||Slovak Republic|
|Latvia||Trinidad & Tobago|
|Macedonia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY)|
The list of countries that have signed a treaty agreement with the US is extensive and subject to change. For the most up to date version, and to check whether specific conditions apply to your country (for example relating to residence in overseas territories), you should take advice before making your visa application.
The UK is on the list of E Visa Treaty countries
The UK has both E-1 and E-2 treaty status, but these only apply to British territory in Europe, the British Isles, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar and to their nationals. The British Isles excludes the Republic of Ireland. The UK Convention does not include nationals of countries that are members of the Commonwealth, other than those of the UK.
Further E visa nationality requirements
Additional, specific requirements relating to applicant nationality also apply under the E visas.
The Treaty national applicants must own and control at least 50% of the company.
Any employees of the business looking to apply under the E-2 visa must be the same nationality as their primary employer, ie of an E2 visa country.
Where there is a 50/50 split of ownership and the two owners hold different nationalities, the owners can opt to apply under either one of the E-2 countries. E-2 applicant employees can hold the same nationality of either of the two countries.
Impact of nationality on E visa duration
Your nationality will also determine the potential maximum duration of your E visa. Each Treaty country has a maximum duration for the length of time the E visa is valid for and well as the number of times they are permitted to re-enter the country on the E visa. You are advised to check the maximum duration for your nationality as this may impact your plans or the suitability of the E visa for your needs.
- UK nationals could be granted an E-2 visa for 5 years with the opportunity to re-enter the US multiple times.
- Bolivian nationals may only be granted an E-2 visa for 3 months and are unable to enter more than once.
- Danish nationals have the full 60 months available and the option to re-apply and re-enter on their E-2 and E-1 visas as long as all conditions are still being met.
- Whereas Georgia’s visas are only valid for 12 months but there is no limit on the number of times the E-2 visa can be renewed.
- UK nationals may be granted an E-1 visa for a period of 5 years and be able to re-enter the US and renew the visa for as long as the company maintains its E-1 visa status.
Note also that the Treaty between the US and UK which provides for E-2 classification requires that UK citizens reside in the UK at the time they apply for their E-2 visa. Although there is no strict formula for proving residence, factors such as maintaining a residence and a job in the UK strongly support residence has been maintained.
Applying for a US E visa
If you do qualify as a national of a treaty country, you can move on to consider the remaining visa application criteria for the E-1 visa or E-2 visa.
For example, the E-1 and E-2 visas are both nonimmigrant temporary visas which means they do not offer a route to US permanent residency.
As such, you will need to demonstrate in your application that you are retaining permanent ties to your home country, and that you intend to return there once your visa commitments have been fulfilled. This could be through lease/mortgage agreements of property or business in your home country.
Also, employees seeking to travel on an E visa will need to prove that they are either taking up an executive/supervisory role or that they have qualifications and skills that are essential to the US operations.
Looking specifically at each E visa, the requirements are that:
E2 Treaty Investor
For the E-2 investor visa, it is required that you make a substantial investment in your venture and that you will create jobs for US workers, that your venture is not ‘marginal’ and has the capacity to have a positive economic impact for the US.
Owners of E-2 companies must demonstrate that they are going to direct and develop operations in the US and have at least 50% ownership of the company.
E-1 Treaty Trader visa
A company is eligible for E-1 company registration if it is engaged in trade with the United States. You will need to demonstrate that you will be carrying out substantial trade with the US that will be of significant benefit to the country. Trade between the US and the treaty country should be the enterprise’s principal trade activity, at least 50%.
Evidence will be required to support your application such as, any purchase agreements, lease of premises, signed contracts with potential traders and profit and loss statements. You will also need to have a very detailed business plan that will need to demonstrate your projections over the next 5 years and be able to support your plan when questioned in the interview.
Nationals of a non-Treaty countries
If you are not a national of treaty country, you may wish to explore alternative entry options, depending on the nature and required duration of stay, and the prevailing US immigration rules at the time of your application. Take advice on your particular circumstances.
If you are considering the E visa category as an immigration route to the US, take advice early on to ensure you satisfy the stringent eligibility criteria, including the requirement to be a national of a Treaty investor country.
NNU Immigration specialize in US E visa applications. We can advise on all aspects of the E-1 and E-2 visa, from assessing eligibility, to support with compiling your petition and all required supporting documentation.
We can also provide specialist guidance on alternative US entry routes where required.
Contact us for advice and support on taking the next step to realizing your US business goals.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.