Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas

Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigationAs of June 2019, New Zealand passport holders are eligible to apply for E visas. Applicants must be going to the United States solely to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1), or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital (E-2), or to work in the enterprise as an executive, supervisor, or essentially skilled employee.

E-1 and E-2 visas are non-immigrant visas. They do not provide a path to citizenship in the United States, and applicants are expected to demonstrate a reasonable plan to return to their home country after the visa expires. E visas are typically valid for 5 years.

Applicants are able to apply for their dependent spouses and minor children to travel with them.

In order to qualify for an E-1 or E-2 visa, you must first determine if you and your business meet certain requirements. Ask yourself the following questions which apply to all E visas.

  1. Do I have a passport from a qualifying country?
  2. Is at least 50% of the company owned by nationals of a qualifying country (or countries)? Note: New Zealand is a qualifying country as of June 2019.
  3. Do you intend to depart the United States after the status terminates? If not, you may want to consider an immigrant visa.

If you answered yes to the above questions, then your business may qualify for an E visa.

If you can answer YES to the following questions, you may qualify for an E-1 visa.

  1. Does your business engage in substantial trade, including services or technology, with the United States?
  2. Is the trade in which your company is involved international, meaning that business transactions move between a treaty country and the United States?
  3. Does the trade already exist?

If you can answer YES to the following questions, you may qualify for an E-2 visa.

  1. Have you invested or are you actively investing substantial resources into a business venture in the United States?
  2. Are you in a position to actively develop and direct the enterprise?

Once you have compiled the requisite documents for your E-1 or E-2 visa (outlined below), assemble them in the order outlined for the visa category, and submit them bound in a binder or similar via mail to the U.S. Consulate in Auckland. The mailing address is:

NIV Section
Level 3
Citigroup Building
23 Customs Street East
Auckland 1010

Once your documents are received, staff will review the application materials and contact you with any questions. Processing times vary, but you should expect to hear from the Consulate to schedule an interview within 3 weeks of submitting your application.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please email us. Please note that we do not reply to application status requests. You should not schedule travel dependent upon receipt of an E visa until an application has been approved.

In order to apply for an E-1 visa, please prepare a packet of materials according to the plan below. The application materials should follow the format below and be assembled in the below order. Please also place the packet of materials in a binder or similar before submitting it to the Consulate for review.

How to organize application materials:

  1. DS-160 for each applicant and DS-156E;
  2. Cover letter;
  3. Table of contents;
  4. Applicant information:
    • Develop and direct enterprise;
    • Essential employees (if applicable);
  5. Ownership information:
    • Organizational chart;
  6. Trade information:
    • Substantial exchange;
    • International in scope;
    • In existence.

Sections 1, 2, and 3 – DS Forms, Table of Contents, and Cover Letter:

Please provide a cover letter describing the enterprise and the beneficiary. This letter should address all the requirements for E-1 visa eligibility which are described in depth in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 402.9) and require the applicant to show:

  1. That the requisite treaty exists (9 FAM 402.9-4(A));
  2. that the individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country (9 FAM 402.9-4(B));
  3. that the applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operation in the United States;(9 FAM 402.9-7(B))
  4. that the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 status terminates (9 FAM 402.9-4(C))
  5. that the activities constitute trade within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101 (a) (15) (E) (9 FAM 402.9-5(B));
  6. that the trade is substantial (9 FAM 402.9-5(C));
  7. that the trade is principally between the United States and the treaty country (9 FAM 402.9-5(D)).

Section 4 – Applicant Information:

This section is intended to provide information about the applicant’s qualification for an E-1 visa. The following information must be included in this section:

  • A color photocopy of the biodata page of the principal applicant’s passport and similar copies of any US visas, US entry/exit stamps, and I-94’s;
  • A copy of any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS (Form I-797);
  • Evidence of the applicant’s ongoing residency in New Zealand;
  • A resume or curriculum vitae of the principal applicant;
  • Evidence that the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • Signed statement of intent to depart the US upon termination of status;
  • Only for employees: Evidence that the applicant is destined for an executive or supervisory role and possesses the requisite skills.

Section 5 – Ownership Information:

Please provide:

  • An organizational chart of the company’s ownership structure and executives. (If the applicant is applying as an essential employee, provide evidence of the applicant’s role within the organization’s structure);
  • Names, dates of birth, and passport nationality of the owners of the ultimate parent company in spreadsheet format;
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations), Articles of Organisation (for LLC’s) or other similar documents for US business;
  • Share certificates, Operating Agreement, Share Ledgers or other applications documents to confirm ownership;
  • If the U.S. based business is a subsidiary or affiliate of a foreign corporation, provide their relevant incorporation and ownership documents for the business.  If the foreign business is based in New Zealand, provide a copy of the most recent Inland Revenue tax return form.

Section 6 – Trade:

Please provide:

  • A spreadsheet listing every qualifying transaction of international trade between the United States and treaty country during the last calendar year. This table should include the date, the invoice number, and the dollar value of the transaction. Show in a prominent place the total number and value of these transactions.  Include a summary of the table;
  • Copies of all the invoices summarised in the table;
  • Copies of all air bills or shipping invoices proving that the goods or services moved from one country to the other; and 
  • The most recent U.S. federal tax returns for a US entity, or annual report (Annual Return) for a New Zealand entity. US tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.

How to Apply:

Once you have compiled the requisite documents outlined above for your E-1 visa, assemble them in the order outlined for the visa category, and submit them bound in a binder or similar via mail to the U.S. Consulate in Auckland. The mailing address is

NIV Section
Level 3
Citigroup Building
23 Customs Street East
Auckland 1010

Once your documents are received, staff will review the application materials and contact you with any questions. Processing times vary, but you should expect to hear from the Consulate to schedule an interview within 3 weeks of submitting your application.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please email us. Please note that we do not reply to application status requests. You should not schedule travel dependent upon receipt of an E visa until an application has been approved.

In order to apply for an E-2 visa, please prepare a packet of materials according to the plan below. The application materials should follow the format below and be assembled in the below order. Please also place the packet of materials in a binder or similar before submitting it to the Consulate for review.

How to organize application materials:

  1. DS-160 for each applicant and DS-156E;
  2. Cover letter;
  3. Table of contents;
  4. Applicant information:
    • Develop and direct enterprise,
    • Essential employees (if applicable);
  5. Ownership information:
    • Organizational chart,
    • Real and operating information,
    • Marginality information;
  6. Investment information:
    • Substantiality of investment.

Sections 1, 2, and 3 – DS Forms, Cover Letter, and Table of Contents:

The cover letter should address all the requirements for E-2 visa eligibility for the enterprise and the beneficiary, which are described in depth in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual (9 FAM 402.9) and require the applicant to show that the:

  1. Requisite treaty exists (9 FAM 402.9-4(A));
  2. Individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country (9 FAM 402.9-4(B));
  3. Applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise (9 FAM 402.9-6(F));
  4. Applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firm’s operations in the United States (9 FAM 402.9-2 and 9 FAM 402.9-6(F));
  5. Applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-2 status terminates (9 FAM 402.9-4(C));
  6. Enterprise is a real and operating commercial entity (9 FAM 402.9-6(C));
  7. Investment is more than a marginal enterprise solely for earning a living (9 FAM 402.9-6(E));
  8. Applicant has invested or is in the process of investing (9 FAM 402.9-6(B));
  9. Applicant’s investment is substantial (9 FAM 402.9-6(D)).

Section 4 –  Applicant Information:

This section is intended to provide information about the applicant’s qualification for an E-2 visa. The following information must be included in this section:

  • A color photocopy of the biodata page of the principal applicant’s passport and similar copies of any US visas, US entry/exit stamps, and I-94’s;
  • A copy of any changes or extensions of status granted by USCIS (Form I-797);
  • Evidence of the applicant’s ongoing residency in New Zealand;
  • A resume or curriculum vitae of the principal applicant;
  • Evidence that the applicant is in a position to develop and direct the enterprise;
  • Signed statement of intent to depart the US upon termination of status;
  • Only for employees: Evidence that the applicant is destined for an executive or supervisory role and possesses the requisite skills.

Section 5 – Ownership Information:

Please provide:

  • An organizational chart of the company’s ownership structure and executives. (If the applicant is applying as an essential employee, provide evidence of the applicant’s role within the organization’s structure);
  • Names, dates of birth, and passport nationality of the owners of the ultimate parent company in spreadsheet format;
  • Evidence that the company is real and active. For example:
    • Relevant local, state and/or federal licenses;
    • Agreements, contacts, customer lists or other similar documents;
    • Evidence confirming any ongoing and future work;
    • Marketing and promotional materials; and/or;
    • Other documents that will help confirm that the venture is real and active.
    • If the business is an affiliate or subsidiary of a foreign company or group, please provide evidence that the foreign company or group is active.  For example:
      • Financial statements;
      • Annual report; and/or
      • Other documents that confirms the foreign company is trading.
  • Evidence that the business is more than marginal. If the business is already established and operating, please provide:
    • U.S. federal tax returns for the business
    • Detailed profit and loss statements for the current and previous calendar years
    • If the business is a new start-up, please provide:
      • A comprehensive business plan;
      • A detailed five year profit and loss forecast for the business.  Also provide the assumptions on which the forecast is based; and
      • A breakdown of start-up costs necessary for the business to become operational.
  • Articles of Incorporation (for corporations), Articles of Organisation (for LLC’s) or other similar documents for US business;
  • Share certificates, Operating Agreement, Share Ledgers or other applications documents to confirm ownership;
  • If the U.S. based business is a subsidiary or affiliate of a foreign corporation, provide their relevant incorporation and ownership documents for the business.

Section 6 – Investment Information:

Please provide:

  • A detailed breakdown, or spreadsheet, of all funds invested into the U.S. venture;
  • Evidence of your investment.  For example:
    • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments;
    • Evidence of equipment and/or inventory purchases;
    • Evidence of intellectual property or other intangibles invested; and
    • Evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business.
  • Evidence of how the funds invested into the U.S. venture were acquired in the form of:
    • Documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, earnings, sale of business, etc.);
    • Evidence that the funds have been moved to the United States; and
    • If the funds have come from a foreign based parent or affiliate company, a copy of its latest financial statements.

How to Apply:

Once you have compiled the requisite documents outlined above for your E-2 visa, assemble them in the order outlined for the visa category, and submit them bound in a binder or similar via mail to the U.S. Consulate in Auckland. The mailing address is

NIV Section
Level 3
Citigroup Building
23 Customs Street East
Auckland 1010

Once your documents are received, staff will review the application materials and contact you with any questions. Processing times vary, but you should expect to hear from the Consulate to schedule an interview within 3 weeks of submitting your application.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please email us. Please note that we do not reply to application status requests. You should not schedule travel dependent upon receipt of an E visa until an application has been approved.