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. Thailand 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.

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. Holders of E visas must intend to depart the United States upon the termination of their E status. 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, e.g.,Thailand;
  • 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) and 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; and
  • 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 – 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). 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.
  • 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

The U.S. Embassy will review your application only 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 Investor/Owner E-2 Visa

Required Supporting Documents for E-2 Executives/Supervisors of E-2 companies

Required Supporting Documents for E-2 Essential Employees of E-2 companies

IMPORTANT: Because your E-visa application requires a lengthy review that may take up to four weeks, we must receive your supporting documents at least 15 business days before your interview date. Failure to submit your documents in a timely manner will significantly delay your appointment time. If we do not receive your documents at least 15 business days prior to your interview date, your interview date will be rescheduled to at least three weeks after you submit your documents. Your interview date may be rescheduled up to 3 times. After that, you will have to repay the visa fee and restart the process from the beginning. WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU PREPARE ALL THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT.

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. Children below age 14 do not have to accompany their parents to the Embassy for an interview, if the parents and children are applying for the visa together. However, if children below age 14 are applying alone, then parent or guardian must accompany them to the interview.

To e-mail your supporting documents, send your documents to BangkokBusinessTravel@state.gov.On the subject line, write: Surname, given name-E visa application-date of interview. For example, if your name is John Doe and you have a visa interview on January 1st, 2017, write on the subject line: Doe, John-E visa application-January 1, 2017. After you submit your application, you will receive an email confirmation.  Please write us a separate email if you do not receive a confirmation email two days after you send your application. 

NOTE FOR ALL APPLICANTS: If you will be requesting an expedited E-visa appointment, you will need to submit all of your supporting application documents to the BangkokBusinessTravel@state.gov e-mail address for an initial review prior to sending your expedited appointment request.  Your request for an expedited appointment date will not be considered until it has been confirmed that you have submitted all of the necessary E-visa application documents.

Step 5

Come to the U.S. Embassy for your visa interview 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Consulate Chiang Mai does not accept E visa applications or interview E visa applicants. You must bring a printed copy of your appointment letter, your DS-160 confirmation page, one photograph taken within the last six months, your current, and all old passports and the original visa fee payment receipt. Applications without all of these items will not be accepted.

For more Information

Visit the U.S. Department of State's website for more information about Treaty rader and treaty investor visas. For any inquiries related to the Treaty Traders and Investor (E) visa applications, you may contact the Business Travel Unit at BangkokBusinessTravel@state.gov.

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

Applications must be divided into sections clearly separated by lettered tabs. Each lettered tab should be labeled as described below. You must restrict your application to 50 pages of information (50 single-sided sheets or 25 double-sided sheets (excluding Tabs A-C), with a minimum font size of 11 point. We will only accept submission in a PDF format as a single attachment. The attachment limit is 20 MB. If you believe additional documents are required to support your application, please bring them to the interview. Incomplete applications or applications that failed to follow instructions will be returned, which will delay your interview appointment. If your application is incomplete, you must resubmit the entire application with all the missing documents as a single attachment. To prevent any delays, we strongly recommend that you carefully read and follow all the instructions.

Tab A

DS 160

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s): DS-160 confirmation page generated by the online system.

Tab B

Biographic

Information

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s):

  • Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport; copies of the marriage certificate and birth certificates or adoption certificates for dependents, as appropriate. NOTE: If dependents do not apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant, include a copy of the principal applicant’s valid, approved E-visa.
  • Additionally, if your spouse is renewing her/his visa and s/he worked in the U.S., please include a copy of the employment authorization form.

Tab C

DS 156E

Completed form DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address.

Tab D

Cover Letter

Cover letter describing company, position, and beneficiary. This letter must address all requirements for E visa eligibility as defined by the Foreign Affairs Manual and U.S. law. It should address the following in detail:

  • That the national(s) of the treaty country own(s) at least 50 percent of the business/corporations in question, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-4(B).
  • That the trade is substantial, as defined by 9FAM 402.9-5(C).
  • That the trade is occurring principally between the United States and the treaty country, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-5(D)
  • That the applicant will fill an executive/supervisory role 9 FAM 402.9-7(B), or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations 9 FAM 402.9-7 (C)

That the applicant will depart the U.S. when E status ends, 9 FAM 402.9-4 (C).

Tab E

Ownership

Proof of treaty country ownership and controlling interest in the enterprise, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-4(B).

  • Detailed list of owners of the enterprise and what percentage each owns.
  • For Corporations, you may provide the following documents:
    • Articles of incorporation, stock certificates, stock ledger, etc.
    • Shares/stock certificates indicating distribution of ownership, i.e. shares held by each firm and shares held by individual owners
    • Corporate matrix
    • If publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, enclose a sample of recently published stock quotations
  • For Private Companies, you may provide the following documents:
    • Articles of organization, State registration of ownership, business registration document

Tab F

Substantiality

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

  • Detailed spreadsheet showing the total number of transactions for the period of at least one year, the value of each transaction, and a list of trading partners.
  • Bills of lading, air waybills, invoices and evidence of payments made from/to USA for the last 6 months.
  • Business’s three most recent tax returns:
    • LLC: Form 1065, pages 1-5, include Schedule B1 and Schedule K1
    • Private ownership: Form 1040, pages 1-2, include Schedule C
    • Corporations: Form 1120, pages 1-5, include Schedule G and/or Schedule K1
  • You may also provide other documents showing that trade is substantial.

Tab G

Principal Trade

Evidence that trade is principally between the U.S. and the treaty country as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-5(D).

  • US. Customs invoices and/or purchase receipts may be submitted here.
  • Other supporting documents that at least 50% of the trade is between the U.S. and the treaty country. Documents should also show that trade supports an ongoing business entity in the treaty country.

Tab H

Employee info

E-1 Executive/Managerial/Supervisory 9 FAM 402.9-7(B) or Essential Skills

9 FAM 402.9-7(C).

  • Letter from the E-visa enterprise providing specific information on the applicant and the reasons for his/her assignment to the U.S. The letter should explain the employee's role in the E-visa company (job title and duties), the applicant’s executive or supervisory responsibilities or, if not a supervisor, his/her specialist role, progression of promotion or high level training or special qualifications, and the reasons why a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident cannot fill the position (if the position is not managerial or supervisory).
  • Letter from the responsible official from the company or office identifying the need for assigned employee.
  • Evidence of executive, supervisory or specialized knowledge, education, experience, skills or training, such as certificates, resumes, diplomas or transcripts.
  • FOR RENEWALS: Please submit your three most recent tax returns.

Tab I

Org Chart
  • Organization chart- The chart must list names, positions and legal status (i.e. American citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, E visa holder, etc.) of employees currently working at the company in the U.S.
  •  Please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa employee currently working at your establishment as part of your required supporting documents.  In addition, please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa dependent associated with a principal E2 visa holder working at your establishment, regardless of whether or not they are currently working.  For any E visa dependent that is working in the United States, whether at your establishment or at another business, please also include a photocopy of their approved work authorization petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Tab J

G 28
G-28 “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative” (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number.

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

Applications must be divided into sections clearly separated by lettered tabs. Each lettered tab should be labeled as described below. You must restrict your application to 50 pages of information (50 single-sided sheets or 25 double-sided sheets (excluding Tabs A-C), with a minimum font size of 11 point. We will only accept submission in a PDF format as a single attachment. The attachment limit is 20 MB. If you believe additional documents are required to support your application, please bring them to the interview. Incomplete applications or applications that failed to follow instructions will be returned, which will cause delays to your interview appointment. If your application is incomplete, you must resubmit the entire application with all the missing documents as a single attachment. To prevent any delays, we strongly recommend that you carefully read and follow all the instructions.

Tab A

DS 160

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s): DS-160 confirmation page generated by the online system.

Tab B

Biographic

Information

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s):

  • Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport; copies of the marriage certificate and birth certificates or adoption certificates for dependents, as appropriate. NOTE: If dependents do not apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant, include a copy of the principal applicant’s valid, approved E-visa.
  • Additionally, if your spouse is renewing her/his visa and s/he worked in the U.S., please include a copy of the employment authorization form.

Tab C

DS 156E

Completed form DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address.

Tab D

Cover Letter

Cover letter describing the company and the beneficiary’s position. This letter must address all requirements for E visa eligibility as defined by the Foreign Affairs Manual and U.S. law. It should address the following in detail:

  • That the national(s) of the treaty country own(s) at least 50 percent of the business/corporations in question, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-4 (B).
  • That the investor has invested or is actively in the process of investing, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (B).
  • That the enterprise is currently running or will open its doors imminently, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (C).
  • That the investment is substantial, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (D).
  • That the investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (E).
  • That the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the operations, or will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm's operations, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (F).
  • That the applicant will depart U.S. when E status ends, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-4 (C).

Tab E

Ownership

Proof of treaty country ownership and controlling interest in the enterprise, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-4(B).

  • Detailed list of owners of the enterprise and what percentage each owns.
  • For Corporations, you may provide the following documents:
    • Articles of incorporation, stock certificates, stock ledger, etc.
    • Shares/stock certificates indicating distribution of ownership, i.e. shares held by each firm and shares held by individual owners
    • Corporate matrix.
    • If publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, enclose a sample of recently published stock quotations.
  • For Private Companies, you may provide the following documents:
    • Articles of organization, State registration of ownership, business registration document.
  • Other relevant documents that show ownership.

Tab F

Substantiality

Evidence that investment is substantial, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (D).

  • For existing enterprise, you may provide:
    • Tax valuation
    • Market appraisal
  • For new enterprise (show estimated startup-cost), you may provide:
    • Market estimate
    • Chamber of Commerce estimates
    • Trade Association Statistics

Tab G

Process of

Investment

Proof that funds have been invested or that the investor is actively in the process of investing, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (B).

  • A complete money trail of the funds invested, including: Documentation of the original source of funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, earnings, sale of business, gift letter, etc.).
  • Escrow documents, wire transfers, franchise agreement, etc.
  • Purchase agreement containing: date of agreement, purchase price, any special purchase conditions, and percentage of ownership.
  • Record of money transfers from the buyer/investor to the seller (highlighted).
  • Use of these funds for qualifying business expenses. Please include invoices, cancelled checks, and bank statements showing matching debits. (highlighted).

Tab H

Current and

Operating

Proof that the enterprise is currently operating or will open imminently, as defined by 9 FAM 402.9-6 (C).

  • Sales receipts or invoices, client lists, letters from clients.
  • Lease agreements.
  • Photographs of the enterprise, reviews on social media, etc.

Tab I

Marginality

Evidence that enterprise is more than marginal, as defined by 9FAM 402.9-6(E).

  • Business’s three most recent tax returns:
    • LLC: Form 1065, pages 1-5, include Schedule B1 and Schedule K1
    • Private ownership: Form 1040, pages 1-2, include Schedule C
    • Corporations: Form 1120, pages 1-5, include Schedule G and/or Schedule K1
  • Most recent IRS W2 forms for all employees.
  • Investor/owner’s three most recent individual tax returns.
Tab J
Business plan
  • Business plan for the next five years, including projected expenses and profits. The plan must verify the capacity of the enterprise to realize a profit within a maximum of five years.
Tab K
Org Chart
  • Organization chart- The chart must list names, positions and legal status (i.e. American citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, E visa holder, etc.) of employees currently working at the company.
  •  Please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa employee currently working at your establishment as part of your required supporting documents.  In addition, please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa dependent associated with a principal E2 visa holder working at your establishment, regardless of whether or not they are currently working.  For any E visa dependent that is working in the United States, whether at your establishment or at another business, please also include a photocopy of their approved work authorization petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Tab L
G-28
G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative" (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number

Required Supporting Documents for executives/supervisors of E-2 companies

Applications must be divided into sections clearly separated by lettered tabs. Each lettered tab should be labeled as described below. You must restrict your application to 30 pages of information (30 page single-sided, 15 pages double-sided excluding Tabs A-C), with a minimum font size of 11 point. We will only accept submission in a PDF format as a single attachment. The attachment limit is 15 MB. If you believe additional documents are required to support your application, please bring them to the interview. Incomplete applications, or applications that failed to follow instructions, will be returned, which will cause delays to your interview appointment. If your application is incomplete, you must resubmit the entire application with all the missing documents as a single attachment. To prevent any delays, we strongly recommend that you carefully read and follow all the instructions.

Tab A

DS 160

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s): DS-160 confirmation page generated by the online system.

Tab B

Biographic

Information

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s):

  • Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport; copies of the marriage certificate and birth certificates or adoption certificates for dependents, as appropriate. NOTE: If dependents do not apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant, include a copy of the principal applicant’s valid, approved E-visa.
  • Additionally, if your spouse is renewing her/his visa and s/he worked in the U.S., please include a copy of the employment authorization form.

Tab C

DS 156E

Completed form DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address.

Tab D

Employee

Information

Qualifications of executive supervisors defined by 9 FAM 402.9-7(B).

  • Explanation of why the enterprise was unable to find a qualified US citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to fill the position.
  • Applicant’s résumé, university degree, certificate, etc.
  • Job letters from previous employers.
  • FOR RENEWALS: Please submit your three most recent tax returns.

Tab E

Org Chart

  • Organizational chart- The chart must list names, positions and legal status (i.e. American citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, E visa holder, etc.) of employees currently working at the company.
  • Please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa employee currently working at your establishment as part of your required supporting documents.  In addition, please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa dependent associated with a principal E2 visa holder working at your establishment, regardless of whether or not they are currently working.  For any E visa dependent that is working in the United States, whether at your establishment or at another business, please also include a photocopy of their approved work authorization petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Tab F

Employment

Contract

  • Employment contract signed by both the employee and the employer. Note: Employment contract must specify the employee’s working hours, salary and benefits (if applicable).

Tab G

Employer

Information

In addition, please provide the following information about your employer:

  • Business’s three most recent tax returns:
    • LLC: Form 1065, pages 1-5, include Schedule B1 and Schedule K1
    • Private ownership: Form 1040, pages 1-2, include Schedule C
    • Corporations: Form 1120, pages 1-5, include Schedule G and/or Schedule K1
  • Most recent IRS W2 forms for all employees.
  • Lease agreements.
  • Photographs of the enterprise, reviews on social media, etc.
  • Investor/owner’s three most recent individual tax returns.

Tab H

G 28

G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative" (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number

Required Supporting Documents for essential employees of E-2 companies

Applications must be divided into sections clearly separated by lettered tabs. Each lettered tab should be labeled as described below. You must restrict your application to 30 pages of information (30 page single-sided, 15 pages double-sided excluding Tabs A-C), with a minimum font size of 11 point. We will only accept submission in a PDF format as a single attachment. The attachment limit is 15 MB. If you believe additional documents are required to support your application, please bring them to the interview. Incomplete applications, or applications that failed to follow instructions, will be returned, which will cause delays to your interview appointment. If your application is incomplete, you must resubmit the entire application with all the missing documents as a single attachment. We will not accept documents piecemeal. To prevent any delays, we strongly recommend that you carefully read and follow all the instructions.

Tab A

DS 160

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s): DS-160 confirmation page generated by the online system.

Tab B

Biographic

Information

For principal applicant(s) and dependent family member(s):

  • Photocopy of data (photo) page of passport; copies of the marriage certificate and birth certificates or adoption certificates for dependents, as appropriate. NOTE: If dependents do not apply for visas at the same time as the principal applicant, include a copy of the principal applicant’s valid, approved E-visa.
  • Additionally, if your spouse is renewing her/his visa and s/he worked in the U.S., please include a copy of the employment authorization form.

Tab C

DS 156E

Completed form DS-156E. Contact information must include an e-mail address.

Tab D

Employee

Information

Qualifications of essential employees defined by 9 FAM 402.9-7(C).

  • Explanation of why the enterprise was unable to find a qualified U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident to fill the position.
  • Evidence that employee has essential skills that the enterprise urgently needs, as well as the projected duration of this essentiality.
  • Applicant’s résumé, university degree, certificate, etc.
  • Job letters from previous employers.
  • FOR RENEWALS: Please submit your three most recent tax returns.

Tab E

Org Chart

  • Organizational chart- The chart must list names, positions and legal status (i.e. American citizen, Legal Permanent Resident, E visa holder, etc.) of employees currently working at the company.
  • Please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa employee currently working at your establishment as part of your required supporting documents.  In addition, please include a photocopy of the E visa page for every E visa dependent associated with a principal E2 visa holder working at your establishment, regardless of whether or not they are currently working.  For any E visa dependent that is working in the United States, whether at your establishment or at another business, please also include a photocopy of their approved work authorization petition from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Tab F

Employment

Contract

  • Employment contract signed by both the employee and the employer.
  • Note: Employment contract must specify the employee’s working hours, salary and benefits (if applicable).

Tab G

Employer

Information

In addition, please provide the following information about your employer:

  • Business’s three most recent tax returns:
    • LLC: Form 1065, pages 1-5, include Schedule B1 and Schedule K1
    • Private ownership: Form 1040, pages 1-2, include Schedule C
    • Corporations: Form 1120, pages 1-5, include Schedule G and/or Schedule K1
  • Most recent IRS W2 forms for all employees.
  • Lease agreements.
  • Photographs of the enterprise, reviews on social media, etc.
  • Investor/owner’s three most recent individual tax returns.

Tab H

G 28

G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Representative" (as appropriate), including contact e-mail address and phone number