Attention Businesspeople: Treaty Trader and Investor Work Visas

By Attorney Joseph E. Ching

US Immigration Laws and Procedures are some of the most complex processes in the world.  With categories of visas ranging from A to Z, the number of visas available is incredible.  An important visa that all international businesspersons should know about is the E class of Treaty Trader and Investor work visas.  The U.S. participates in various investment and trade treaties with countries and regions around the world to promote international trade.  Class E visas allow for businesspeople from those countries to visit the U.S. to conduct trade and invest in the United States.

Class E visas are divided into two categories:  “E-1” Treaty Trader and “E-2” Treaty Investor visas.  An E visa allows a visitor a stay in the U.S. Generally, the length of the stay depends on the treaty terms with each individual country, and the visa can be extended or renewed if the applicant is still eligible.

E-1 Treaty Trader Visas

E-1 Treaty Trade visas allow foreign businesspeople to come to the U.S. to conduct trade.  An individual may be eligible if:

  • The person or company is a national of a treaty country. (The company must have at least 50% ownership by nationals of a treaty country.)
  • The individual is the principal trader of the company and plans to the visit the U.S. solely to conduct trade of goods or services OR the individual is a manager, executive or employee with special skills that are necessary to the company.
  • Substantial trade exists between the U.S. and the treaty country.

Countries eligible for E-1 Treaty Trader visas: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei (Borneo), Canada, China(Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.

E-2 Treaty Investor Visas

The U.S. also provides a type of visa for international investors from treaty countries.  An individual may be eligible for an E-2 Treaty Investor visa if:

  •  The person or company is a national of a treaty company. (The company must have at least 50% ownership by nationals of a treaty country.)
  • The person has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of money in a U.S. business (generally over $150,000 at risk).
  • The individual is the principal investor who will control the investment or is a manager, an executive, or an employee with special skills that are necessary to the company.
  • The investment made under the visa is not the individual’s only source of income.

Countries eligible for E-2 Treaty Investor visas: Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran (Treaty inoperative because of E.O. preventing trade with Iran), Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea(South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia. The E visa category is derived from the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1924; July 6, 1932; and 1952.  The legislation that establishes this visa type can be found under INA Section 101(a)(15)(E),  8 USC Section 1101(a)(15)(E); 8 CFR Section 214.2(e); 62 Fed. Reg. 48, 146-55 (Sept. 12, 1997).

(For more information, please contact the Law Office of Joseph E. Ching at or 504-525-8810.)


What same-sex couples should know about taxes?

Since 2013, 18 states had legalized same sex marriages.   For the first same-sex couples, they can file Federal Income Tax national wide as “married couple” status.  This is making it possible because the Federal government recognized their legal marital status and regardless whether or not their respective states legalized.

State Income Taxes

However, those same sex married couple won’t be able to file the same in states where same sex marriage is not legalized.  For those who live in states that have not legalized same sex marriage, then they must file separately as either partners or individual.  It all depends on their domicile or claim of residence or employment.

For more accurate information, they should all contact accountants who is familiar with the latest Federal & State Income tax rules and procedures.

IRS has a new policy stating that if you were legally married in any state or foreign country on the last day of 2013, you are married for tax purposes. The IRS does not consider domestic partnerships or civil unions to be marriages.

For more information please contact Law Office of Joseph E. Ching at (504)-525-8810 or you can send an email to


IPBA Legal News Brief 

On June 26th, the U.S. Supreme Court reached a decision in the case of Windsor v. United States, effectively striking down §3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who are legally married in the states in which they reside.  President Obama has instructed all federal agencies to adapt their policies accordingly to reflect the outcome of the DOMA decision and ensure the provision of federal benefits to all same-sex couples in the U.S.  Included in these federal benefits is the right to equal treatment as couples in immigration proceedings.  On July 1st, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano announced that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would begin considering visa petitions for same-sex spouses in the same manner as petitions for opposite-sex spouses.  The following month Secretary of State John Kerry indicated in his remarks at the U.S. Embassy in London that the Department of State will honor the same policy in reviewing visa applications.  Many stand to benefit from the DOMA decision, including the international employees and students of corporate, academic and research establishments in the U.S. – these individuals that apply for work or student visas can now file petitions to bring their same-sex spouses with them.

About Joseph E. Ching:

Joseph E. Ching heads an international practice in New Orleans, Louisiana and San Diego, California focusing in immigration and international business transactions.  He has been a member of the NAPABA for over ten years and has been a panelist of small/solo firm practice and Immigration committees.