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U.S. Department of State 
95/08/01 Visas: Treaty Traders & Treaty Industors 
Bureau of Consular Affairs 
 
 
                 TREATY TRADERS AND TREATY INDUSTORS 
 
The Immigration and Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant visa status 
for a national of a country with which the United States maintains a 
treaty of commerce and navigation who is coming to the United States to 
carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, 
principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to 
develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national 
has invested, or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of 
capital. 
 
REQUIREMENTS:  TREATY TRADER 
 
--  The applicant must be a national of a treaty country; 
 
--  The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must 
have the nationality of the treaty country; 
 
--  The international trade must be "substantial" in the sense that 
there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade; 
 
--  The trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty 
country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the 
international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of 
the applicant's nationality; 
 
--  Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and 
technology.  Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the 
other;  and 
 
--  The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive 
capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the 
efficient operation of the firm.  Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers 
do not qualify. 
 
REQUIREMENTS:  TREATY INVESTOR 
 
--  The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national 
of a treaty country; 
 
--  The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure 
the successful operation of the enterprise.  The percentage of 
investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the 
percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise; 
 
--  The investment must be a real operating enterprise.  Speculative or 
idle investment does not qualify.  Uncommitted funds in a bank account 
or similar security are not considered an investment; 
 
--  The investment may not be marginal.  It must generate significantly 
more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or 
it must have a significant economic impact in the United States; 
 
--  The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must 
be at risk in the commercial sense.  Loans secured with the assets of 
the investment enterprise are not allowed;  and 
 
--  The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the 
enterprise.  If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she 
must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized 
skill capacity.  Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify. 
 
VISA INELIGIBILITY / WAIVER 
 
The nonimmigrant visa application Form OF-156 lists classes of persons 
who are ineligible under U.S. law to receive visas.  In some instances 
an applicant who is ineligible, but who is otherwise properly 
classifiable as a treaty trader or treaty investor, may apply for a 
waiver of ineligibility and be issued a visa if the waiver request is 
approved. 
 
HOW TO APPLY FOR THE VISA 
 
Applicants for visas should generally apply at the U.S. Embassy or 
Consulate with jurisdiction over their place of permanent residence.  
Although visa applicants may apply at any U.S. consular office abroad, 
it may be more difficult to qualify for the visa outside the country of 
permanent residence. 
 
Required Documentation 
 
Each applicant for the visa must submit: 
 
1)   An application Form OF-156, completed and signed.  Blank forms are 
available without charge at all U.S. consular offices; 
 
2)   A passport valid for travel to the United States and with a 
validity date at least six months beyond the applicant's intended period 
of stay in the United States.  If more than one person is included in 
the passport, each person desiring a visa must make an application; 
 
3)  One photograph 1 and 1/2  inches square (37x37 mm) for each 
applicant aged 16 and older, showing full face, without head covering, 
against  a light background. 
 
Optional Documentation 
 
An applicant for a Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa 
must first establish that the trading enterprise or investment 
enterprise meets the requirements of the law.  The consular officer will 
provide the applicant with special forms for this purpose.  An applicant 
may also be asked to provide evidence which illustrates that the stay in 
the U.S. will be temporary.  It is impossible to specify the exact form 
the evidence should take since applicants' circumstances vary greatly. 
 
U.S.  PORT OF ENTRY 
 
Applicants should be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry into the 
United States.  The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) 
has 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 INS, not the consular officer.  At 
the port of entry, an INS 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 INS 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 INS. 
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 
 
Family Members 
 
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of 
nationality, may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the 
principal alien.  Dependents are not authorized to work in the United 
States. 
 
Time Limits 
 
Holders of E visas may reside in the United States as long as they 
continue to maintain their status with the enterprise. 
 
FURTHER INQUIRIES 
 
Questions on qualifications for various classifications and visa 
application procedures should be made to the American consular office 
abroad where the applicant intends to apply.  Questions on conditions 
and limitations on employment should be made to the local INS office. 
 
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
PUBLICATION 10074 
Bureau of Consular Affairs 
Visa Services Directorate 
August  1995 
 
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