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E-1 Treaty Trader visa allows foreign companies and their employees to come to the U.S. to buy and sell their products and services. E-2 visa allows investors to operate their business in the U.S.

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.

For a list of participating countries, go to the following link and select Treaty Trader” visa

You must be coming to the United States to:

  • engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; or
  • develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.

Call Irina Vinogradsky go get help with obtaining E-1 visa.

To qualify for a Treaty Trader E-1 Visa:

You must be a citizen of a treaty country.

  • The trading firm for which you plan to come 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, meaning that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
  • More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the United States and the treaty country.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • You must be an essential employee, employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinarily skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

Please note that the volume of trade is more important than the dollar amount of trade. For example, it is better to have a sale of 1,000 widgets, $1 each, than to sell one machine for $1,000.

 To qualify for a Treaty Investor E-2 Visa:

Authority under the provisions of INA 101(a)(15)(E)(ii).

Requirements for applicant:

(i) Has invested or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in bona fide enterprise in the United States, as distinct from a relatively small amount of capital in a marginal enterprise solely for the purpose of earning a living; and
(ii) Is seeking entry solely to develop and direct the enterprise; ande-2 investment
(iii) Intends to depart from the United States upon the termination of E-2 status.

Investor must be an employee of the enterprise

  • The investor must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise.
  • The investor (either a person, partnership, or corporate entity) must have the citizenship of a treaty country.
  • If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.
  • The investor must be engaged in duties of an executive or supervisor of the business, or have special qualifications to be essential for the business.
  • Ordinarily skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.


  • Funds and assets must be at risk  in the commercial sense.
  • The investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
  • . Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • It must generate significantly more income than just providing a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  • Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.

Bona fide enterprise

  • The investment (funds or assets) must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative, or idle investment does not qualify.

Substantial amount of capital 

  • The investment amount must be proportionate to the type of enterprise. Consulting company vs. gas station.
  • The amount of investment should be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the business.
  • The amount of investment must sufficient to fund the business operation.

Marginal enterprise

“A marginal enterprise is an enterprise that does not have the present or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide a minimal living for the treaty investor and his or her family.” The investment should be such that within 5 years of the investment the business be fully operational.


Visas may be issued for up to 5 years, but admission is limited to 2 years at a time. No maximum applies but it is strictly for non-immigrant visas.

One should apply directly at a U.S. consulate abroad or apply for change his or status with USCIS.

Immediate Relatives

Immediate relative family members of the E Principal Investor and E-2 Employees are entitled to enter the United States as E-2 Dependents. Immediate family members include the spouse of the visa holder and unmarried children under the age of 21. If the children become 21 years old or get married, they automatically lose their E-2 status. If the principal E-2 visa holder and the E-2 dependent spouse gets divorced, the spouse will lose their E-2 status.


Q: So, how much do you need to invest to get your E-2 visa approved ?

A: The law does not specify a minimum dollar amount to qualify. Instead, “substantial investment” is defined as large enough to:
• Lead to the successful operation of the E-2 enterprise,
• Ensure that the investment enterprise must be more than a marginal business solely for earning the investor’s living.

Example. If  the applicant,  E-2  business investor ,  can work from home without renting an office, and she already owns the major asset – the extensive book of business contracts or a patent, the $30,000 initial investment could be sufficient  but if an investor wants to open a hotel in Napa Valley,  applicant’s financial commitment can not be qualified as a substantial investment.


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