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E Visas

TREATY TRADERS & INVESTORS

The E Visa 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.

The E Visa category also includes Australian specialty occupation workers.

 

WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR E VISA?

Before entering the United States, treaty traders or investors and Australian specialty occupation workers must apply and receive an E-1, E-2, 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-1, E-2, or E-3 for a nonimmigrant that is already in the United States. USCIS processes change of status and extensions of stay requests for nonimmigrants whose companies have filed such petitions.

  • Treaty traders (E-1) 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 (E-2) direct the operations of an enterprise in which they have invested, or are actively investing, a substantial amount of money.
  • Australian specialty occupation workers (E-3) perform services in a specialty occupation.

 

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY FOR E-1 CLASSIFICATION:

To qualify for E-1 classification, the general requirements for a treaty trader are:

  • You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • You carry on substantial trade; and
  • You carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

Note: Substantial trade generally refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time.

 

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY FOR E-2 CLASSIFICATION:

To qualify for E-2 classification, the general requirements for a treaty investor are:

  • You are a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • You have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States; and
  • You are seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise.

Note: Please note that there is a different classification for E-2 CNMI Investors.

 

GENERAL ELIGIBILITY FOR E-3 CLASSIFICATION:

To qualify for E-3 classification, the general requirements for a specialty occupation professional from Australia are:

  • You are a national of Australia;
  • You have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States;
  • You possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials; and
  • You will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.

 

E-1 OR E-2 CLASSIFICATION AS AN EMPLOYEE OF A TREATY TRADER OR TREATY INVESTOR:

To qualify for E-1 or E-2 classification as an employee of a treaty trader or treaty investor, the general requirements are:

  • You are the same nationality as the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
  • You meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law; an
  • You are either engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

 

HOW TO APPLY

How to Apply From Within the United States

For E-1 Visa or E-2 Visa:

If you are currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, you may file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, to adjust to an E-1 or E-2 status. A qualifying employer may also file Form I-129 on your behalf as well if you are an employee of a trader or investor.

To begin the E visa process to adjust your status, you or your employer must:

  • Complete and sign Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
  • Refer to Form I-129 instructions for further details.
  • Include the appropriate filing fee with the petition (including the biometrics fee if applicable).
  • Collect the necessary documents to show your eligibility.

For E-3 Visa:

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.

How to Apply From Outside the United States

For E-1 or E-2 visas:

A request for an E-1 or E-2 classification may not be made on Form I-129 if you are physically outside the United States. If you are interested in an E-1 or E-2 Visa, please refer to the U.S. Department of State website for further information about applying for either nonimmigrant Visa abroad. Upon issuance of a Visa, you may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant.

Note: There is a different classification for E-2 CNMI-Only Investors.

For E-3 Visa:

Complete Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. 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.

Note: Only a few nonimmigrant classifications allow you to obtain permission work in this country without an employer having first filed a petition on your behalf. Such classifications include the nonimmigrant E-1, E-2, and E-3.

 

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU APPLY

Once USCIS receives your I-129, we will process your application and you will then receive:

  • A receipt notice of your I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and
  • A written notice of a decision.

After the Visa petition is approved, you can apply for an E-1, E-2, or E-3 Visa