Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

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Overview

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. Norway 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

Step 1

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

Step 2

Pay the visa application fee.

Step 3

Schedule your appointment on this web page. You will need the following information in order to schedule your appointment:

  • Your passport number
  • The CGI reference number from your Visa Fee receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page
Step 4

Submit your E Visa Application.

If this is the first time your company is applying for a Treaty Trader/Investor visa or your company needs to be re-registered, please submit the documents listed below as Exhibits A-F (for E-2 visa) or A-D (for E-1 visa). Each exhibit should be scanned in PDF format into one separate file, to demonstrate that your company satisfies the requirements. Email the separate files to OsloBusiness@state.gov. The average processing time for company review is 6 weeks. You will be notified when the Embassy is ready for you to schedule an interview appointment date. Please note that you will not be able to schedule an appointment before the Embassy has reviewed your documents and contacted you.

Case review begins upon receipt of a complete application. Incomplete applications will delay the processing time. Should your case require additional documentation, this office will contact you or your attorney via e-mail.

Step 5

You will receive an email once your request is approved.

Step 6

Visit the U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the date and time of your visa interview. 

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

Beginning August 1, 2016, you may submit no more than 100 pages of supporting documents. Supporting documents must be scanned as PDFs with each file named according to the Exhibit in the left column of the E-2 requirements table below.

Companies applying for an E visa for the first time must register their company with the Embassy by providing documentation of the company’s E visa qualifications.

The applicant must fill out the DS-160 form, pay the E visa application fee, submit a request for an E visa appointment online and then send the documents listed below to OsloBusiness@state.gov to register their E-1 Treaty Trader or E-2 Treaty Investor status. The average processing time for company review is 6 weeks. Applicants will be notified when the Embassy is ready to schedule an interview appointment date.

Support Document Packet Checklist:
1. Sum of all pages is 100 or less (applications with more than 100 pages will not be accepted)
2. One PDF file per Exhibit listed below                                                                                    
3. Each PDF file is named according to its Exhibit. Example: “Exhibit A: Cover Letter”

Exhibit A:

Cover Letter

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

  • Company is at least 50% Norwegian-owned
  • Investor has invested or is actively in the process of investing
  • Enterprise is currently running or will open its doors imminently
  • Investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living
  • Applicant is in position to "develop and direct" the enterprise
  • Applicant will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations
  • Applicant’s unequivocal intent to depart United States when E status ends

Exhibit B:

Applicant Information

Exhibit C:

Ownership

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

Exhibit D:

Real & Operating

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

  • Contracts and invoices
  • Special permits, business licenses
  • Photos of enterprise
  • Bank statements

Exhibit E:

Investment

Proof that funds are invested or that the investor is actively investing, 9FAM 402.9-6(B), and  evidence that investment is substantial, 9FAM 402.9-6(D):

  • Escrow documents, wire transfers, franchise agreement, etc.
  • List of investments and related invoices
  • Lease contract containing: lease term, address, size of property, rent

Exhibit F:

Marginality

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

  • U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120) for the past three years if an existing enterprise and if not, Norwegian business tax returns for the last three years if proposing a similar business endeavor in the USA to the Norwegian enterprises
  • An executive summary of the business plan and financial forecast covering 5 years;

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

Beginning August 1, 2016, you may submit no more than 100 pages of supporting documents. Supporting documents must be scanned as PDFs with each file named according to the Exhibit in the left column of the E-1 requirements table below.

Companies applying for an E visa for the first time must register their company with the Embassy by providing documentation of the company’s E visa qualifications.

The applicant must fill out the DS-160 form, pay the E visa application fee, submit a request for an E visa appointment online and then send the documents listed below to OsloBusiness@state.gov to register their E-1 Treaty Trader or E-2 Treaty Investor status. The average processing time for company review is 6 weeks. Applicants will be notified when the Embassy is ready to schedule an interview appointment date.

Support Document Packet Checklist:
1. Sum of all pages is 100 or less (applications with more than 100 pages will not be accepted)
2. One PDF file per Exhibit listed below                                                                                    
3. Each PDF file is named according to its Exhibit. Example: “Exhibit A: Cover Letter”

Exhibit A:

Cover Letter

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

  • Company is at least 50% Norwegian -owned
  • Trade is substantial
  • Trade is occurring principally between the U.S. and the treaty country
  • The Applicant, if an employee, will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations
  • Applicant's unequivocal intent to depart United States when E status ends

Exhibit B:

Applicant Information

Exhibit C:

Ownership

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

Exhibit D:

Substantial Trade

D.1. Evidence of substantial trade as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-5(C):

  • 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

D.2. Evidence that trade is principally between the USA and Norway as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-5(D):

  • Invoices and purchase receipts showing nationality of both sides of the trade
  • Customs clearances
  • Shipping receipts summaries
D.3.  An executive summary of the business plan and financial forecast covering 5 years; 

Re-Registration of Companies

Beginning August 1, 2016, you may submit no more than 100 pages of supporting documents. Supporting documents must be scanned as PDFs with each file named according to the Exhibit in the left column of the table below.

As a general rule, applicants who have had a company registered with the Embassy before will need to re-register the company in order to renew E visa status.

Please fill out the DS-160 form, pay your application fee, submit your E visa appointment request online and then send the documents listed below to OsloBusiness@state.gov. The average processing time for company review is 6 weeks. You will be notified when the Embassy is ready for you to schedule an interview appointment date.

Support Document Packet Checklist:
1. Sum of all pages is 100 or less (applications with more than 100 pages will not be accepted)
2. One PDF file per Exhibit listed below                                                                                    
3. Each PDF file is named according to its Exhibit. Example: “Exhibit A: An updated Form DS-156E”

Exhibit A An updated Form DS-156E;
Exhibit B U.S. Corporation Income Tax Return (Form 1120) for the past 3 years
Exhibit C Organizational chart
Exhibit D Latest W-3 statement
Exhibit E An updated executive summary of the business plan and financial forecast covering 5 years
Exhibit F

Evidence of continuing trade or investment

  • Contracts with existing clients
  • Letters of intent from prospective clients
  • List of investments and related invoices

Employee of a currently qualified E visa company

If this is your first E visa, but you are applying to work as an employee of a currently qualified E visa company, please submit your appointment scheduling request and wait until you receive a notification from the Embassy.

Please bring the following documentation to your interview at the Embassy:

  • Forms DS-160 and DS-156E
  • The statement about your intent to return upon termination of your E status
  • A detailed resume or CV and documentation of your professional qualification (such as copies of education degrees, job training certificates and/or letters from previous employers)
  • A letter of support from your prospective U.S. employer containing a detailed position description

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.” 

Each family member over the age of 14, who wishes to accompany the principal E visa holder, needs to attend a visa interview. Dependents need to bring the following documentation to their interview at the Embassy:

  • Basic application items: Confirmation page from the online Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160, passport and one visa photograph
  • Proof of the relationship:  Family relationship certificate, Marriage certificate, Adoption certificate
  • If applying separately from the principal E visa holder (at a later date), family members must submit a copy of principal applicant’s E visa

Family members under the age of 14 do not need to attend an interview at the Embassy. They may be eligible to submit their application by mail.

More Information

For more information about E visas, visit the Department of State's Treaty Trader and Investor Visa webpage.