Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor Visas

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Overview

Our E visa company registration procedures have changed.  We will continue to accept paper submissions under the old guidelines until June 30.  Beginning July 1, we will only accept submissions that follow the guidelines below.

Read more about Treaty Investor (E-1) and Treaty Trader (E-2) visas here.

Application Items

To apply for a Treaty Trader (E-1) visa or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa, company registration is required. You must also submit the following:

  • Form DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application. Visit the DS-160 web page for more information about the DS-160
  • Form DS-156E, Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application. (After opening the link, type “156” in the Keyword field to search for the form.)
  • A passport valid for travel to the United States with a validity date 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.
  • Your expired passports issued within the past 10 years.
  • One color photograph 2"x2" (5cm x 5cm) taken within 6 months against a white background without eyeglasses.
  • An interview appointment letter confirming that you booked an appointment through this service.
  • (Not required for Green Program company employees) A company letter describing the enterprise, the applicant's qualifications, and number of family members intending to travel.
  • (Not required for Green Program company employees) Corporate organizational chart of your U.S. company showing how your position fits into the organization.

Non-Japanese applicants must also include:

  • Photocopy (both sides) of the Japanese Alien Registration Card or “Zairyu” card.

Dependents must bring Form DS-160, passport(s), and photographs, plus:

  • Original marriage (for spouse) and/or birth (for unmarried children under 21) certificate, as applicable.
  • A copy of the principal applicant's visa if dependents apply for their visas at a later date.

In addition to these items, please bring whatever supporting documents you believe support the information provided to the consular officer.  If a visa is issued, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee, depending on your nationality.

Company Registration Overview

The first step in applying for a Treaty Trader or a Treaty Investor visa is to establish the qualification of the company or operation in the United States. All companies seeking E visas for their owners or employees must register with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate in Osaka according to the instructions below.

If your company is already registered, individual applicants may proceed directly to the visa application stage.  Click here to apply at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or the U.S. Consulate in Osaka or Naha. Click to apply at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka or Sapporo.

All companies are subject to periodic information updates to ensure that they remain qualified E Visa companies.  The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo or U.S. Consulate in Osaka will contact companies when document updates are required.  Registered companies are no longer required to send financial or other documents to the Embassy/Consulate unless specifically requested.

Green Program

The Green Program is a Mission Japan initiative which aims to reduce the amount of paperwork required for each employee from qualified E visa companies.

Eligibility for the Green Program has been expanded.  Companies may now join if they meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • The U.S. company and its U.S. subsidiaries have more than 500 U.S. citizen / LPR employees in the United States.
  • The U.S. company and its U.S. subsidiaries have more than $1billion in trade value (E-1) or revenue (E-2).
  • The U.S. company and its U.S. subsidiaries have more than $100 million in U.S. assets.

No extra steps are necessary to apply for Green Program membership.  The Embassy/Consulate will consider every company for Green Program membership at the time of registration or visa application, and will inform those that meet the criteria.

Application Procedures for Company Registration

Step 1: 

Log in to our online appointment system and create a profile for the company’s first applicant.  After you have paid the visa application fee, save your 12-digit receipt number for your records.

* Please DO NOT MAKE AN APPOINTMENT at this point.  The Embassy/Consulate will inform the E visa applicant or the company representative when the review is complete and the appointment can be scheduled

Step 2:

Please send your application and supporting documents to the U.S. Embassy Tokyo or the Consulate General Osaka-Kobe via email to the address below.  To prevent a delay in processing, please carefully follow the instructions below. If the application is incomplete, the U.S. Embassy Tokyo or Consulate General Osaka-Kobe will contact the principal applicant and/or legal representative for resubmission of documents.

  1. Create a folder.
  • Top folder: Use the U.S. company’s name as the folder name.
  • Sub folders:  Name subfolders Tab 1, Tab 2, and Tab 3 for E1, or Tab 1, Tab 2, Tab 3, Tab 4, Tab 5 for E2.

2. Submit the required documents as listed in the Document Checklists below.  Save all documents as PDF files in portrait orientation, one folder each for Tabs 1-3.  Provide all documents in type-written English.  Submit the application as an attachment in a single email under the required page and attachment size limit.  Required documents are listed in the Document Checklists below.

3. Compress the folder in Zip format.

4. Email the complete package to JapanEVisa@state.gov using subject line "Location of company registration, U.S. company name”.  For example, “Tokyo, Acme USA”, or “Osaka, Auto Parts Inc."

Step 3: 

We will notify you by email when you are ready to interview.  Please wait until you receive a reply from the U.S. Embassy Tokyo or Consulate General Osaka-Kobe before inquiring on the status of your application.  Your visa interview will take place at the location to which you submitted your application packet.

Important Notes:

  • Please do not include additional documents unless requested.
  • Attach English translations to all documents which are in a foreign language, including Japanese.
  • Please do not make an appointment until the Embassy or Consulate General informs the applicant or the company representative that the review is complete and the appointment can be scheduled.
  • New company registrations are processed and visa interviews are conducted at U.S. Embassy Tokyo and Consulate General Osaka-Kobe using the same procedures and criteria.  Submit your application packet to the most convenient location for your visa interview.  Your visa interview will take place at the location to which you submitted your application packet.

Document Checklist for Company Registration (Private Company)

For companies whose ultimate Japanese parent company is unlisted or a sole proprietorship

Save documents in the order stipulated below.  The package must be no longer than 70 pages or 50MB.  Documents in Tab 1 do not count towards the 70-page limit.

Tab 1

Basic Documents:

    • DS-160 confirmation page.
    • Form DS-156E Part I, II, & III.
    • Company letter describing how the business and applicant qualify for E1 or E2 status.  See below for specific requirements.
    • Organizational chart of your U.S. company showing how the applicant’s position fits into the organization.  If necessary, use one page for the entire U.S. company and one page for the section the applicant will work in.
    • Your resume/CV.
    • A copy of I-797 reflecting any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS, if applicable.
    • Payment record.  We cannot accept your application until payment is verified.
    • Form G-28 “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative”, including contact email address and phone number, if applicable.

Tab 2

Nationality of the Enterprise (9 FAM 402.9-4(B)).  Please include:

    • Detailed chart of corporate structure.  Please indicate all stakeholders that have a capital relationship with the E1 or E2 company.  Follow the chain of ownership until you reach the ultimate Japanese owner(s).  Please also indicate each party’s shareholding ratio (i.e., shares held by each firm and individual owner).
    • Articles of Incorporation or Organization, sole proprietorship certificate.
    • Stock ledger for each stakeholder.
    • For sole proprietorship, please submit a detailed statement about the nationality of affiliated companies and passport copies (or legal documents) of majority shareholders to prove their nationality.

Tab 3

(For E1) Trade (9 FAM 402.9-5).  Please include:

    • Spreadsheet listing the date, invoice number, and dollar value of recent transactions.  For a large volume of trade, please select the top 3 monthly sales transactions for each of the last 6 months.
    • Bills of lading, air waybills, invoices, and evidence of payments made from/to the United States for the above-mentioned transactions.  Please organize the documents per transaction and highlight the amount to reflect the monetary transaction.
    • Independent (non-consolidated) financial statements or U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns (page 1-6 (to Schedule L)) for the past three years.  U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms submitted to the IRS or IRS tax transcripts.
    • Circular chart: From your U.S. company’s point of view, circular chart of total trade volumes at cost (exporting and importing) by country showing percentage of international trade.

(For E2) Investment (9 FAM 402.9-6).  Please include:

If you are establishing a start-up company:

    • Evidence to show the origination of all funds used to pay for the enterprise. Explain the source of the funds and reason for receiving such funds. Include copies of all original wire transfers from overseas or domestic bank accounts.
    • List of investments showing the invoice date, item(s) purchased, amount, payment information, etc.
    • Evidence of payments: Bank statements with matching debits highlighted.

If you are buying an existing business:

    • Documents related to purchase.
    • Evidence of payment(s) (copies of wire transfer, bank statements, cancelled check, closing escrow statements, etc.)

If you have invested or are in the process of investing:

    • Evidence to show the origination of all funds used to pay for the enterprise. Explain the source of the funds and reason for receiving such funds. Include copies of all original wire transfers from overseas or domestic bank accounts.
    • List of investments showing the invoice date, item(s) purchased, amount, payment information, etc.
    • Evidence of payments: Bank statements with matching debits highlighted.

Tab 4 (E2 only)

Real and Operating (9 FAM 402.9-6(C)).  Evidence may include:

    • Annual reports, sales literature, news articles, etc.  If available online, please submit a URL in lieu of actual documents.
    • Business licenses or permits.
    • Office lease.
    • Pictures of the business premises and equipment.

Tab 5 (E2 only)

Marginality (9 FAM 402.9-6(E)).  Please include:

    • Independent (non-consolidated) financial statements or U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns (page 1-6 (to Schedule L)) for the past three years.  U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms submitted to the IRS or IRS tax transcripts.
    • Most recent IRS W-2 forms for all employees or the first page of Form 941 for the last 4 quarters.
    • (For a new business) Business plan, including specific details about the business to be conducted and projections for business expenses, sales, gross income and profits or losses.

Document Checklist for Company Registration (Public Company)

For companies whose ultimate parent company is exclusively listed on an exchange market in Japan

Save documents in the order stipulated below.  The package must be no longer than 50 pages.  Documents in Tab 1 do not count towards the 50-page limit or 50MB.

Tab 1

Basic Documents:

    • DS-160 confirmation page.
    • Form DS-156E Part I, II & III.
    • Company letter describing how the business and applicant qualify for E1 or E2 status.  See below for specific requirements.
    • Organizational chart of your U.S. company showing how the applicant’s position fits into the organization.  If necessary, use one page for the entire U.S. company and one page for the section the applicant will work in.
    • Your resume/CV.
    • A copy of I-797 reflecting any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS, if applicable.
    • Payment record.  We cannot accept your application until payment is verified.
    • G-28: “Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative”, including contact email address and phone number, if applicable.

Tab 2

Nationality of the enterprise (9 FAM 402.9-4(B)).  Please include:

    • Detailed chart of corporate structure.  Please indicate all companies that have a capital relationship with the E1 or E2 company. Follow the chain of ownership until you reach the ultimate Japanese parent company, which is listed exclusively on an exchange market in Japan.  Include the share ownership ratio for each company.

Tab 3

(For E1) Trade (9 FAM 402.9-5).  Please include:

    • A spreadsheet listing the date, invoice number, and dollar value of recent transactions.  In case of large volume of trade, please select the top 3 monthly sales transactions for each of the last 6 months.
    • Bills of lading, air waybills, invoices, and evidence of payments made from/to the United States for the above-mentioned transactions.  Please organize the documents per transaction and highlight the amount to reflect the monetary transaction.
    • Independent (non-consolidated) financial statements or U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns (page 1-6 (to Schedule L)) for the past three years.  U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms submitted to the IRS or IRS tax transcripts.

(For E2) Investment (9 FAM 402.9-6).  Please include:

    • A list of investments showing the invoice date, item(s) purchased, amount, and payment information.
    • Evidence of payments: Bank statements with matching debits highlighted

Tab 4 (E2 only)

Real and Operating (9 FAM 402.9-6(C)).  Evidence may include:

    • Annual reports, sales literature, news articles, etc.  If available online, please submit a URL in lieu of actual documents.
    • Pictures of the business premises and equipment.

Tab 5 (E2 only)

Marginality (9 FAM 402.9-6(E)).  Please include:

    • Most recent independent (non-consolidated) financial statements or U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax returns (Schedule L pages 1-6) (U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms submitted to the IRS or IRS tax transcripts).

Instructions for Completing Application Documents

DS-156E

Please answer all questions (#1 through #27).  If you leave a required field blank, we will ask you to re-do the form.

    • #1: The company name on the DS-156E must be exactly the same as registered with the state government.
    • #3: If there is not enough space in the box, please write “See attached” and submit information on a separate sheet.
    • #10: Required field for both E1 and E2 companies.  If an E2 company is also engaged in trade between Japan and the United States as its main business, please fill in this field.  If not applicable, enter “N/A”.
    • #12: Required field for both E1 and E2 companies.  Put the most recent financial information in the “Total Cumulative Investment”.
    • #15: If there are more than 7 applicable employees, write “available upon request” in line 8.  We may request your full employee list.
    • #26: Include the responsible officer’s signature and date.
    • #27: Include your contact email address.

Company letter

This letter must address all requirements for E visa eligibility as defined by the Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9 including:

For E1 applicants:

    • The requisite treaty exists (9 FAM 402.9-4)
    • The individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country (9 FAM 402.9-4(B))
    • The activities constitute trade within the meaning of INA 101(a)(15)(E) (9 FAM 402.9-5(B))
    • The applicant is going to the United States solely to engage in substantial trade (9 FAM 402.9-5(C))
    • The trade is principally between the United States and the treaty country (9 FAM 402.9-5(D))
    • The applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States (9 FAM 402.9-7)
    • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E1 status terminates (9 FAM 402.9-4(C))

For E2 applicants:

    • The requisite treaty exists (9 FAM 402.9-4)
    • The individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country (9 FAM 402.9-4(B))
    • The applicant has invested or is in the process of investing (9 FAM 402.9-6(B))
    • The enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise (9 FAM 402.9-6(D))
    • The applicant’s investment is substantial (9 FAM 402.9-6(E))
    • The investment is more than a marginal one solely for earning a living (9 FAM 402.9-6(F))
    • The applicant is in a position to “develop and direct” the enterprise (9 FAM 402.9-6(G))
    • The applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States (9 FAM 402.9-6)
    • The applicant intends to depart the United States when the E2 status terminates (9 FAM 402.9-4(C))