Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

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Overview

 

May 25, 2016: We have updated our submission requirements. Please review all requirements on this page to ensure your packet is correct. As of July 1, 2016, all applications that do not meet these requirements will be returned and their appointments cancelled. If your appointment is cancelled, you may schedule a new appointment and submit a packet that meets the requirements below.

January 1, 2016: As of Jan 1, 2016, we ONLY accept on-line applications submitted electronically via e-mail at SeoulNIVEVisa@state.gov.  Please note that you are required to indicate the applicant’s name (in English) and dob in the subject of your email.

 

Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. South Korea is one of these countries. For a list of all treaty countries, click here.  

To qualify for Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas applicants must be coming to the United States either to engage in substantial trade, including trade in service or technology, in qualifying activities, which is principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. Holders of E visas must intend to depart the United States upon the termination of their E status.

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty traders, treaty investors, or employees of enterprises may receive dependent E visas in order to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent. They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant to obtain an E visa.

E visas permit the investor/trader and his or her family to live in the United States during the period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). E visas are nonimmigrant visas; consequently, visa holders are allowed to live in the United States only so long as the conditions under which the visa was granted remain valid. Dependents are not authorized to work in the U.S. unless they receive explicit authorization to do so from DHS-USCIS in the United States. Dependents of treaty traders/investors may apply for work authorization after their arrival in the United States.

Qualifications for a Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country;
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the United States must have the nationality of the treaty country, meaning persons with the treaty country’s nationality must own at least 50 percent of the enterprise;
  • The international trade must be "substantial". There must be a sizeable and continuing volume of trade (trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology). Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other;

  • The trade of the U.S. enterprise must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country. More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality;

  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skill essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify. Please note that a detailed explanation of why the applicant's skills are essential for the enterprise in the U.S. may be required.

  • The applicant must intend to depart the U.S. when his/her E-1 status ends.

Qualifications for a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

  • The investor, either a person, partnership or a corporate entity, must have the citizenship of the treaty country. If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality;
  • The investment must be substantial and the funds have to be "irrevocably" committed. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise..;

  • The investment must be in a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or mere ownership of undeveloped land are not considered an investment.;

  • The investment may not be marginal. Based on 9 FAM 402.9, the enterprise must either show a financial return that significantly exceeds what is necessary to support a living for the investor or else the enterprise must have the capacity, present or future, to make a significant economic contribution;

  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in a commercial sense. If the funds are not subject to partial or total loss if business fortunes reverse, then the investment is not an investment in the sense intended by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(E) and in 9 Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) 402.9. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise do not qualify. ;

  • The investor must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify. Please note that a detailed explanation of why the applicant's skills are essential for the enterprise in the U.S. or why the applicant possesses qualifying “executive or supervisory: experience may be required.

  • The applicant must intend to depart the U.S. when his/her E-2 status ends.

How to Apply for a Visa

Beginning July 1, 2016, you may submit no more than 200 pages of supporting documents.  Supporting documents must be scanned as PDFs with each file named according to the tab in the left column of the E-1 requirements or E-2 requirements table below.

Example: for an E-1, you must submit 7 files, named Tab A – Cover Letter, Tab B – Application Information, etc. For an E-2, you must submit 8 files, named Tab A – Cover Letter, Tab B – Applicant Information, etc.

Applications with incorrectly named files, excess files, or more than 200 pages will be returned and your appointment will be cancelled.  Once you have correctly formatted your supporting documents, you may schedule another appointment.  Note, the 200 page requirement is the sum of all pages in the package; it is not a per file limitation.

Support Document Packet Checklist
1. Sum of all pages is 200 or less
2. One PDF file per tab listed in the “Required Supporting Documents” tab below
3. Each PDF file is named according to its tab

The U.S. Embassy will only review your application if you have a scheduled appointment and paid the visa fee.  Please follow these steps below to make an appointment:

Step 1
Complete online the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.

Step 2
Pay the visa application fee. Save your receipt.

Step 3
Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need the following information:

  • Your passport number
  • The “Unique Beneficiary Account Number” that you use to make EFT payment or the "Transaction Reference Number" appearing on your Citibank receipt. (Click here if you need help finding either of these numbers.)
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Step 4 
Click on the appropriate button below to see what supporting documents you must prepare:

Required Supporting Documents for TREATY TRADER (E-1) VISA

Required Supporting Documents for TREATY INVESTOR (E-2) VISA

Required Supporting Documents for DEPENDENTS

IMPORTANT: You must submit your supporting documentation to our office by e-mail within five (5) business days after scheduling your interview.  If we do not receive your documents in time, your appointment will be canceled and must be rescheduled online to a later date.  Thank you for your understanding.

E-mail your supporting documents:  SeoulNIVEVisa@state.gov   

Please note that you are required to indicate applicant's name (in English) and D.O.B in the subject of your email.

Step 5 
Come to the U.S. Embassy for your visa interview about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Please bring the following items to your visa interview: 

  • Appointment Confirmation Page, including the barcode page.
  • One 5X5 cm photo on a white background for each applicant, taken within the last 6 months.
  • Current and old passports for each applicant.

The Embassy is not responsible if you miss your appointment. You will be asked to re-apply.

Children below age 14 do not have to accompany their parents to the Embassy for an interview, but they must be physically present in Korea on the date of their family’s scheduled appointment.

Your passports will be returned by Ilyang Logis courier service, usually within five business days after the visa interview. Applicants should not make unchangeable travel or business plans until their visas have been issued.

Required Supporting Documents for Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa

Beginning July 1, 2016, you may submit no more than 200 pages of supporting documents.  Supporting documents must be scanned as PDFs with each file named according to the tab in the left column of the E-1 requirements table below.

Example: for an E-1, you must submit 7 files, named Tab A – Cover Letter, Tab B – Application Information, etc.

Applications with incorrectly named files, excess files, or more than 200 pages will be returned and your appointment will be cancelled.  Once you have correctly formatted your supporting documents, you may schedule another appointment.  Note, the 200 page requirement is the sum of all pages in the package; it is not a per file limitation.

Support Document Packet Checklist
1. Sum of all pages is 200 or less
2. One PDF file per tab listed in the “Required Supporting Documents” tab below
3. Each PDF file is named according to its tab 

Tab A:

Cover Letter

1.Printed copy of your appointment letter.

2.Cover letter describing the enterprise, beneficiary, and the requirements for E-1 visa eligibility:

  • Company is at least 50% Korean-owned, 9 FAM 402.9-4(B),
  • Trade is substantial as defined in 9 FAM 402.9-5(C),
  • Trade is occurring principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, 9 FAM 402.9-5(D), and
  • The Applicant, if an employee, will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations,9 FAM 402.9-7(B) (C).
  • Applicant's unequivocal intent to depart United States when E status ends.

Tab B:

Applicant Information

3. Confirmation page from the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160.

4. Signed DS-156E Treaty Trader/Investor Visa Application Form

5. Applicant’s resumé, diplomas, and job training certificates.

6. Company organization chart showing Applicant’s position, direct subordinates, and person being replaced.

7. If Applicant has been working in the USA, IRS Form 1040 (pages 1 & 2), and W-2 for the two most recent fiscal years.

8. Copy of passport biographical page of each applicant.

9. Copies of all prior U.S. visas and Change of Status approvals (Form I-797).

Tab C:

Korean Certificates

10. Immigration Entry and Exit Certificate (출입국 사실 증명서) for each person.

11. Certificate of Family Relationship (가족관계증명서) (one copy per family).  Adoption Certificate (입양관계증명서), if applicable.

12. Certificate of Marital Status (결혼관계증명서) for each person.

Each of these certificates must be issued within one month of the application date.

Tab D:

Ownership

13. Proof of treaty country ownership (at least 50%) and controlling interest in the enterprise:

  • For Corporations: Articles of incorporation, stock certificates, stock ledger.
  • For Private Companies: Articles of organization, State registration of ownership.
  • For Branch Office: Certificate of Authority, Certificate of Qualification

Tab E:

Substantial

Trade A

14. Evidence of substantial trade as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-5(C):

  • IRS Form 941: Pages 1 & 2 for the four most recent fiscal quarters.
  • State wage records (e.g., California DE-9C) for the four most recent fiscal quarters.
  • If the enterprise has existed less than one year, provide sales invoices, sales contracts, and bills of lading.
  • If the enterprise has existed more than one year, provide tax documents for the three most recent fiscal years:                                                                                o Corporation:  IRS Form 1120 (pages 1 & 2).
    o Foreign Corporation:  IRS Form 1120-F (pages 1 to 3).
    o LLC:   IRS Form 1065 (pages 1 to 5).
    o Private Ownership:  IRS Form 1040 + Schedule C (pages 1 & 2).
  • If the enterprise is a branch office, provide the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) record showing trade volumes of the Korean parent company

Tab F:

Substantial

Trade B

15. Evidence that trade is principally between the USA and Korea as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-5(D):

  • U.S. customs invoices and purchase receipts,
  • Certified public accountant letter detailing percentage breakdown of company trade between:
    o Any Korean company / U.S. company,
    o Korean parent company / other countries, and
    o U.S. company / other countries.

Tab G:

Attorney Form

16. If represented by an attorney, submit form G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney as Representative" and include contact e-mail & phone number.

Required Supporting Documents for Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

Beginning July 1, 2016, you may submit no more than 200 pages of supporting documents.  Supporting documents must be scanned as PDFs with each file named according to the tab in the left column of the E-2 requirements table below.

Example: For an E-2, you must submit 8 files, named Tab A – Cover Letter, Tab B – Applicant Information, etc.

Applications with incorrectly named files, excess files, or more than 200 pages will be returned and your appointment will be cancelled.  Once you have correctly formatted your supporting documents, you may schedule another appointment.  Note, the 200 page requirement is the sum of all pages in the package; it is not a per file limitation.

Support Document Packet Checklist
1. Sum of all pages is 200 or less
2. One PDF file per tab listed in the “Required Supporting Documents” tab below
3. Each PDF file is named according to its tab  

Tab A:

Cover Letter

1.Printed copy of your appointment letter.

2.Cover letter describing the company, Applicant’s position, and E-2 visa eligibility requirements:

  • Company is at least 50% Korean-owned, 9FAM 402.9-4(B),
  • Investor has invested or is actively in the process of investing, as per 9FAM 402.9-6(B)
  • Enterprise is currently running or will open its doors imminently, 9FAM 402.9-6(C),
  • Investment is substantial, 9FAM 402-9-6(D),
  • Investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living, 9FAM 402.9-6(E),
  • Applicant is in position to "develop and direct" the enterprise, 9FAM 402.9-6(F),
  • Applicant will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations (9FAM 402.9-7 (B) (C)),
  • Applicant’s unequivocal intent to depart United States when E status ends.

Tab B:

Applicant Information

3. Confirmation page from the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160.

4. Signed DS-156E Treaty Trader/Investor Visa Application Form

5. Applicant’s resumé, diplomas, and job training certificates.

6. Company organization chart showing Applicant’s position, direct subordinates, and person being replaced.

7. If Applicant has been working in the USA, IRS Form 1040 (pages 1 & 2), and W-2 for the two most recent fiscal years.

8. Copy of passport biographical page of each applicant.

9. Copies of all prior U.S. visas and Change of Status approvals (Form I-797).

Tab C:

Korean Certificates

10. Immigration Entry and Exit Certificate (출입국 사실 증명서) for each person.

11. Certificate of Family Relationship (가족관계증명서) (one copy per family).  Adoption Certificate (입양관계증명서), if applicable.

12. Certificate of Marital Status (결혼관계증명서) for each person.

Each of these certificates must be issued within one month of the application date.

Tab D:

Ownership

13. Proof of treaty country ownership (at least 50%) and controlling interest in the enterprise:

  • For Corporations: Articles of incorporation, stock certificates, stock ledger
  • For Private Companies: Articles of organization, State registration of ownership

Tab E:

Investment

14. Proof that funds are invested or that the investor is actively investing, 9FAM 402.9-6(B):

  • Escrow documents, wire transfers, franchise agreement, etc., and
  • Purchase agreement containing: date of agreement, purchase price, any special purchase conditions, and percentage of ownership.

15. Evidence that investment is substantial, 9FAM 402.9-6(D):

  • Lease contract containing: lease term, address, size of property, rent, signature page.
  • List of investments and related invoices.

Tab F:

Real & Operating

16. Proof that the enterprise is currently running or will open its doors very soon, 9FAM 402.9-6(C):

  • Business licenses
  • Special permits (food, alcohol, health, etc.)
  • Photos of enterprise
  • Utility bills (electrical, water, etc.)
  • Bank statements
  • Sales contracts and invoices

Tab G:

Marginality

17. Evidence that enterprise is more than marginal, 9FAM 402.9-6(E):

  • IRS Form 941: Pages 1 & 2 for the four most recent fiscal quarters.
  • State wage records (e.g., California DE-9C) for the four most recent fiscal quarters.
  • If the enterprise has existed less than one year, provide sales invoices, sales contracts, and bills of lading.
  • If the enterprise has existed more than one year, provide tax documents for the three most recent fiscal years:                                                                                 o Corporation:  IRS Form 1120 (pages 1 & 2)
    o Foreign Corporation:  IRS Form 1120-F (pages 1 to 3)
    o LLC:   IRS Form 1065 (pages 1 to 5)
    o Private Ownership:  IRS Form 1040 + Schedule C (pages 1 & 2)

Tab H:

Attorney Form

18. If represented by an attorney, submit form G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney as Representative,” including contact e-mail & phone number.

 

Required Supporting Documents for Dependents

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany the principal E visa holder need a “Derivative E visa.” 

Families usually apply for their E visas at the same time.  But if family members must apply separately at a later time, then please submit the following required documents:

1. Confirmation page from the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160 and printed copy of your appointment letter
2. Proof of the relationship:  Family relationship certificate, Marriage certificate, Adoption certificate
3. A copy of the principal applicant’s E visa and/or I-797 approval notice
4. Principal applicant’s Korean immigration arrivals and departures record
5. A dependent’s copy of I-797, if applicable

Family members who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but wish to visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B1/B2) visas.

Spouses and dependents may not work in the United States on a derivative E visa.  Spouses and dependents must apply for authorization to work from the Department of Homeland Security in the United States.