Visas: Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor

Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are available to citizens of countries with which the United States has commerce and navigation treaties.

The applicant must be coming to the US to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, primarily between the US and the treaty country (E-1), or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a significant amount of capital (E-2).

How Do I Get An E-visa In Canada?

The process of obtaining a visa entails a whole lot of procedures.

  • Collect all documentation related to your E-visa application. Please carefully review the relevant tabs on the Related Treaty Trader Pages for a complete list of the documents that must be submitted to evisacanada@state.gov.
  • With your submitted photo, make sure you complete and submit the Online Visa Application (DS-160).
  • Print the bar-coded DS-160 confirmation page to include with your application.
  • Form DS-156E must be completed and submitted (not required for dependent family members).
  • Create a user profile, pay the visa application fee for yourself and any accompanying family members, and then follow the step-by-step instructions on the website of our information and appointment service provider. We will not accept your application until your payment has been verified.
  • Attend your Consulate General of the United States of America interview. For further details, see the list of forbidden products.
  • Your passport, visa, and documents will be returned to you through the Canada Post Courier service if issued. It all depends on your nationality, there may be an additional visa issuance reciprocity fee. After the interview, the processing time usually takes 7-10 business days. However, processing times vary, and there is no guarantee that your visa will be ready in this time frame. We advise travelers to apply as soon as possible and not to make firm travel plans until they have received their passport and visa.
Read also:  US Visa Types – 2 Major Types Of US Visa

In Canada, How Are E-visas Processed?

E-visa applicants are responsible for making sure that they apply under the appropriate visa classification and submit all needed documentation.

E-visa applications are divided into two processing streams at Mission Canada based on the time required to review the required documentation.

Please see the appropriate tab on the right for a comprehensive list of supporting documentation by application type.

Renewals And New Cases

First-time applicants and those wishing to renew their E-visa company’s registration status must apply in Toronto and electronically submit their application and supporting documents to the US Consulate in Toronto via evisacanada@state.gov.

A list of supporting documentation for new cases and renewals can be found in the sidebar. Do not make an appointment at this time.

When the review is completed, the Consulate will notify the E-visa applicant or company representative and provide further instructions on how to schedule an appointment.

For company registration or re-registration, only applications in the “New Cases and Renewals” queue will be attended to. 

Employees Of Registered Businesses And Dependents Of Valid E-Visa Holders

Employees of currently registered E-visa companies, as well as qualifying family members of current E-visa holders, may schedule an appointment at the next available location in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, or Toronto.

For information on potential interview waiver self-identification for employees renewing their visa with the same registered company, please see the page on supporting documentation for employees of registered companies. The registration of a company is valid for five years.

If the applicant’s company registration expires before the interview date, they are required to follow the instructions for “New Cases and Renewals” above.

E-1 Treaty Traders 

The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the US maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to enter the US solely to engage in international trade on his or her behalf.

Certain employees of a qualifying individual or organization may also be eligible for this classification.

Who Can Apply for A Change Of Status To E-1 Status?

If the treaty trader is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she will be permitted to file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1.

If the desired employee is already in the US with lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on his or her behalf.

How To Obtain E-1 Status While Outside The United States

If you are physically outside the United States, you may not request E-1 classification on Form I-129.

For more information on applying for an E-1 nonimmigrant visa abroad, please visit the US Department of State website. Following the issuance of a visa, the individual may seek admission as an E-1 nonimmigrant at a United States port of entry.

General Requirements For A Treaty Trader

To be eligible for E-1 status, the treaty trader must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation or a qualifying international agreement, or which has been designated as a qualifying country by legislation;
  • Carry out significant trade; and
  • Carry on principal trade between the US and the treaty country, qualifying the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

Trade refers to the existing international exchange of goods for consideration between the US and the treaty country. Trade items include, but are not limited to:

  • Goods
  • Services
  • International finance
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Technology and its various newsgathering activities.
Read also:  Immigrant Visas To The US

General Requirements For Treaty Trader Employees

To be eligible for E-1 status, a treaty trader’s employee must:

possess the same nationality as the primary noncitizen employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)

Meet the relevant law’s definition of “employee”

Either be performing executive or supervisory duties, or having special qualifications that make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the treaty enterprise if employed in a lesser capacity.

If the primary noncitizen employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization owned at least 50% by persons in the United States with treaty country nationality.

These owners must either: (a) maintain nonimmigrant treaty trader status, or (b) if they are not in the United States, they must be if they seek admission.

Special qualifications are skills and/or aptitudes that make the employee’s services essential to the treaty enterprise’s efficient operation. Depending on the facts, several qualities or circumstances may meet this requirement. Among these are, but are not limited to:

  • The level of demonstrated expertise in the employee’s field of operations
  • Whether or not others have the employee’s specific skills.
  • The salary that those with specialized skills can command
  • Whether the necessary skills and qualifications are easily accessible in the United States.

This requirement is not met solely by the knowledge of a foreign language and culture. It should be noted that in some cases, a skill that was once considered essential may become commonplace and thus no longer qualify at a later date.

Stay Duration

Qualified treaty traders and employees will be granted a two-year initial stay. Requests for extensions of stay in or changes of status to E-1 classification may be granted in two-year increments.

An E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted an unlimited number of extensions. When their status expires or is terminated, all E-1 nonimmigrants must maintain an intention to leave the United States.

When returning to the United States, an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission if determined admissible by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer.

 E-2 Treaty Investors

The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States has a treaty of commerce and navigation, or with which the United States has a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation) to enter the United States when investing a significant amount of capital in a U.S. business.

Certain employees of a qualifying individual or organization may also be eligible for this classification.

Who Can Apply For A Change Of Status To E-2 Status?

If the treaty investor 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-2.

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 to request a change of status to E-2 classification.

How To Obtain E-2 Status While Outside The United States

If you are physically outside the United States, you may not request E-2 classification on Form I-129.

For more information on applying for an E-2 nonimmigrant visa abroad, please visit the US Department of State website.

Following the issuance of a visa, the individual may seek admission as an E-2 nonimmigrant at a United States port of entry.

General Requirements For A Treaty Investor

To be eligible for E-2 status, the treaty investor must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States has a commerce and navigation treaty;
  • Have invested, or are actively considering investing, a significant amount of capital in a legitimate enterprise in the United States; and
  • Be looking to enter the US solely to develop and direct the investment venture. This is demonstrated by demonstrating at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or operational control through a managerial position or other corporate devices.

Investment is the commercial risk-taking of capital, including funds and/or other assets, by a treaty investor to generate a profit.

If the investment fails, a portion or all of the funds will be lost.

The treaty investor must demonstrate that the funds were not obtained directly or indirectly through criminal activity.

Marginal Businesses

The investment venture may not be insignificant. A marginal enterprise does not have the current or future capacity to generate more than enough income to provide the treaty investor and his or her family with a minimum standard of living.

Depending on the circumstances, a new business may not be considered marginal even if it lacks the current capacity to generate such income.

In such cases, however, the enterprise must be able to generate such income within five years of the treaty investor’s E-2 classification beginning.

Stay Duration

Qualified treaty investors and employees will be granted a two-year initial stay. Requests for extensions of stay in or changes of status to E-2 classification may be granted in two-year increments.

An E-2 nonimmigrant may be granted an unlimited number of extensions. When their status expires or is terminated, all E-2 nonimmigrants must maintain an intention to leave the United States.

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

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