Treaty Trader (E1) and Treaty Investor (E2)
Visas for Treaty Traders (E-1) and Investors (E-2)
Investor visa for Israeli nationals
President Obama signed the legislation that would add Israel to the list of countries eligible for non-immigrant investor visas in the United States.
The legislation, which was spearheaded by Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), would grant Israelis E-2 investor visas, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. in order to be closer to their investments. The legislation, signed on June 11, 2012, passed the House and the Senate in recent months.
However, the implementation of this visa category will not be effective until the terms and conditions of the final agreement are determined between the two countries. The Embassy will issue a press release as soon as the E2 investor visa is available to Israeli nationals.
Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act provides for visa status for nationals of countries that maintain an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States or that is considered to be a treaty country under U.S. law.
The following information describes the two types of non-immigrant visas for individuals wishing to trade with or invest in the U.S.
1. Treaty Trader visa (E-1)
2. Treaty Investor visa (E-2)
Please note that the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation between the United States and Israel provides for the issuance of treaty trader visas (E-1) only; Israeli citizens are not eligible for treaty investor visas (E-2). However, our post does accept applications submitted on behalf of Israelis who hold dual citizenship with countries that maintain a treaty investor with the United States.
A treaty trader/investor visa is not a substitute for an immigrant visa. Individuals wishing to remain in the United States indefinitely should apply for immigrant visas. Treaty investor/trader visas can be renewed or extended only if the investment or trade continues to meet all applicable requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations.
Treaty Trader visa (E-1)
Treaty Trader (E-1) visas are authorized based on a treaty of commerce between the United States and Israel which was signed upon in April 1954. This status is entitled for individuals intending to go to the United States to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and the treaty country.
Individuals applying for E visas at the American Embassy in Israel must have an Israeli nationality. The U.S. has also concluded treaties of commerce with several other countries; therefore if you are not an Israeli national please refer to the website of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
To qualify as a Treaty Trader (E-1):
- At least 50% of the business (parent company) is Israeli owned, i.e., at least 50% of the company stock is owned by Israeli citizens. Local permanent resident aliens or American citizens do not qualify as majority holders of US companies for E visa purposes.
- The applicant must be a national of the treaty country.
- At the time of the E-1 application a commercial, traceable and identifiable flow of goods, services and /or technology exists between the Israeli company and the U.S. (i.e., title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other, trade includes successfully negotiated contracts).
- The flow of goods is substantial and continuous.
- At least 50% of the firm's international trade is between Israel and the U.S.
- The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
Treaty Investor Visa (E-2)
The Treaty Investor visa is entitled for individuals intending to go to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested; or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital. As mentioned above, Israeli citizens are not eligible for treaty investor visas (E-2).
To qualify as a Treaty Investor (E-2):
- Requisite treaty exists;
- Individual and/or business possess the nationality of the treaty country and at least 50% of the business is owned by the treaty country, i.e., at least 50% of the company stock is owned by the treaty country, excluding/American citizens and U.S. Legal Permanent Residents ("green card" holders).
- Applicant has invested or is actively in the process of investing;
- Applicant's investment is substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise;
- The enterprise is a real and operating commercial enterprise. Speculative or idle enterprises do not qualify;
- Investment is more than marginal, and is not solely for earning a living;
- The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If applicants are not the principal investors, they must be employed as a supervisor, executive, or as the possessor of highly specialized skills.
An applicant for a Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa must first establish that the trading enterprise or investment meets the requirements of the law as stated above. Therefore, all Israeli companies seeking E visas for their owners or employees must apply at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.
Important: Do not schedule an appointment date through the regular Internet scheduling system. The E-1/E-2 unit schedules the appointment dates for applicants and their companies. Therefore, for further information please contact the E-1 visa unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to apply for an E-1/E-2 visa:
If a company is about to register for the first time or three years have passed since the last time they registered, the company is required to submit their supporting documents, including an employee's individual application, by mail to our attention.
Please click on the relevant treaty below for a list of required supporting documents:
For E-1 companies: in the event the company was approved for an E-1 status within the last three years, in addition to the employee's complete application, the company needs to submit an official letter from their CPA stating the company's current ownership and trade. A letter from an attorney or a financial officer will not be accepted. If documents are missing or if the CPA does not address one of the requirements we mentioned, we shall not be able to schedule an appointment date until all the documents are submitted to the E1 assistant.
Please click here to review the list of requirements the CPA should address.
Important: Each file submitted to the E section must include an application on behalf of the employee the company is relocating to the U.S. Please click here to review the list of documents the company needs to submit on behalf of their employee: Employee's E visa application.
Once the E-1/E-2 assistant reviews the file and verifies that all of the documents have been submitted, he/she will schedule an appointment date for the company and its employee. All interviews are scheduled for a Tuesday.
Submitting an E application
All files and applications must be mailed to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv at the following address:
E1/E2 Visa Assistant
Embassy of the United States of America
71 Hayarkon Street
Tel Aviv 63903
The company and applicant have the burden of demonstrating fulfillment of requirements for Treaty Trader/Investor status under 9 FAM 41.51.
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) Change of status
Note: It is necessary to establish the company's entitlement to E visa status prior to the issuance of an E visa to an investor or employee, even if the USCIS has authorized a Change of Status to E for a person in the United States. That status is valid only as long as the person remains in the United States. To obtain an E visa, a complete application, with all required documentation, must be submitted to the Embassy for adjudication before a visa can be issued.
Evaluation of corporate files will take between four and six weeks and are reviewed on a first come first served basis. Alternatively, companies that have been approved within the last year and are applying on behalf of their employees shall receive an immediate interview. These time scales are approximations only, processing may be longer or shorter depending on our workload and the quality of the material submitted. Irrevocable business plans and travel arrangements should not be made until visas are actually issued.
Applications from persons who are resident in the consular district, but not physically present, will be accepted but a personal interview will be required after the initial screening of the application and supporting documents. No assurance is offered that an interview will necessarily lead to approval of the application and the issuance of a visa.
Because the nature of the Treaty Trader and Investor visa is complex and specific to the particular application, we will not discuss prospective E-visa situations nor respond to speculative questions on E-visa situations over the telephone or by mail. Once an application has been submitted, we will communicate with the company's attorney/ point of contact as required on their particular case.
Do not contact the Consulate for information on the status of your case. You will be contacted if more information is required or when the officer is ready to schedule your interview.
Prospective investors and E-visa applicants should always review regulatory requirements and seek professional advice from an immigration law attorney before submitting an application, if they feel that will help them organize their application and their business activities. At the same time, applicants should be aware that decisions about eligibility are made only by a Consul who reviews the application -- and then only after all of the information requested by the Consul has been received. Applicants should never rely on prospective business partners for immigration advice.
Spouses and unmarried children less than 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative E visas. If applying separately from the principal applicant, a copy of the principle applicant's E visa or the I-797 Approval Notice will be required in addition to the regular application documents. Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Please click here to review the list of documents family members should submit.
Please click here to find information for partners and common-law spouses
Receipt of the visa after issuance
We would like to emphasize that if the consular officer approves an employee's E1 visa, the passport along with the visa shall be returned to the applicant via UPS. This procedure may take up to a week after the interview. As a result, please book your flight ticket accordingly.
Working on an E Visa
Spouses of E visa holders may seek employment authorization on derivative E visas. For further information, please contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) upon your arrival in the United States or visit their site athttp://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis.
U.S. Port of Entry
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP) have the 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 USCBP, not the consular officer. At the port of entry, an USCBP 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 U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to request Form I-539, Application to Extend Status. The decision to grant or deny a request for extension of stay is made solely by the USCIS.
Holders of E visas may reside in the United States as long as they continue to maintain their status with the enterprise.
Further Inquiries: Additional information is available on the internet at: http://www.travel.state.gov. Questions on visa application procedures should be made via e-mail to the Treaty Visa Office at the address:TelAvivE1visas@state.gov. Questions on conditions and limitations on employment should be made to the local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the United States.
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