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USA Treaty Countries for Investors and Traders

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency of the U.S. Department of State allows investors and traders from “Treaty Countries” the opportunity to apply for a nonimmigrant visa and be admitted to the United States.

USA Treaty Countries for Investors and Traders

We will not provide a great deal of detail in this post regarding how to obtain an E-1 or E-2 classification since this information is readily available from several resources, including the links provided above. However, we will go over the general qualifications for a “Treaty Investor” and a “Treaty Trader.”

Treaty Investor

According to USCIS, to qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation,
  • Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, and
  • Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise as established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.

Treaty Trader

According to USCIS, to qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:

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

Notice that the first qualification for each category is the same: “be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.” What is a treaty of commerce and navigation? According to an article written in 1958 by Herman Walker, Jr. of the University of Minnesota:

The bilateral “treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation” is one of the most familiar instruments known to diplomatic tradition. The title, commonly used to describe a basic accord fixing the ground-rules governing day-to-day intercourse between two countries, designates the medium par excellence through which nations have sought in a general settlement to secure reciprocal respect for their normal interests abroad, according to agreed rules of law.

The United States has treaties of commerce and navigation with 82 countries. The first FCN was signed in 1852, and the most recent ones were signed in 2019. The table below provides the treaty countries with which the U.S. has an FCN and includes the E-1 and E-2 classifications. While most treaty countries include both classifications, some do not.* Also of note, all of these treaties have terms and conditions that are specific to each treaty and should be reviewed prior to applying for an E-1 or E-2 visa.

Countries with E-1 and/or E-2 Treaties

If you are interested in owning and managing a business in the United States or in importing and exporting products or services between your country and the United States, then applying for an E-1 or E-2 visa might be the right course of action for you. Once you have made the decision to apply, we recommend two next steps:

  • Hire an immigration attorney to assist with your visa petition.
  • Contact Cayenne Consulting about creating your business plan, an integral part of your visa petition.

For more information on E Visas, please refer to the following posts:

*In the few instances where E-1 and E-2 treaties were signed in different years, the date of the most recent treaty is provided.

Jimmy's background includes over 40 years in international, commercial, and investment banking, and nearly a decade as the principal shareholder and CEO of a rapidly growing manufacturing and distribution business in California. Today, Jimmy spends his time advising and consulting with entrepreneurs on matters related to business planning, as well as capital markets and funding strategies. Jimmy works with clients throughout the world in industries that include financial services, real estate, manufacturing and hospitality. View details.

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