E Visas

The United States Embassy in Rome has resumed routine nonimmigrant E visa services. However, please note that the U.S. Embassy in Rome has a significant backlog in E visa processing.  Please apply (or, if renewing, re-apply) for your E visa well in advance of your anticipated travel to the United States on an E visa (i.e., six to 12 months).

Due to the backlog, we are unable to provide individual status updates on applications in the prescreening process.  Please rest assured that we will release your case for scheduling as soon as prescreening is complete, and we will contact you from romeevisas@state.gov if we need any additional information for the prescreening process.  As soon we prescreen your application, your case will be released in the scheduling system at https://ais.usvisa-info.com, and you will receive an email at the email address you provided in your account with instructions to schedule an appointment with a consular officer at the U.S. Embassy Rome.  E visa interviews take place every Tuesday.
Thank you for your patience. 

Treaty Trader Visas (E-1) and Treaty Investor Visas (E-2) are non-immigrant visas for nationals of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation who wish to go to the United States for one of two purposes: to carry on substantial trade, principally between the United States and the treaty country (E-1); 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 (E-2).

The Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor Visas were established to facilitate and enhance economic interaction between the United States and other countries.  They were not intended to serve as a means for foreigners to retire or merely reside in the United States. U.S. law (see paragraph 101(a)(15)(E) of the Immigration and Nationality Act) explicitly states that E-1 visa holders must enter “solely to carry on substantial trade” and E-2 holders “solely to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise” in which he or she has invested. Moreover, these visas are non-immigrant visas and thus temporary.  Treaty Trader/Investor Visas can be renewed or extended only if the investment or trade continues to meet all applicable requirements of U.S. immigration laws and regulations.  Persons wishing to remain indefinitely in the United States should apply for the appropriate immigrant visa.

Investors and Employees
Both owners and employees of Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor businesses receive the same kind of visa (E-1 or E-2); the law makes no distinction between them.

Change of Status
Investors who have changed status in the United States with USCIS must follow the steps for all first-time investors.  Such a change of status remains valid only while the applicant remains in the United States.  Once the applicant has left the United States, he or she requires an E visa to return and resume the running of his or her business.  Change of status does not guarantee the issuance of a visa nor does it exempt the investor from the normal application process.

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of Treaty Traders, Treaty Investors, or employees of qualifying enterprises may also receive E visas in order to accompany or follow to join their spouse or parent.  They are not required to have the same nationality as the principal applicant.  Spouses may work in the United States if they have obtained an Employee Authorization Card from the Department of Homeland Security.  They may apply for this card after they enter the United States. Dependent children may not work in the United States although they may attend school.

Certified copies of marriage certificates, birth certificates or other legal documentation must be submitted to establish the relationship between principal applicant and spouse and/or children.  De-facto spouses and fiancé(e)s do not qualify for derivative status.

If spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) are applying after principal applicant’s visa has been issued, please send as attachment via e-mail to RomeEvisas@state.gov form DS160 of dependents along with MRV payment receipt, copy of principal applicant’s visa, and marriage certificate and/or birth certificates of children showing parentage.

Proper Use of B1/B2 Visas and Visa Waiver Travel for Investors
Potential investors may seek out investment opportunities, sign contracts, and take other steps to purchase or establish a business while traveling on B1/B2 status or on the Visa Waiver Program.  However, applicants may not develop and direct a business while in such status.  State Department regulations state, “an alien seeking investment in the United States, including an investment that would qualify him or her for status as an E-2 investor, is precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business prior to being granted E-2 status.”  Such actions are impermissible whether or not the investor receives any payment for their work.

To Qualify as a Treaty Trader (E-1):

  • Requisite treaty exists;
  • The applicant must be a national of the treaty country;
  • The international trade must be “substantial”; there must be 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 at least 50% of the firm’s international trade must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality;
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, money, services, or technology.  Title of items must pass from one party to another; and
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the operation of the firm.

The term “trade” is defined to include commercial in goods and trade in services and technology.  This includes banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, technology transfer, and other measurable services which can be traded.

To Qualify as a Treaty Investor (E-2):

  • 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 enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise;
  • The investment is irrevocably committed and at risk.  The funds or assets to be invested must be committed to the investment, and the commitment must be real and irrevocable.  Mere intent to invest, or possession of uncommitted funds in a bank account, or even prospective investment arrangements entailing no present commitment, will not suffice;
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise.  Speculative or idle investment does not qualify;
  • The investment must not be marginal.  It must generate significantly more income than needed 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.  For the purpose of measuring the investment, loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not counted; and
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise.  If applicants are not the principal investors, they must be employed as a supervisor, executive, or as the possessor of highly specialized skills.