Understanding US Treaty Visas: E1 and E2 Explained

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The United States is a popular destination for many activities, including beneficial business opportunities. Individuals who wish to indulge in these opportunities and temporarily work and live in a growing environment must hold a valid US visa. There are two visa classes available for foreigners wanting to do business in the US: E1 and E2. These E-class visas enable individuals in countries with whom the US has a treaty of commerce, friendship, and navigation, among other things, to temporarily work, live, and engage in business activities in the US.

The Difference between E1 and E2 Visas

The E1 and E2 requirements are quite similar, which include significant things to know before applying. Knowing the difference between these visas is essential for business interests seeking entry and indulgence in activities in the US.

E1 Visa

An E1 trader visa enables an individual or employee of a company to enter the United States for the purpose of international trade. Although there is no cap on the amount of trade one can carry, “trade” can also refer to the trading of goods, services, and technology. The visa is intended for individuals who promote significant trade between the US and their home country. E1 visa holders must maintain an enterprise trade relationship between the US and their home country.

E2 Visa

An E2 investor visa allows individuals to enter the United States for the purpose of investing in an existing or planned business. The business can be a new start-up or a well-established enterprise. The investment must be substantial, primarily to create or maintain jobs for US citizens. The visa is available for individuals who make a significant investment in the US.

Application Process

The application process for both E1 and E2 visas is similar and can be initiated by submitting a completed application, a business plan, and related documentation. The documents should illustrate the applicant’s eligibility and their business’s potential benefits to the US economy.

Required Documents

  • Completed visa application form DS-160
  • Copies of passport and identification documents
  • Business plan, including financial projections, market analysis and potential job creation
  • Evidence of trade or investment
  • Evidence of the sustainability of the business
  • Proof of payment of visa application fee

Benefits of E1 and E2 Visas

E1 and E2 visas offer several benefits, including:

No Limitations on Stay Duration

E1 and E2 visas allow individuals to stay in the US for as long as they maintain valid visas and continue their work in the approved business.

Minimized Taxes

The benefits of investing in the US include tax advantages, although the actual benefits will depend on various factors, including the business structure, state, and federal tax laws.

Faster Processing Time

Unlike other visa categories, E1 and E2 visas have a shorter processing time, as the US considers applications from treaty countries on a “first-in, first-out” basis.

Spouse and Children Accompanying

E1 and E2 visa holders can accompany their dependents, including spouses and unmarried children under 21, to the US.


To conclude, the E1 and E2 visas offer foreign nationals several opportunities to work and invest in the United States. While the requirements for both visas are similar, it is essential to consider the specific objectives of the business to choose the right visa. Individuals seeking to do business in the United States should consult an experienced immigration attorney to discuss their options and the application process.


1. Can I work for any company on the E1 or E2 visa?

No, E1 and E2 visas are business visas and only allow foreigners to work for the approved enterprise or investment.

2. Can I bring my family on an E1 or E2 visa?

Yes, spouses and unmarried children under 21 can accompany an E1 or E2 visa holder to the US.

3. Can I apply for an E1 or E2 visa if my country does not have a treaty with the United States?

No, foreigners can only apply for E1 and E2 visas if their home country has a treaty of commerce, friendship, and navigation with the United States.

4. Can I apply for an E1 or E2 visa inside the United States?

No, individuals must apply for E1 and E2 visas at their home country’s US embassy or consulate.

5. Can I extend or renew an E1 or E2 visa?

Yes, E1 and E2 visa holders can request an extension or renewal of their visa. The application and approval process are similar to the initial visa application.