Treaty Traders And Treaty Investors (E-1/E-2)

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Important Notice

Starting January 1, 2019, all applicants applying for treaty trader E-1 or treaty investor E-2 visas must email their documents to AIT at least two weeks (14 days) in advance of their interview day. 

This electronic document submission procedure will allow applicants to submit their documents to AIT for pre-screening prior to their interviews, leading to more efficient interviews on the appointment day and less chance of being refused due to incomplete information. Please refer to the below paragraphs for more information about Electronic Document Submission.

Overview

Overview for E-1/E2 countries*

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. Taiwan maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. 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. 

Overview for E-2 only countries*

To qualify for Treaty Investor (E-2) visas applicants must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. Taiwan maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. For a list of all treaty countries, click here.

Qualifications

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. 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-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. 

Dependents

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty traders, treaty investors, or employees of enterprises may also 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. Dependents may apply together with the principal applicant.  They may also apply separately at a later time after the principal applicant has received an E visa.  Dependents must provide proof of family relationship.

E visas permit the trader/investor and his/her family to live in the United States during the period of stay authorized by Department of Homeland Security (DHS). E visas are non-immigrant 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.

How to Apply

To apply for an E visa at AIT, please follow the steps listed below.  If you are applying for an E visa renewal or are applying as a dependent, you should also follow these steps to submit your application.

Step 1: Complete the DS-160 online application

Each applicant should complete a DS-160 online visa application.  Be sure to read the Guidelines for Completing the DS-160 Form carefully.  All information must be complete, correct, and accurate.

Step 2: Create your profile

Once you have completed the DS-160 application you will be able to create your profile in the online applicant system and choose your passport delivery method.  Once logged in, choose “New Application/Schedule appointment” on the left side.  If your family members are applying together with you, you can add their records in your profile without creating a separate profile for each of them.

Step 3: Pay your visa application fee

As you go through your profile in the system, you will be prompted to pay the visa application fee.  For more information about payment options and receipt activation times, click here.  After your payment receipt is activated and your documents are gathered (see step 4), you can go back to your online profile to continue the process. 

Step 4: Gather your documents

Click on the appropriate button below to see what required and supporting documents you should prepare. 

Step 5: Schedule an interview

Please  go back to your online profile to schedule an interview.  To schedule an appointment you will need your DS-160 number and payment fee receipt number.  Please note that you must email your documents to AIT for pre-screening at least two weeks (14 days) prior to the interview date.  Please consider the time you will need to collect your documents prior to scheduling your appointment.

Step 5: Email your supporting documents to AIT (Electronic Document Submission, required starting January 2019)

Please email your supporting documents to AIT at aitevisa@state.gov at least two weeks (14 days) prior to your interview date. This procedure will shorten your visa interview considerably.   If you have scheduled your appointment and we do not receive your electronic documents two weeks (14 days) prior to your interview date, your appointment will be canceled and you must reschedule it to a later date.  Submissions that do not meet the requirements will also be rejected, and may result in a cancellation or postponement of your interview.

Electronic submission requirements:

  • Subject line: You should enter the appointment date/time/the applicant’s name (in English as listed on passport)/and passport number in the subject line.  For example: Jan 2, 2019/13:00/CHEN, Mei Li/123456789
  • Email content: Please enter the following information in your email content.
    - Name of U.S. Enterprise, Business, or Company
    - If more than one applicant from your family is applying together on the same day, please list all applicants’ names, passport numbers, and your relationship. 
    - Your Taiwan phone number.  (We may contact you via email or telephone if additional information is required.  Please check your email before coming to your interview.)
    - Your company’s point of contact information.  (Name of person in charge of E visa applications/Taiwan phone number/email address)
  • Attachment limit: Your submission may not exceed 70 pages in total (supporting documents with more than 70 pages will not be accepted for electronic submission).  The 70-page limit is the sum of all pages in the email package; It is not a per file limitation.
  • Attachment format: Attach one file per Exhibit listed below (the only acceptable file formats are the following: DOC, DOCX, JPEG, JPG).  We do not accept zip or online shared folders or links.
  • Attachment name: Each file must be named according to its Exhibit. Example: For E-1, you must submit 6 files, named Exhibit A- Company Summary, Exhibit B- Cover Letter, etc.  For E-2, you must submit 7 files, named Exhibit A- Company Summary, Exhibit B- Cover Letter, etc.  For dependents, you must submit 1 file named Applicant Information.
  • Email submission: Email these files as 6 (or 7, or 1) attachments to ONE EMAIL to aitevisa@state.gov at least two weeks (14 days) prior to the interview date. 

Please review your email submission before sending it to ensure that all required and supporting documents have been submitted with sufficient resolution and are readable.  In addition to the electronic submission, you should also bring a physical copy of the entire package for the officer to review at the time of interview, and may also bring any additional documentation that did not fit into the 70-page packet to support your application.  We may contact you prior to the interview date for additional information, if needed. 

Step 7: Appear at AIT for an interview

Come to AIT for your interview.  You must bring the following items to your visa interview:

  • Appointment confirmation page
  • One paper photograph (5cmx5cm, color) taken within the last six months with a white or off-white background. Eyeglasses are not allowed in visa photos. This web page has information about the required photo format.
  • Current and old passports for each applicant.  If your previous passports are lost or stolen, you must provide AIT with a Certificate of Entry and Exit Dates (from 1983 to present).  To obtain a Certificate of Entry and Exit Dates, please visit the Taiwan National Immigration Agency’s website for details.  If you have reported your passport lost or stolen, please also provide the police report.
  • A receipt showing payment of US$205 non-refundable nonimmigrant visa application processing fee for each applicant, paid in local currency.
  • A physical copy of the required supporting documents you submitted electronically and any additional relevant documents that did not fit into the 70-page packet.  Please use paper clips to separate each exhibit.  Do NOT staple or put documents in sheet protectors.
  • If you have legally changed your name, please bring your most recent Taiwan Household Registration Record (with detailed notes). If you are not a Taiwan resident, please bring your Taiwan Alien Resident Certificate or your Taiwan visa information.
  • If you have been arrested or convicted for any offense or crime, please bring the police record or court documents to your interview.  (If the original record was not written in English, please also provide an English translation.)  Please also provide a Taiwan Police Criminal Record Certificate regardless of where you were arrested or convicted.
  • If you have abandoned your U.S. lawful permanent resident status (or green card), please provide proof of abandonment.
  • Depending on your citizenship, you may also have to pay a visa issuance or “reciprocity” fee at AIT on your interview day.  (AIT strongly advises all customers to bring cash, as our system does not always accommodate credit card transactions. Thank you.)  Taiwan passport holders are not required to pay this fee based on current Taiwan reciprocity schedule

The consular officer may still request additional documentation to determine your eligibility for an E visa since circumstances vary greatly by applicant.  For detailed requirements for E visa category and a complete list of suggested documents, review 9 Foreign Affairs Manual 402.9 Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor.

Children below age 14 do not have to accompany their parents to AIT for an interview, but they must be physically present in Taiwan on the date of their family’s scheduled appointment.

Access to the AIT’s Nonimmigrant Visa Unit is limited to the following:

  • Applicants;
  • Parents or legal guardians of applicants under 18 years old;
  • Aides of disabled applicants

Appointment holders must have an appointment confirmation page and may not be admitted more than 30 minutes before or after their appointment time.

Step 8: Receive your passport back

You can check your visa application status here.  If your visa application is approved, you will receive your passport back via the method chosen in Step 2, usually within three business days after the visa interview. You can track the status of your passport delivery using your passport number.  Please do not make unchangeable travel plans until you have received your visa. 

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

 

Exhibit A-Company Summary 

Complete the E-1 Treaty Trader U.S. Company Summary

(fill in accurate answer to each item as requested, enter text/data/numbers only, save the form in DOC or DOCX format when submit electronically) 

Exhibit B-Cover Letter

 

A signed letter from a responsible official at company, describing exactly and precisely how the enterprise and applicant meet the qualifications for an E-1 visa:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)  Please do not include lengthy citations from the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) or the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country.  (see 9 FAM 402.9-4(A) and 402.9-10)
  • Company is at least 50% owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.  (see 9 FAM 402.9-4(B)) (to be documented in Exhibit D)
  • Trade is substantial and within the meaning for E-1 purposes. (see 9 FAM 402.9-5(B) and 9 FAM 402.9-5(C)) (to be documented in Exhibit E and F)
  • Trade is occurring principally between the U.S. and the treat country. (more than 50% of the international trade involved) (see 9 FAM 402.9-5(D)) (to be documented in Exhibit E and F)
  • The applicant, if an employee, will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States (see 9 FAM 402.9-7(B) and (C)) (to be documented in Exhibit C)
  • Applicant intends to depart United States when E status ends (see 9 FAM 402.9-4(C)) (to be documented in Exhibit C)

Exhibit C-Applicant Information

 

Applicant Information:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160 Confirmation page for each applicant
  • A completed and signed DS-156E Treaty Trader/Investor Visa Application Form (for principal applicant only, not required for dependents)
    (Company name on the applications must be exactly the same name which has been registered at the state government.  Contact information must include an e-mail address and local Taiwan phone number.)
  • Applicant’s CV, highest degree diploma(s)
  • Skills or training certificates (if any)
  • Organization chart showing current staffing pattern at U.S. company (with applicant name and position title highlighted)
  • A signed statement addressing the applicant’s intent to depart the United States when his/her E-visa status ends
  • (if married) Household registration with detailed notes, or marriage certificate
  • (if changed status previously while in the U.S.) Copies of I-797  approvals

Exhibit D-Ownership

Proof of treaty country ownership (at least 50%) and controlling interest in the enterprise:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • An ownership chart with owners’ names showing the full ownership structure of the enterprise
  • If the enterprise has several owners or subsidiaries or if the chain of ownership includes intermediary entities, please provide legal proof of ownership for each entity within a respective chain.
  • Useful supporting documents include: articles of incorporation or articles of organization, business license, stock/shares certificates, stock/shares ledger (indicating total and outstanding shares issued), shareholders meeting minutes, operating agreement, copies of each owner’s passport biographical data page and proof of his/her ownership share, annual report, proof showing company is publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, or other evidence.

Exhibit E-Trade

Evidence that trade is substantial and that more than 50 percent of the company’s international trade is principally between the U.S. and the treaty country (for example, Taiwan):

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • Please provide accurate data on item 10 of your DS-156E and provide evidence to support data.
  • If the treaty trader in the U.S. is a legal person, please provide evidence showing that trade conducted by the U.S. company meets this 50% requirement.
  • If the treaty trader in the U.S is only a branch instead of a legal person, please provide evidence showing trade conducted by the foreign-based (for example Taiwan) head business meets this 50% requirement.
  • Useful supporting documents include: a spreadsheet signed by a responsible official listing company’s total trade volumes at cost (exporting and importing) by countries showing percentage of international trade, a certified public accountant letter, audited financial statement, a custom declarations, or other evidence.

Exhibit F-Financial Statement

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • IRS Form 941: page 1 and 2 for the most recent four quarters
  • Most recent financial reports including income statement and balance sheet of the U.S. enterprise
  • If the enterprise has existed less than one year, please also provide sales invoices, sales contracts, bills of lading, or other evidence.
  • U.S. business income tax returns:
    (If the enterprise has existed more than one year, please also provide tax documents for the most recent three fiscal years.)
    - Corporation: IRS Form 1120 (pages 1 and 5)
    - Foreign corporation: IRS Form 1120-F (pages1, 3, 4, and 7)
    - Partnership and LLC: IRS Form 1065 (page 1 to 5)
    - Private Ownership: Form 1040 and Schedule C
  • Other evidence

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

 

Exhibit A-Company Summary

Complete the E-2 Treaty Trader U.S. Company Summary

(fill in accurate answer to each item as requested, enter text/data/numbers only, save the form in DOC or DOCX format when submit electronically) 

Exhibit B-Cover Letter 

A signed letter from a responsible official at company, describing exactly and precisely how the enterprise and applicant meet the qualifications for an E-2 visa:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically) 
Please do not include lengthy citations from the Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) or the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country.  (see 9 FAM 402.9-4(A) and 402.9-10)
  • Company is at least 50% owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.  (see 9 FAM 402.9-4(B)) (to be documented in Exhibit D)
  • Investor has invested or is actively in the process of investing (see 9 FAM 402.9-6(B)) (to be documented in Exhibit E)
  • Enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise (see 9 FAM 402.9-6(C)) (to be documented in Exhibit F)
  • Investment is substantial (see 9 FAM 402.9-6(D)) (to be documented in Exhibit E)
  • Investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living (see 9 FAM 402.9-6(E)) (to be documented in Exhibit G)
  • Applicant is in position to "develop and direct" the enterprise (see 9 FAM 402.9-6(F)) (to be documented in Exhibit D and C)
  • Applicant, if an employee, will fill an executive/supervisory role or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States (see 9 FAM 402.9-7(B) and (C)) (to be documented in Exhibit C)
  • Applicant intends to depart United States when E status ends (see 9 FAM 402.9-4(C)) (to be documented in Exhibit C)

Exhibit C-Applicant Information 

Applicant Information:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160 Confirmation page for each applicant
  • A completed and signed DS-156E Treaty Trader/Investor Visa Application Form for principal applicant only
    (Company name on the applications must be exactly the same name which has been registered at the state government.  Contact information must include an e-mail address and local Taiwan phone number.)
  • Applicant’s CV, highest degree diploma(s)
  • Skills or training certificates (if any)
  • Organization chart showing current staffing pattern at U.S. company (with applicant name and position title highlighted)
  • A signed statement addressing the applicant’s intent to depart the United States when his/her E-visa status ends
  • (if married) Household registration with detailed notes, or marriage certificate
  • (if changed status previously while in the U.S.) Copies of I-797 approvals

Exhibit D-Ownership

Proof of treaty country ownership (at least 50%) and controlling interest in the enterprise:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • An ownership chart with owners’ names showing the full ownership structure of the enterprise
  • If the enterprise has several owners or subsidiaries or if the chain of ownership includes intermediary entities, please provide legal proof of ownership for each entity within a respective chain.
  • Useful supporting documents include: articles of incorporation or articles of organization, business license, stock/shares certificates, stock/shares ledger (indicating total and outstanding shares issued), shareholders meeting minutes, operating agreement, copies of each owner’s passport biographical data page and proof of his/her ownership share, annual report, proof showing company is publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, or other evidence..

Exhibit E-Investment

Proof that funds are invested or that the investor is actively investing and evidence that investment is substantial:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • Wire transfer statements / Bank statements
  • Escrow documents / franchise agreement (if any)
  • List of investments
  • List of expenses (for newly established company)
  • Other evidence

Exhibit F-Real and Operating

Proof that the enterprise is currently running or will open its doors very soon:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • Lease agreement
  • Business licenses/permits
  • Occupational license
  • Signed contracts (if any)
  • Other evidence

Exhibit G-Marginality and Financial Statement

Proof that investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living:

(must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

  • Payroll register or salaries records
  • IRS Form 941: page 1 and 2 for the most recent four quarters
  • Most recent financial reports including income statement and balance sheet of the U.S. enterprise
  • Business plan for new enterprise
  • U.S. business income tax returns:  
    (If the enterprise has existed more than one year, please also provide tax documents for the most recent three fiscal years.)
    - Corporation: IRS Form 1120 (pages 1 and 5)
    - Foreign corporation: IRS Form 1120-F (pages1, 3, 4, and 7)
    - Partnership and LLC: IRS Form 1065 (page 1 to 5)
    - Private Ownership: Form 1040 and Schedule C
  • Other evidence

Required and Supporting Documents for Dependents

(Documents must be in DOC, DOCX, JPEG, or JPG format when submit electronically)

Applicant Information

  • Nonimmigrant Visa Application DS-160 Confirmation page (for each applicant)
  • Proof of the family relationship, such as Taiwan household registration record (with detailed notes), marriage certificate, birth certificate, adoption certificate.
  • (if applying separately with the principal applicant at a later time) A copy of the principal applicant’s current valid E visa
  • (if changed status previously while in the U.S.) Copies of I-797 approvals

Note: For dependents who apply for their visas separately, on a case-by-case basis we may request the submission of the full supporting documents of the principal applicant.

* With respect to all references to “country” or “countries” on this page, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.”  22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1).  Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in this context are read to include Taiwan.  This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.