E-1/E-2 Visa – Treaty Traders and Investors
What is an E-1 and E-2 visa?
E category visas allow investors and businesspeople to live and conduct business in the United States for a long-term period. Investment visas fall under two categories:
- E-1 Treaty Trader visas enable foreign nationals to live in the U.S. and conduct trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
- E-2 Investor visas allow foreign nationals to direct and develop a business enterprise in which they have invested or are in the process of investing.
Investment visas are available to citizens of countries with which the U.S. has a qualifying treaty of commerce or an equivalent agreement, and generally last two years with often unlimited extensions.
Applying for an E-1 or E-2 visa
If the treaty trader or treaty investor is currently in the U.S., and they are currently on a lawful nonimmigrant status, then they may file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. This will request that their status be changed to the E-1 or E-2 classification. A qualifying employer may also file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf. A request for either classification cannot normally be made from outside the U.S. Those interested will need to refer to the U.S. department of State website for further information.
Period of Stay
Treaty traders and Investors can be allowed a maximum initial stay of two (2) years. Further extension, or changes of status, may be granted in increments of up to two years (2) each. There is no limit on the number of extensions that may be granted. However, they must maintain an intention to depart the U.S. once their status expires or is terminated.
Can my family accompany me?
Traders and Investors may bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to accompany them in the U.S. Spouse are eligible to work under certain conditions.