E-1 TREATY TRADERS VISA
Allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Carry on substantial trade
- Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification
Who May File for Change of Status to E-1 Classification
If the treaty trader is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1 classification. If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf.
How to Obtain E-1 Classification if Outside the United States
A request for E-1 classification may not be made on Form I-129 if the person being filed for is physically outside the United States. Interested parties should refer to the U.S. Department of State website for further information about applying for an E-1 nonimmigrant visa abroad. Upon issuance of a visa, the person may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-1 nonimmigrant.
General Qualifications of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:
Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
Carry on substantial trade
Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.
Trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. Items of trade include but are not limited to:
Technology and its transfer
Some news-gathering activities.
See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(9) for additional examples and discussion.
Substantial trade generally refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time. There is no minimum requirement regarding the monetary value or volume of each transaction. While monetary value of transactions is an important factor in considering substantiality, greater weight is given to more numerous exchanges of greater value. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(10) for further details.
Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists when over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the U.S. and the trader’s treaty country. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(11).
General Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E-1 classification, the employee of a treaty trader must:
Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
Meet the definition of “employee” under the relevant law
Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader status. If the owners are not in the United States, they must be, if they were to seek admission to this country, classifiable as nonimmigrant treaty traders. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(3)(ii).
Duties which are of an executive or supervisory character are those which primarily provide the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s overall operation, or a major component of it. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(17) for a more complete definition.
Special qualifications are skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business. There are several qualities or circumstances which could, depending on the facts, meet this requirement. These include, but are not limited to:
The degree of proven expertise in the employee’s area of operations
Whether others possess the employee’s specific skills
The salary that the special qualifications can command
Whether the skills and qualifications are readily available in the United States
Knowledge of a foreign language and culture does not, by itself, meet this requirement. Note that in some cases a skill that is essential at one point in time may become commonplace, and therefore no longer qualifying, at a later date. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(18) for a more complete definition.
Period of Stay
Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-1 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
An E-1 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.
Terms and Conditions of E-1 Status
A treaty trader or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted. An E-1 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:
Relationship between the organizations is established
Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills
Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.
See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(8)(ii) for details.
USCIS must approve any substantive change in the terms or conditions of E-1 status. A “substantive change” is defined as a fundamental change in the employer’s basic characteristics, such as, but not limited to, a merger, acquisition, or major event which affects the treaty trader or employee’s previously approved relationship with the organization. The treaty trader or enterprise must notify USCIS by filing a new Form I-129 with fee, and may simultaneously request an extension of stay for the treaty trader or affected employee. The petition must include evidence to show that the treaty trader or affected employee continues to qualify for E-1 classification.
It is not required to file a new Form I-129 to notify USCIS about non-substantive changes. A treaty trader or organization may seek advice from USCIS, however, to determine whether a change is considered substantive. To request advice, the treaty trader or organization must file Form I-129 with fee and a complete description of the change.
See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(8) for more information on terms and conditions of E-1 treaty trader status.
A strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage at the intended place of employment may affect a Canadian or Mexican treaty trader or employee’s ability to obtain E-1 status. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(22) for details.
Family of E-1 Treaty Traders and Employees
Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee. These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. If the family members are already in the United States and seeking change of status to or extension of stay in an E-1 dependent classification, they may apply by filing a single Form I-539 with fee. Spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-1 spouse may work.
As discussed above, the E-1 treaty trader or employee may travel abroad and will generally be granted an automatic two-year period of admission when returning to the United States. Unless the family members are accompanying the E-1 treaty trader or employee at the time the latter seeks admission to the United States, the new readmission period will not apply to the family members. To remain lawfully in the United States, family members must carefully note the period of stay they have been granted in E-1 status, and apply for an extension of stay before their own validity expires.
E-2 TREATY INVESTORS VISA
The E-2 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
- Purpose of entering the United States is solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device
Length of Stay
Your E-2 CNMI investor status is valid in the CNMI initially for two years. If you have a spouse or minor children accompanying or following to join you in the CNMI, they will have the same validity period as you. An E-2 CNMI Investor status is extendable in 2 year increments ending on December 31, 2019.
Extending Your Stay
To apply for an extension of stay, you must file a new Form I-129 and Supplement E with the required evidence and fee.
Individuals in the CNMI seeking an initial Grant of Status in the CNMI
There is additional guidance you must follow if you are requesting an initial grant of nonimmigrant status in the CNMI. For more information please visit the grant of status webpage.
General Qualifications for an E-2 CNMI Investor
To qualify for E-2 CNMI Investor status, you must:
Have been admitted to the CNMI with a long-term investor visa under CNMI immigration law before November 28, 2009
Have continuously maintained residence in the CNMI under long-term investor status
Currently maintain the investment(s) that formed the basis for the CNMI long-term investor status
Otherwise be allowed to enter the United States under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)
CNMI Investor Statuses that Qualify for E2C Status
You qualify for E-2 CNMI Investor status if you held one of the following long-term CNMI investor statuses under CNMI Immigration law:
A long-term business investor who was issued a long-term business certificate by the CNMI based upon an investment of at least $50,000
A foreign investor with a foreign investment certificate issued by the CNMI based upon an investment of at least $100,000 in an aggregate approved investment in excess of $2 million or at least $250,000 in a single approved investment
A retiree investor over the age of 55 years who was issued a foreign retiree investment certificate based upon a qualifying investment in an approved residence in the CNMI (but not including the 2-year non-renewable retiree investor program limited to Japanese nationals)
CNMI Investor Statuses that Do Not Qualify for E-2 Status
You are not eligible for an E2C visa if you held one of the following CNMI investor statuses under CNMI Immigration law:
The sub-category of the retiree investor specifically limited to Japanese retirees
Short-term business entry permits
Regular-term business entry permits
All documentation previously submitted in each investor application to the CNMI government should be submitted as part of each E-2 CNMI Investor petition to USCIS.
All individuals must provide the following evidence of admission to the CNMI in long term investor status prior to November 28, 2009, consisting of:
A valid unexpired foreign passport
A properly endorsed CNMI admission document (e.g., entry permit, entry certificate or foreign investor visa) reflecting lawful admission to the CNMI in long-term business investor, foreign investor, or retiree foreign investor status
An unexpired Long-Term Business Certificate, Foreign Investment Certificate, or a Foreign Retiree Investment Certificate
Individuals with a CNMI-issued foreign investor entry permit or long-term business entry permit
An applicant with a CNMI-issued foreign investor entry permit or long-term business entry permit must submit evidence to show that he or she has maintained his or her investment with the E-2 CNMI Investor petition. This evidence includes all of the following, as applicable:
An approval letter issued by the CNMI government
Evidence that capital has been invested, such as bank statements, receipts or contracts for assets purchased, stock purchase transaction records, loan or other borrowing agreements, land leases, financial statements, business gross tax receipts, or other agreements supporting the application
Evidence that the applicant has invested at least the minimum amount required, such as evidence of assets purchased or property transferred from abroad for use in the enterprise, evidence of monies transferred or committed to be transferred to the new or existing enterprise in exchange for shares of stock, any loan or mortgage, promissory note, security agreement or other evidence of borrowing secured by assets of the applicant
A comprehensive business plan for new enterprises
Articles of incorporation, by-laws, partnership agreements, joint venture agreements, corporate minutes and annual reports, affidavits, declarations or certifications of paid-in capital
Current business licenses
Foreign business registration records, recent tax returns of any kind, evidence of other sources of capital
A listing of all resident and nonresident employees
A listing of all holders of business certificates for the business establishment
A listing of all corporations in which the applicant has a controlling interest
Copies of annual reports of investment activities in the CNMI showing that the certificate holder of a foreign investment is under continuing compliance with the standards required. Each report must be accompanied by an annual financial audit report performed by an independent certified public accountant
Individuals with a CNMI-issued retiree investor permit
CNMI retiree investors should submit the following with their applications for E-2 CNMI Investor status:
Proof that the foreign applicant has an interest in property in the CNMI, such as a lease agreement
Proof of the value of that property, such as an appraisal
Proof of any improvements to the property, which could include receipts or invoices of the costs of construction, the amount paid for a preexisting structure, or an appraisal of improvements
The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia. One must have a job offer in the United States. This visa can be renewed indefinitely. The purpose of coming to the United States is solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields and at least the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent.
To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate that you:
- Are a national of Australia
- Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
- Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
- Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation
Applying for an E-3 Visa from Within the United States
The Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is used to apply for a change of status to obtain E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification.
Your Form I-129 must include the following documents:
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) which cannot be the same application used in a previous H-1B application. Until the Department of Labor develops a new LCA for an E-3, the applicant should use the standard ETA-9035 and ask that it be annotated as an E-3 LCA
Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
Job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that you will be engaged in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
If required, before you may commence employment in the specialty occupation, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation
Applying for a Visa With a U.S. Embassy or Consulate
If your petition Form I-129 is approved, we will forward a Form I-797, Notice of Action/Approval to the employer, who in turn will forward it to you. A Form I-797 approval notice is not a U.S. visa, as the visa must be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. After Form I-129 is approved by USCIS, the next step is to apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, generally in your country of residence abroad. Please visit the Department of State, Travel.state.gov Temporary Workers webpage for visa information, how-to-apply procedures, and U.S. embassy web contact information to learn more.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
Initial Period of Stay
Extension of Stay
2 years Up to 2 years per extension; no maximum number of extensions, with some exceptions.
Change of Employment
Your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application and a new E-3 visa application. The gap between the jobs must be 10 days or less.
Note: Form I-129 is used to apply for an extension of stay or change of employment.
Family of E-3 Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the same E-3 classification. Your spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not your children. To apply for work authorization as a spouse of an E-3 nonimmigrant, your spouse would file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on the application procedures,