The ABC’S Of Immigration: E-1 and E-2 Visas
The list of E-1 and E-2 countries has changed very little over the last few years. However,
recently signed free trade agreements with Chile and Singapore now mean E-1 and E-2
visas are available to nationals of those countries. We are updating our ABCs article on this
topic in order to account for the addition of these two countries to the program.
What is an E-1/E-2 visa?
Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides treaty
trader/investor nonimmigrant status for a national of any of the countries with which an
appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation exists.
An individual who wishes to go to the US to carry on substantial trade, principally between
the US and his/her own country, may apply for a treaty trader visa (E1). Someone who is
going to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which
he/she has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of
capital is welcome to apply for a treaty investor visa (E2). The category is popular because
unlike the L-1 category, it is not necessary to maintain a business outside the US and also
because unlike L-1 status, E-1 and E-2 visas can be renewed every five years without
What documents are required to apply?
There are documents required for both visas and some documents required for either the
E-1 or E-2 visa.
E-1 Treaty Traders must submit a comprehensive letter from the principal alien’s
company or employer identifying the applicant and describing in detail the nature
and function of the business and the applicant’s position. The letter must be on the
current business/employers letterhead, with an original signature from an
authorized company representative, and must be addressed to the Visa Office,
Department of State. The letter should demonstrate the applicant’s entitlement to
E-1 status based on the continued trade between the US and the country of the
applicant’s nationality. The letter must