Law Office of Thomas Woodward

E-1 Treaty trader and e-2 treaty investor visas

If you are a foreign national who wishes to start a business in the United States, you may be eligible for an E visa. There are two categories of E visa: E-1 Treaty Traders and E-2 Treaty Investors. E-1 visas are designed for individuals who oversee an enterprise that is engaged in trade between the U.S. and a treaty country, while E-2 visas allow for an individual from a treaty country to make an investment to start and run a business in the U.S. There is no designated minimum amount for this investment, but it must be enough to allow for the operation of a more than marginal business. These E visas are only available to citizens of countries that have a bilateral investment treaty or a treaty of commerce and investment with the United States. E visas are non-immigrant visas that are normally granted for an initial term of two years; however, extensions of the visa may be granted indefinitely so long at the alien’s qualifying business continues to operate in the United States. Citizens of the following countries may apply for an E visa*: 

  • Argentina    
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Latvia
  • Liberia
  • Luxembourg
  • Macedonia (FYROM)
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan (Republic of China)
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom

*Please note that citizens of some of these countries may only apply for one of the two visa categories. Although we attempt to keep this list up to date, please see the U.S. State Department for the definitive list of eligible countries.

EB-5 Immigrant investors

Under the EB-5 program, foreign investors (along with their spouses and unmarried minor children) are eligible for permanent residency in the United States if they make a qualifying investment in a U.S. commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 permanent full-time jobs in the U.S. Ordinarily the qualifying investment is $1 million; however, the amount is reduced to $500,000 for certain targeted employment areas. Targeted employment areas include areas with unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average and rural areas. EB-5 investments are often made through specialized regional centers, but this is not required for an investment to qualify.