Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

FAQ

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Overview

The Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa is for citizens of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who wishes to travel to the United States to:

  • Carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country.
  • Develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the citizen has invested.
  • Invest a substantial amount of capital.

For a list of participating countries, click here.

A treaty investor/trader visa is not a substitute for an immigrant visa.  Persons wishing to remain in the United States indefinitely should apply for immigrant visas.  Treaty investor/trader 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.

How to Apply

Beginning November 1st, 2017, all briefing books must be submitted electronically, in PDF format, including no more than 50 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/E-2 requirements table above.

 

Step 1

Pay the visa application fee.

Step 2

Complete the following paperwork:

  • Complete the Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) form.
  • Prepare an E-Briefing Book PDF-format document. For more details, see the E-Briefing Book Checklist section above.

For dependent applicants, please see the requirements in the “Spouses and Children of E Visa Holders” section below.

Step 3

Email a copy of the paid fee receipt and all paperwork listed in Step 2 to MNLNIVE@state.gov.  For more details, see the E-Briefing Book Checklist section above.

Step 4
Using this web page, schedule your visa interview appointment for at least two weeks after the date that you complete Step 3.  You will need three pieces of information in order to schedule your appointment: 

  • Your passport number
  • Your MRV fee payment receipt number
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page

Step 5
Visit the U.S. Embassy on the date and time of your visa interview. You will need to bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one recent photograph, your current passport and all old passports. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

E-Briefing Book Checklist (For E-1 and E-2 Principal Applicants Only)

Support Document Packet Checklist
1. Sum of all pages is 50 or less
2. One PDF file per document type listed in the “Required Supporting Documents” list below
3. Each PDF file is named according to its document type

The U.S. Embassy will only review your application if you have a scheduled appointment and paid the visa fee. 

Applications with incorrectly named files, excess files, or more than 50 pages will be rejected and the appointment will be cancelled.  Note, the 50 page requirement is the sum of all pages in the package; it is not a per file limitation.  English translations must be attached to all documents which are in a foreign language.

Document Type

Description

Cover Letter

 

Cover letter describing the enterprise and the beneficiary.  This letter must address all requirements for E visa eligibility as defined by the Foreign Affairs Manual, 9 FAM 402.9.

Forms

·       Color photo (5cm x 5cm photo with a white background, taken within the last six months)

·       Form DS-156E (Contact information must include an e-mail address)

·       G-28 “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative”, including contact e-mail, address, fax number, and phone number, if applicable

Applicant Information

·       Employer letter, describing the enterprise in the United States (and in the Philippines), position and beneficiary’s qualifications

·       A photocopy of data (photo) page of passport and prior U.S. visas for applicant and family members – do not send the original passport

·       Corporate organizational chart of your U.S. company showing how your position fits into the organization

·       Detailed resume including references with contact information

·       Relevant diplomas, job training certificates, and/or letters from previous employers

·       Form I-797, if applicable, detailing changes or extensions of status granted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

·       Marriage certificate, if applicable

Nationality of the Enterprise

(9 FAM 402.9)

For publically traded or incorporated entities

·       Articles of Incorporation or Organization

·       By-Laws

·       Stock certificates and stock ledger

·       A copy of the most recent trading information on the stock for the Philippine parent company showing the percentage of stocks held by Philippine Owners

·       If not listed, submit a detailed statement about a judgment of affiliated companies, passport copies of majority shareholders, etc.

 

For private companies, partnerships, joint ventures, etc. 

·       A detailed list of owners of the enterprise, their nationality, and what percentage each owns

·       Evidence of the nationality for the majority of company ownership

Trade

(9 FAM 402.9)

·       Evidence of “substantial” and “continuous flow” trade principally between the United States and the Philippines

·       Provide a spreadsheet listing the date, the invoice number, and the dollar value of the transaction

·       Provide bills of lading, air waybills, invoices and evidence of payments made from/to the United States for the last 6 months

·       Most recent U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns (U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS)

·       Most recent financial statements

·       Circular chart: From your U.S. company’s point of view, circular chart of total trade volumes at cost (exporting and importing) by countries showing percentage of international trade

Investment

(9 FAM 402.9)

Demonstrate the applicant has invested or is in the process of investing:  

·       Proof of origination of the investment funds (evidence to show the origination of all funds used to pay for the enterprise

·       Explain the source of the funds and reason for receiving such funds

·       Provide copies of all original wire transfers from overseas or domestic bank accounts and evidence that funds were actually committed such as invoices and cancelled checks with bank statements showing matching debits (highlighted)

If you are buying a pre-existing business, please provide all of the following that apply:  

Letter of Intent

·       Valuation analysis of business assets

·       Pre-existing business’ Federal income taxes (U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS)

·       Business licenses

·       Lease or purchase of property contracts

·       Photographs of the pre-existing business premises

·       Bill of sale

·       Escrow documents (Submit copies of final escrow documents used to purchase the pre-existing business. Include all copies of the investor’s cancelled money orders or personal, business or cashier’s checks that have been certified by the bank or financial entity from which the funds were paid and used to deposit funds in the escrow account)

 

If you are establishing a start-up, please provide all of the following that apply:  

·       Evidence of payments

o   Legible copies of all of the treaty investor’s cancelled money orders, or personal, business, or cashier checks/front & back that have been certified by the bank or financial entity from which the funds were paid

o   Legible copies of all of the investor’s bank statements showing checking/savings account transactions to substantiate that the applicant’s funds were actually committed to the Treaty Investment

·       Signed, dated, valid lease or purchase for business premises, including evidence of payments

·       Business licenses/permits

Real and Operating

(9 FAM 402.9)

This element may be demonstrated by the submission of items such as:

·       Annual reports

·       Sales literature

·       News articles

·       Business invoices with corresponding bank accounts showing payment

·       Receipts for the purchases of business equipment or inventory

·       Other documents showing the enterprise is producing some service or commodity

·       Pictures of the business premises and equipment

Marginality

(9 FAM 402.9)

Demonstrate the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living

·       U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns for the past three years (U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS)

·       Most recent IRS W-2 forms for all employees

·       Independent (non-consolidated) financial statements for the past three years

·       Business Plan for new businesses, which should include specific details of the business to be conducted, and one, three, and five-year projections for business expenses, sales, gross income and profits or losses


Submission of Supporting Documentation

New cases and renewals must email the supporting documentation listed above to MNLNIVE@state.gov at least two weeks prior to the appointment date, indicating on the subject line the applicant’s name and date of birth. The E-visa unit may contact the applicants or their legal representatives to request any additional documents needed to establish qualifications for the E-visa. It is the responsibility of the applicants or their legal representatives to submit required documents in a timely fashion.

 

Qualifications for Treaty Trader (E-1)

  • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must have the nationality of the treaty country.
  • The international trade must be “substantial” in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
  • The trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology.  Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.  Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
  • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates.

Qualifications for Treaty Trader (E-2)

  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The investment must be substantial.  It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.  The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise.  Speculative or idle investment does not qualify.  Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment may not be marginal.  It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense.  Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. 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 and unskilled workers do not qualify.
  • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates.

Important Reminder

The Embassy may cancel interviews for applicants who fail to provide all required documents two weeks prior to their appointment time.  Interviews also may be cancelled the day of the interview if it is determined that all required documents were not provided in advance.

Spouses and Children of E-visa Holders

  • Derivative applicants applying separately from the principal E visa applicant need not submit any materials in advance.  These applicants should bring a copy of the principal applicant’s approved visa and hard copies of documents listed below to their visa appointment.
  • Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 can receive derivative E visas to accompany the employee to the United States.
  • Spouses and children under the age of 21 need to establish a relationship to the principle applicant by providing a Philippine Statistics Authority certified marriage certificate, birth certificate and/or other similar documents.
  • Spouses or children applying after the principal applicant has obtained an E-visa must submit proof of the principal’s current immigration status in the United States, including documentation on any change of status, and proof that the principal applicant is still employed with the company by showing recent pay stubs, tax returns, etc.
  • Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the primary visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible for visitor (B-2) visas.
  • There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an E visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the United States.  They may study on a derivative E visa.  However, if qualified, they may apply for an F-1 visa.  If you have school-age children, you should refer to the regulations governing the issuance of F-1 visas.
  • Spouses may seek employment authorization on derivative E visas.  For additional information, please contact USCIS after arrival in the United States.