There are 3 categories in E visa: Treaty Trader (E-1), Treaty Investor (E-2), and Australian Specialty Occupation Worker (E-3).
The E category includes treaty traders and investors who come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which the treaty trader or investor is a citizen or national. This category also includes Australian specialty occupation workers.
- Treaty traders carry on substantial trade in goods, including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals.
- Treaty investors direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing, a substantial amount of money.
- Australian specialty occupation workers perform services in a specialty occupation.
Treaty Traders (E-1) and Treaty Investors (E-2)
Before entering the United States, treaty traders or investors must apply and receive an E-1 or E-2 visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas. However, a U.S. company may also request a change of status to E-1 or E-2 for a nonimmigrant who is already in the United States. USCIS processes change of status and extensions of stay requests for nonimmigrants whose companies have filed such petitions.
E-1 and E-2 visas are available to citizens of foreign countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation, or a bilateral investment treaty providing for nonimmigrant entries, with the United States. The E-1 (“Treaty Trader”) visa is specifically designed for alien business owners, business managers, and employees who are required to stay in the U.S. for prolonged periods of time to oversee or work for an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the U.S. and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for the E-1 designation. The E-2 (“Treaty Investors”) visa is available to an alien who is a citizen or national of a treaty country and who wishes to enter the U.S. solely to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which he or she has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. Specific criteria must be met to qualify for either visa.
E-1 and E-2 visas are based on different treaties, however, and depending on which country the beneficiary is from, he or she may not be eligible to apply for both visas. Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) allow for E-2 Treaty Investor status only, whereby Free Trade Agreements (including NAFTA/Fast Track) allow for both E-1 and E-2 visas. For example, a beneficiary from Canada or Mexico would be eligible for both an E-1 and E-2 visa due to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between those countries and the United States. A beneficiary from Tunisia, however, would only be eligible for an E-2 visa because the treaty that exists between the U.S. and Tunisia is a BIT. Please refer to the chart below for a list of the specific countries that qualify for each visa.
Both E-1 and E-2 visa holders are initially allowed a maximum stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay can be filed and may be granted for periods of up to two years each. Notably, there is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted, as long as the alien maintains the intention to depart the U.S. when their status expires or is terminated.
Australian Specialty Occupation Worker (E-3)
Before entering the United States, Australian specialty occupation workers must apply for and receive an E-3 visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy overseas. However, a U.S. company may also request a change of status to E-3 for a nonimmigrant who is already in the United States. USCIS processes change of status and extension of stay requests for nonimmigrants whose companies have filed such petitions.
Currently, the countries that have a E-1 or E-2 Treaty with US are:
E-1 Treaty Trader Visa:
|Africa:||Ethiopia, Liberia, Togo|
|Asia:||Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, South Korea , the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand|
|Central America:||Costa Rica, and Honduras|
|Europe:||Austria, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom|
|The Middle East:||Brunei Darussalam; Iran, and Israel, and Jordan, and Oman, and Pakistan, Turkey|
|North America:||Canada, and Mexico|
|South America:||Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Suriname|
E-2 Treaty Investor Visa:
|Africa:||Cameroon, Congo (cloth) and the Congo (Jin), Liberia, Morocco and the Egypt, and Ethiopia, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia|
|Asia:||Bangladesh, Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, SouthKorea, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, The Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and Thailand|
|Central America:||Honduras, and Costa Rica, and Panama|
|Europe:||Albania Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Estonia|
|The Middle East:||Bahrain, and Iran, and Jordan, and Oman, and Pakistan, Turkey|
|North America:||Canada, and Mexico|
|South America:||Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Suriname|
|The Caribbean||Grenada, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago|
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