E Treaty Trader or Investor Visa

The Immigration and Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant visa status for a national of a
country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation who
is coming to the United States to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and
direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is in the process
of investing a substantial amount of capital.

  • Requirements: Treaty Investor
  1. The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country;
  2. The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful
operation of the enterprise.  The percentage of investment for a low-cost business
enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.  A substantial amount of capital constitutes an amount which is: substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an
established enterprise or creating the type of enterprise under
consideration; sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to
the successful operation of the enterprise; and of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. Generally, the lower
the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment
must be to be considered a substantial amount of capital.
  3. The investment must be in a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment
does not qualify.  Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not
considered an investment.
  4. The investment may not be marginal. 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 projected
future income-generating capacity should generally be realizable within 5 years from
the date the investor commences the normal business activity of the enterprise. It must
generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and
family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States;
  5. The investor 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; and
  6. The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. Such
an applicant must establish that he or she controls the enterprise by demonstrating ownership of at least 50 percent of the enterprise, by possessing operational control
through a managerial position or other corporate device, or by other means.
  • Documents for a Treaty Investor
  1. Evidence of possession and control of investment funds: Bank records, financial
statements loans, savings, promissory notes.
  2. Evidence of remittance to the
United States: bank drafts, wire transfers, exchange permits, receipts.
  3. Evidence of establishment of business in the U.S.: articles of incorporation,
partnership agreement, organization and staffing charts, shares, titles,
contracts, receipts, leases
  4. Evidence of the nationality of the investors/traders: passports, articles of
incorporation of parent company, stock exchange listing
  5. Evidence of trade between the U.S. and treaty country: invoices, bills of lading,
customs clearances, warehouse receipts, shipping receipts, sales receipts,
  6. Evidence of investment in the U.S.: titles, receipts, contracts, loans, bank
statements, business plan
  7. Evidence of substantiality: financial statements, audits, U.S. corporate or
business returns
  8. Evidence that the enterprise is not marginal: payroll records, IRS Form 941,
personal tax returns, evidence of other personal assets and income
  9. Evidence that the business is a real and operating enterprise: annual reports,
catalogs, sales literature, news articles

  • U.S. Port of Entry

Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has authority to deny admission.
Also, the period for which the bearer of a treaty trader or investor visa is authorized to
remain in the United States is determined by the USCIS, not the consular officer. At the
port of entry, an USCIS official validates Form I-94, Record of Arrival-Departure, which
notes the length of stay permitted. Those persons who wish to stay beyond the time
indicated on their Form I-94 must contact the USCIS to request and extension. The
decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay is made solely by the USCIS.

  • Family Members

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may
receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal alien. Spouses of E visa
holders are now authorized to work in the United States and must apply for a work permit
once they enter the United States.

Copyright © 2009 Law Offices of Melissa Harms All rights reserved.

The above discussion is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice nor does it create an
attorney-client relationship. Individuals should visit a licensed attorney to evaluate the legal circumstances surrounding their situation and to receive appropriate legal advice.