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Investor Visa & Treaty Trader

Investor Visas & Treaty Trader 

A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for a temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. 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. See U.S. Department of State's Treaty Countries for a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.

A citizen of a foreign country 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.

Treaty investors, 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 investor or employee. These family members may seek E-2 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. Only spouses of E-2 investors may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-2 spouse may work. Children of E-2 investors may attend school; they are not allowed to work in the United States.

How to qualify for a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa

  • 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 investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.

  • A substantial amount of capital is:

    • Substantial in a relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one

    • Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise

  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.

  • It must significantly generate more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.

  • You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.

  • The treaty investor must show that the funds have not been obtained, directly or indirectly, from criminal activity.

  • Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.

  • You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory, executive or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.


How 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. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

Period of Stay

Qualified treaty investors and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay in or changes of status to E-2 classification may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no limit to the number of extensions an E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-2 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

An E-2 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted, if determined admissible by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer, an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. 



  • Completed successfully several initial E-2 visa cases at U.S. Embassies in Albania and Italy. 

  • Completed successfully several E-2 renewal visa cases at U.S. Embassies in Albania, Italy and United Kingdom. 

  • Completed successfully several E-2 extensions of status for investors and their family members with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Contact Us 

To discuss your Investor Visa & Treaty Trader case with an experienced Jacksonville immigration attorney from Gjoka Law Firm, feel free to contact us by email at or call us at 904-351-8749.

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