Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

FAQ

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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. Singapore 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 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 Apply for an E-1 or E-2 Visa

STEP 1: Assembly the Required Supporting Document Package

Follow the Required Supporting Document Package guidelines for detailed instructions on how to assemble your supporting documents for E-1 and E-2 visa applications.

STEP 2: Complete the Visa Application and Schedule an Appointment

Follow the instructions on the Apply for a Visa page to pay the non-refundable visa application fees, complete the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Online Application, and schedule a visa interview appointment.

Please note: E-1 and E-2 visa interviews appointments are only available on Embassy-designated dates, approximately once every two weeks. Appointments cannot be scheduled at any other dates. Requests for expedited appointment for the convenience of applicant or the enterprise will not be approved.

STEP 3: Submit Your Application and Required Supporting Document Package to the Embassy One Week before Your Interview

IMPORTANT: The review of E-visa applications is a lengthy process. If the application and Required Supporting Document Package are not received by the Embassy at least one week before your scheduled interview appointment, you may be required to reschedule your appointment. This may delay your interview date by two weeks or more.

E-visa case review can only begin upon receipt of a complete application and Required Supporting Document Package. Please submit your application and Required Supporting Document Package at least one week before your interview to allow sufficient time to review your case in advance of your interview. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed and your interview date will be delayed until the next available interview date. No final determination can be made until the in-person interview. If the interviewing consular officer requires additional documentation, you will receive clear guidance on what to submit and by what method. Any additional documentation required by the consular officer must be submitted within 60 days of the date of the request.

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

  • A completed DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Online Application;
  • A Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E, completed and signed.
  • One (1) 2x2 photograph for each applicant, adhering to the required photo format.
  • The Required Supporting Document Package detailed in Step 1;
  • NOTE: Dependent E-visa applications will only be considered at the same time as the principal applicant or after the principal applicant’s visa has been approved. If dependents do not apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant, a copy of the principal applicant’s valid, approved E-visa must be submitted with the application.
  • NOTE: Do not submit your passport. Bring your passport to your visa interview.

Submit your application materials and Required Supporting Document Package to one of the Aramex courier locations below. Aramex offices are open 9:30 am to 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday except public holidays.

  1. Grand Venture Technology Pte. Ltd.
    No. 2 Changi North Street 1
    Singapore 498828

  2. Aramex c/o Bstone Travel Pte. Ltd
    101 Upper Cross Street
    #B1-31 People's Park Centre
    Singapore 05837

You must complete a document submission form, available here or at the Aramex location. Aramex will deliver your application materials to the Embassy one business day after receipt.

Step 4: The Visa Interview

Before setting out for your interview, please review the Embassy’s security regulations. Please arrive at the Embassy 30 minutes before your scheduled interview time. Allot a minimum of two hours for the complete interview process from the time you arrive at the Embassy.

What to bring with you:

  • Your current passport with at least six months validity. If more than one person is included in a passport, each person desiring a visa must submit a separate DS-160 application and non-refundable application fee.
  • A printed copy of your Appointment Confirmation; and
  • A printed copy of your DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Online Application Confirmation.

Minors: Children 13 years old and younger are not required to accompany their parents to the Embassy for an interview, but they must be physically present in Singapore on the date of their family's scheduled appointment.

The Embassy cannot be held responsible for missed appointments. If you repeatedly miss your scheduled appointment, your documents will be sent back to you and you will have to reapply.

Step 5: Collection

If your visa is approved, your passport will be retained for visa processing. On average, your passport, visa, and Required Supporting Documents Package will be returned to you three business days after your interview date at the location you selected on your Appointment Confirmation. Expedited visa processing is not available. Please schedule travel plans accordingly.

For More Information

Visit the U.S. Department of State's website for more information about treaty trader and treaty investor visas.