Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

On this page:


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. Sweden 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.

 

Requirements

Qualifications for Treaty Trader (E-1)
  • 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 Treaty Investor (E-2)
  • 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 41.51, 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) 41.51. 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 Prepare Your Application

Step 1

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

Step 2

Register online and create a profile.

Step 3

Pay the visa application fee. You will not schedule an appointment at this time.

Step 4

E-Treaty Company Applications must be submitted electronically to: evisastockholm@state.gov. Please use the e-mail subject line: "Surname, Given Name, Business Name, E Visa Application". Use this email address for specific E visa questions as well as regarding E visa cases already submitted. The electronically submitted documents should not exceed 7MB (PDF only). Applications that exceed the 7 MB, have poor copies, or are illegible will not be reviewed. Do NOT send “linked” files, as we cannot access or open these. Please scan documents with a maximum of 300 DPI to keep file size small.

Please note that the application process is the same for first time E-Treaty company applications and E-Treaty company renewals. For further details see the Supporting documents section for E-1 and E-2 visas.

After Submission

Upon receipt, the application is reviewed for completeness by the E Visa Unit. If the application is missing the DS-160, DS-156E, fees or photograph, the applicant or legal representative will be notified for correction.

The company’s date of receipt is the date the case was found to be documentarily complete. Inquiries can be made via email (evisastockholm@state.gov).

Current review time for each case is more or less 60 days. Please plan in advance when considering an application for an E visa.

Once the Consular offices receive your documents they meticulously examine all documents submitted by the applicant. Please make sure that these are germane to the case. The reviewing officer will note any missing or additional documents that may be required at the interview.

The applicant or legal representative is:

  • Notified that the case has been reviewed; provided a list of any additional documents required; and
  • Advised of open dates for the applicant's interview. Applicants must attend an interview within three months (90 days) of this initial notification.

Cases will not be held longer than 90 days.

Adjudication

On the day of the interview, applicants should come to the Embassy no more than 30 minutes prior to the appointment time so that they can proceed through security. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their business in detail during their interview. Legal representative and/or financial advisors are not permitted to attend. At the conclusion of the interview, the Consular Officer will determine if the business and applicant qualify under U.S. regulations for the visa.

If the applicant qualifies for an E visa, he or she will be approved for a visa issuance. We require 5 business days to complete processing and print the visa. Please plan travel accordingly.

If the applicant is denied an E visa, the officer will provide a form describing the reasons for the refusal and citing the appropriate section of US regulation. The officer's decision is final. If the applicant feels strongly that the case was misjudged or if the material facts of it change, he or she may submit a new application for the same business. This will be treated as a new submission. We will make every effort to see that the next interview, if one is merited, is conducted by a different officer.

Application Items

To apply for a Treaty Trader visa (E-1) visa or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa, you must submit the following:

  • A Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application (DS-160) Form. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160.
  • A Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E, completed and signed.
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date of at least six months beyond your intended period of stay in the United States (unless country-specific agreements provide exemptions). If more than one person is included in your passport, each person desiring a visa must submit an application.
  • One (1) 2"x2" (5cmx5cm) photograph. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • A receipt showing payment of your US $205 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee, paid in local currency. This web page has more information about paying this fee. If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality. The Department of State's website can help you find out if you must pay a visa issuance reciprocity fee and what the fee amount is.
  • Personbevis - "120-personbevis med alla relationer" from the Swedish tax authorities (Skatteverket). Please note that this form is not obtainable over the internet and must be requested over phone or at a Skatteverket office.

Supporting Documents for Treaty Trader (E-1)

The electronically submitted documents should not exceed 7MB (about 100 pages, PDF only).Applications that exceed the 7 MB, have poor copies, or are illegible will not be reviewed.

You may use multiple attachments. Do NOT send “linked” files, as we cannot access or open these. Please scan documents with a maximum of 300 DPI to keep file size small. Cases must be submitted to:evisastockholm@state.gov. Please use the e-mail subject line: "Surname, Given Name, Business Name, E Visa Application".

Tab A (Table of Contents)

Include a cover letter describing the enterprise and the beneficiary. This letter should address all the requirements for E-1 visa eligibility. These, which are described in depth in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 41.51), require the applicant to show:

  • that the requisite treaty exists (see N4);
  • that the individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country (see N3);
  • that the activities constitute trade within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101 (a) (15) (E) (see N4);
  • that the trade is substantial;
  • that the trade is principally between the United States and the treaty country (see N6);
  • that the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm's operation in the United States;(see N13) and
  • that the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates (see N14).
  • Please cover requirements 3, 4 and 5 in some detail.
Tab B (Forms)
  • Completed, dated, and signed DS-160 and DS-156E (PDF 588 KB) (parts 1, 2, and 3). Contact information provided on the DS-160 must include an e-mail address.
  • Original receipt of visa application fee for the principal applicant only. The receipt must state applicant’s name, amount paid and bank number. Make sure that your bank issues something verifiable with the above information.
  • PERSONBEVIS: Ask for a “120-personbevis med alla relationer” from the Swedish tax authorities (skattemyndigheten).
  • If you will be represented in this matter by an attorney, you must submit form G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney as Representative" and should include contact e-mail address and phone number for the attorney. If your representative is not an attorney, please submit a letter of agreement between the investor and the representative signed by both parties.
  • If the applicant is not an investor but an employee, please include a job letter from the company. This letter should describe:
  • the business;
  • the job the applicant will do; and
  • his or her qualifications for that job.
  • A photocopy of the bio data page of the principal applicant's passport and similar copies of any US visas, US entry/exit stamps, and I-94's.
  • A copy of any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS (Form I-797).
  • A resume or curriculum vitae of the principal applicant.
  • Signed statement of intent to depart the US upon termination of status.
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations) or Organization (for LLC's) for US business.
  • Share certificates and/or operating agreement (as applicable) to verify ownership.
  • An organizational chart of the full ownership structure;
  • Legal evidence of instances of ownership within that chain;
  • Photocopies of the bio data pages of the passports of the owners of the ultimate parent company.
  • A copy of the most recent Annual Report;
  • The Company’s House Report;
  • An affidavit signed by the appropriate corporate official asserting that the company is traded exclusively on the Swedish Stock Exchange;
  • A copy of the most recent trading information on the stock.
  • Provide a spreadsheet listing every qualifying transaction of international trade between the treaty countries during the last calendar year. If there is a US entity with separate legal status (such as an incorporated company or a LLC), all figures should refer to its trade. Otherwise, consider the trade of the Swedish company. This table should include the date, the invoice number, and the dollar value of the transaction. Show in a prominent place the total number and value of these transactions.
  • Provide copies of all the invoices summarized in the table.
  • Provide copies of all air bills or shipping invoices proving that the goods or services moved from one country to the other.
  • Calculate the percentage of international trade represented by the US-Sweden trade documented above. This is not the percentage of total trade but the percentage of total international trade undertaken by the treaty investor business.
  • Provide the most recent US tax returns (for a US entity) or annual report (for a Swedish entity). US tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.
Tab C (Applicant Information)
  • A photocopy of the bio data page of the principal applicant's passport and similar copies of any US visas, US entry/exit stamps, and I-94's.
  • A copy of any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS (Form I-797).
  • A resume or curriculum vitae of the principal applicant.
  • Signed statement of intent to depart the US upon termination of status.
Tab D (Ownership)
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations) or Organization (for LLC's) for US business.
  • Share certificates and/or operating agreement (as applicable) to verify ownership.

If you have a large company with several owners or subsidiaries or if the chain of ownership includes intermediary entities, please also submit the following:

  • An organizational chart of the full ownership structure;
  • Legal evidence of instances of ownership within that chain;
  • Photocopies of the bio data pages of the passports of the owners of the ultimate parent company.

If the investor is a public company with many shareholders, none of whom owns more than 50%, please also include:

  • A copy of the most recent Annual Report;
  • The Company’s House Report;
  • An affidavit signed by the appropriate corporate official asserting that the company is traded exclusively on the Swedish Stock Exchange;
  • A copy of the most recent trading information on the stock.
Tab E (Trade)
  • Provide a spreadsheet listing every qualifying transaction of international trade between the treaty countries during the last calendar year. If there is a US entity with separate legal status (such as an incorporated company or a LLC), all figures should refer to its trade. Otherwise, consider the trade of the Swedish company. This table should include the date, the invoice number, and the dollar value of the transaction. Show in a prominent place the total number and value of these transactions.
  • Provide copies of all the invoices summarized in the table.
  • Provide copies of all air bills or shipping invoices proving that the goods or services moved from one country to the other.
  • Calculate the percentage of international trade represented by the US-Sweden trade documented above. This is not the percentage of total trade but the percentage of total international trade undertaken by the treaty investor business.
  • Provide the most recent US tax returns (for a US entity) or annual report (for a Swedish entity). US tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.

Supporting Documents for Treaty Investor (E-2)

The electronically submitted documents should not exceed 7MB (about 100 pages, PDF only).Applications that exceed the 7 MB, have poor copies, or are illegible will not be reviewed.

You may use multiple attachments. Do NOT send “linked” files, as we cannot access or open these. Please scan documents with a maximum of 300 DPI to keep file size small. Cases must be submitted to: evisastockholm@state.gov. Please use the e-mail subject line: "Surname, Given Name, Business Name, E Visa Application".

Tab A (Table of Contents)

Include a cover letter describing the enterprise and the beneficiary. This letter should address all the requirements for E-2 visa eligibility. These, which are described in depth in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 41.51), require the applicant to show:

  • that the requisite treaty exists (see N4);
  • that the individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country (see N3);
  • the applicant has invested or is in the process of investing (see N4);
  • the enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise (see N9);
  • the applicant's investment is substantial (see N10);
  • the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living (see N11);
  • the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise (see N12);
  • the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possess skills essential to the firm's operations in the United States (see N14); and
  • the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates (see N15).
Tab B (Forms)
  • Completed, dated, and signed DS-160 and DS-156E (PDF 588 KB) (parts 1, 2, and 3). Contact information provided on the DS-160 must include an e-mail address.
  • Original receipt of visa application fee for the principal applicant. Once the company is approved, the fee needs to be paid for each applicant.
  • PERSONBEVIS: Ask for a “120-personbevis med alla relationer” from the Swedish tax authorities (skattemyndigheten).
  • If you will be represented in this matter by an attorney, you must submit form G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney as Representative" and should include contact e-mail address and phone number for the attorney. If your representative is not an attorney, please submit a letter of agreement between the investor and the representative signed by both parties.

If the applicant is not an investor but an employee, please include a job letter from the company. This letter should describe:

  • the business;
  • the job the applicant will do; and
  • his or her qualifications for that job.
Tab C (Applicant Information)
  • A photocopy of the bio data page of the principal applicant's passport and similar copies of any US visas, US entry/exit stamps, and I-94's.
  • A copy of any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS (Form I-797).
  • A resume or curriculum vitae of the principal applicant.
  • Signed statement of intent to depart the US upon termination of status.
Tab D (Ownership)
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations) or Organization (for LLC's) for US business.
  • Share certificates and/or operating agreement (as applicable) to verify ownership.

If you have a large company with several owners or subsidiaries or if the chain of ownership includes intermediary entities, please also submit the following:

  • An organizational chart of the full ownership structure;
  • Legal evidence of instances of ownership within that chain;
  • Color photocopies of the bio data pages of the passports of the owners of the ultimate parent company

If the investor is a public company with many shareholders, none of whom owns more than 50%, please also include:

  • A copy of the most recent Annual Report;
  • The Company’s House Report;
  • An affidavit signed by the appropriate corporate official asserting that the company is traded exclusively on the Swedish Stock Exchange;
  • A copy of the most recent trading information on the stock.
Tab E (Investment)

A complete money trail of the funds invested, including:

  • Documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, earnings, sale of business, etc.)
  • Movement of these funds to a U.S. account;
  • Use of these funds for qualifying business expenses. Please include invoices, cancelled checks, and bank statements showing matching debits (highlighted).

If you are buying an existing business, please provide all of the following that apply in your case:

  • A signed, dated, valid purchase agreement
  • A binding escrow agreement (see 9 FAM 41.51 N8.103 for guidelines) that explicitly says where the money goes if the visa is issued, what happens when it does not, and is signed and dated by all parties. Please cross-reference exactly any relevant purchase agreement.
  • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments.
  • Evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business.

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

  • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments;
  • Evidence of equipment and/or inventory purchases.

If you are purchasing a franchise, please provide:

  • A signed and dated franchise agreement;
  • Evidence of payment of the franchise fee.
  • Investment spreadsheet. Evidence of investment is required, e.g., copies of debits from bank accounts, checks, invoices.
Tab F (Real and Operating)
  • Relevant local, state and/or federal licenses
  • Monthly bank statements for current calendar year.
Tab G (Marginality)
  • US tax returns for business for the past three years. Taxes must include all statements and schedules. These must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.
  • All W-2 and/or 1099s for the last two tax years.
  • Profit and loss statements for the current and previous calendar years.

Start-up Business should also provide:

  • A business plan that analyzes the local market and competition and gives a 5-year projection of profit and loss. Projections must be backed up by external sources.
  • A breakdown of start-up costs necessary for the business to become operational.

More Information

Length of Visa

The maximum length for which an E-1 or E-2 visa can be issued to a citizen of Sweden is 2 years. The company can receive an approval length of 1-5 years.  The length of time issued is solely the judgment of the consular officer deciding the case.

Change of Status

Investors who have changed status in the United States with USCIS must follow the steps for all first-time investors. Such a change of status remains valid only while the applicant remains in the United States. Once the applicant has left the United States, he or she requires an E-visa to return and resume the running of the business. Change of status does not guarantee the subsequent issuance of a visa nor does it exempt the investor from the normal process of filing documents in advance with the Embassy in Stockholm.

Dependents

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty traders, treaty investors, or employees of qualifying enterprises may also apply for 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. Spouses may work in the United States if they have obtained an Employee Authorization Card from the Department of Homeland Security. They may apply for this card after they enter the United States. Dependent children may not work in the United States although they may attend school.

Proper Use of B1/B2 Visas and Visa Waiver Travel for Investors

Potential investors may seek out investment opportunities, sign contracts, and take other steps to purchase or establish a business while traveling on B1/B2 status or on the Visa Waiver Program. However, applicants may not develop and direct a business while in such status. State Department regulations state (9 FAM 41.31 N9.7), "an alien seeking investment in the United States, including an investment that would qualify him or her for status as an E-2 investor, is precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business prior to being granted E-2 status." Such actions are impermissible whether or not the investor receives any payment for his work.

For more information about visas for treaty traders and treaty investors, visit the Department of State's website.