Treaty Visa Employees

Once the principal applicant has obtained registration as a Treaty Investor or Trader, it is a relatively straightforward task to obtain E visas for qualifying employees. Obtaining the registration usually takes 4 to 6 weeks, and obtaining subsequent employee visas usually takes 10 to 15 working days.

Two types of employee qualify for E visas:-

Executives & Managers:

Executives and Managers should be going to develop and direct the trade or investment of the principal investor/trader in the USA. Such personnel should be able to demonstrate their executive or managerial pedigree, though there is no requirement that they have worked for the principal trader or investor for at least one year, as there is with the L1 visa. Generally a resume and supporting letter from the principal is all the evidence required.

Specialist or Essential Skilled Workers:

Visas for this type of employee are somewhat more difficult to obtain. One must demonstrate that:

  1. A US resident worker could not fill the position;
  2. The employment of the treaty national is necessary for the running of the principal trader or investor’s business in the USA;
  3. US workers will be trained to replace the treaty national (details of the proposed training must be given).

If the above criteria are met then an E-visa can be obtained, but is considerably more difficult to renew than an Executive/Managerial E visa.

Note that, a ‘visa issuance fee’ is often required in addition to the usual visa application fee for E visas. This usually amounts to $100-200. Also E-visa employees must be of the same nationality as the principal investor or trader.

Dependents of E-visa workers are also issued E visas. However, these are not authorized for employment, though such dependants may engage in study.

Treaty visa application process flowchart

You complete our on-line appraisal form considers the application. If your company, the position and the candidate are eligible for registration as an E1 Treaty Trader or E2 Treaty Investor, e-mail to you:
a. A formal instruction form to return
b. Details of any additional data required, and confirmation of which documents we need

You post documents to at 11 Grafton Street, London W1X 4NP complies your application and submits it to the Treaty Visa section at the appropriate US consulate – processing takes 4-6 weeks

After registration as a Treaty Trader or Investor, visas can be obtained for principal applicants (if they are a person rather than a company), employees and dependants in 10 to 15 working days. You provide us with relevant information and we prepare and submit the application to the Treaty Visa section.

Frequently Asked Questions About Treaty Visas

Can I gain E status as a self-employed professional?

No. The principal applicant should be going to the USA to ‘develop and direct’ his/her trade or investment, not to be a factor of production or trade in his/her own right. Thus accountants, IT consultants, doctors, lawyers, etc, cannot obtain E status to enable themselves to practice their profession in the USA.

How long can I stay in the USA in E status?

Indefinitely, provided the level of international trade or the value of you investment in the US remains sufficient to justify your being there. Registration is initially valid for between two and five years, but can be renewed any number of times.

Why isn’t my country eligible for E status?

The treaties which give rise to eligibility for E status are generally on a reciprocal basis, in that they will also entitle US persons and companies to obtain similar immigration rights in the other treaty country. Nations with restrictive inward investment policies or currency controls are unlikely to have such a treaty with the United States. Further, most recent treaties entered into by the United States with e.g. the former Communist countries tend to be Bilateral Investment Treaties, conferring only E2 eligibility on nationals of the other contracting state. Note also that existing treaties may be suspended if the United States’ relationship with the other treaty signatory deteriorates significantly or that country is subject to international sanctions, etc.

What is the minimum amount of trade or investment needed to qualify?

There is no set minimum level, though obviously the lower the amount of trade or investment the less likely it is that the application will succeed. The amount necessary will also depend on the type of business or trade engaged in.

What are the alternatives if I or my employees do not qualify for E-status?

The L1 intra company transfer visa is the most obvious choice, though the H1B speciality occupation visa is also a possibility. In addition, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor is an option which eventually leads to US permanent residency. However, this visa is extremely difficult and time-consuming to obtain.

Can E-visa dependants work?

E dependants can now obtain a general work authorization. This work authorization must be applied for separately, though.