Treaty Traders and Treaty Investors Visas

On this page:


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 navigation. Latvia is one of these countries. For a list of all treaty countries, click here.

To qualify for Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas applicants must be coming to the United States either to engage in substantial trade, including trade in service or technology, or to engage in qualifying activities, which are principally between the United States and the treaty country, or to develop and direct the operation of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. Holders of E visas must intend to depart the United States upon the termination of their E status.

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of treaty traders, treaty investors, or employees of enterprises may receive dependent 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 to obtain an E visa.

E visas permit the investor/trader and his or her family to live in the United States during the period of stay authorized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). E visas are nonimmigrant visas; consequently, visa holders are allowed to live in the United States only so long as the conditions under which the visa was granted remain valid. Dependents are not authorized to work in the U.S. unless they receive explicit authorization to do so from DHS-USCIS in the United States. Dependents of treaty traders/investors may apply for work authorization after their arrival in the United States.


Qualifications for a Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country;
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the United States must have the nationality of the treaty country, meaning persons with the treaty country’s nationality must own at least 50 percent of the enterprise;
  • The international trade must be "substantial".There must be a sizeable and continuing volume of trade (trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology). Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other;
  • The trade of the U.S. enterprise must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country.More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality;
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skill essential to the efficient operation of the firm.Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify. Please note that a detailed explanation of why the applicant's skills are essential for the enterprise in the U.S. may be required.
  • The applicant must intend to depart the U.S. when his/her E-1 status ends.

 Qualifications for a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa 

  • The investor, either a person, partnership or a corporate entity, must have the citizenship of the treaty country. If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality;
  • The investment must be substantial and the funds have to be "irrevocably" committed.The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise..;
  • The investment must be in a real operating enterprise.Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or mere ownership of undeveloped land are not considered an investment;
  • The investment may not be marginal.Based on U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9, the enterprise must either show a financial return that significantly exceeds what is necessary to support a living for the investor or else the enterprise must have the capacity, present or future, to make a significant economic contribution;
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in a commercial sense.If the funds are not subject to partial or total loss if business fortunes reverse, then the investment is not an investment in the sense intended by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 101(a)(15)(E) and in U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise do not qualify.  ;
  • The investor must be coming to the United States 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 or unskilled workers do not qualify. Please note that a detailed explanation of why the applicant's skills are essential for the enterprise in the U.S. or why the applicant possesses qualifying “executive or supervisory: experience may be required.
  • The applicant must intend to depart the U.S. when his/her E-2 status ends.

Application Items

  • Please assemble your document package according to the below checklist. Documents must be submitted in a soft-back binder(s) with tabs dividing sections. The packet(s) should be a maximum of 5-6 cm thick or we will be unable to return these packets to you at the interview windows. If you use plastic pockets to protect documents, place only one (1) piece of paper inside each one; otherwise, you will significantly lengthen the time it takes for us to review them. Do not include multiple copies of any document.. 
  • TREATY TRADER and TREATY INVESTOR VISAS (both E-1 and E-2 visa applications) 
  • Tab A(Table of Contents) 
    • Include a cover letter describing the enterprise and the beneficiary. This letter should address all the requirements for E-1 or E-2 visa eligibility. Requirements are described in depth in  Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9-11 and require the applicant to show:
      • that the requisite treaty exists;
      • that the individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country;
      • that the activities constitute trade within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101(a)(15)(E) - trade must constitute an exchange; trade must be international in scope; and trade must involve qualifying activities;
      • that the trade is substantial;
      • that the trade is principally between the United States and the treaty country;
      • 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;
      • that the applicant intends to depart the United States when the E-1 or E-2 status terminates.
  • Tab B(Forms)
      • Confirmation Sheet for the DS-160 and DS-156E (primary applicant) forms.
      • Receipt showing your visa fee payment.
      • If you are represented by an attorney, you must submit form G-28 "Notice of Entry of Appearance of Attorney as Representative" including e-mail address and phone number for the attorney.
      • If the applicant is not an investor but an employee, please include a job letter from the company. This letter should describe:
        • the business;
        • the job the applicant will do;
        • applicant`s qualifications for that job.
  • Tab C(Applicant Information) 
      • A color photocopy of the bio data 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).
      • A resume or curriculum vitae (CV) of the principal applicant.
  •  Tab D  (Ownership. A, B, or C) 

A. Sole Proprietorship:

• Shares/stock certificates.
• Shares register indicating total and outstanding shares issued.
• Minutes of annual shareholders meeting(s).
• Other Evidence.

B. Partnership:

• Partnership or Joint Venture Agreement(s).
• Shares/stock certificates indicating total shares issued and outstanding shares.
• Other evidence.

C. Corporation:

• Shares/stock certificates indicating distribution of ownership, i.e., shares held by each firm and shares held by individual owners corporate structure.
• If publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, enclose a sample of recently published stock quotations. 
• Public announcement of corporate acquisition corporate chart showing head office and other subsidiary/branch locations in the U.S.

• Other evidence of ownership.

  • Tab E (for Treaty Trader E-1 visa applicants only)
      • Provide a spreadsheet listing every qualifying transaction of international trade between the treaty countries during the last calendar year. If there is a U.S. entity with separate legal status (such as an incorporated company or a LLC), all figures should refer to its trade. Otherwise, consider the trade of the company in the treaty country. 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.
      • Provide copies of all the invoices summarized in the table.
      • Provide copies of all air bills or shipping invoices proving that the goods or services moved from one country to the other.
      • Calculate the percentage of international trade represented by the U.S.-treaty country trade documented above. This is not the percentage of total trade but the percentage of total international trade undertaken by the treaty investor business.
      • Provide the most recent U.S. tax returns (for the U.S. entity) or annual report (for the entity in a treaty country). U.S. tax forms must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.
  • Tab E (for Treaty Investor E-2 visa applicants only)
  • A complete money trail of the funds invested, including:
      • Documentation of the original source of the funds (sale of property, inheritance, loans, earnings, sale of business, etc.).
      • Movement of these funds to a U.S. account.
      • Use of these funds for qualifying business expenses. Please include invoices, cancelled checks, and bank statements showing matching debits (highlighted).
  • If you are buying an existing business, please provide all of the following that apply in your case:
      • A signed, dated, valid purchase agreement.
      • A binding escrow agreement (see S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Manual 9 FAM 402.9) that explicitly says where the money goes if the visa is issued, what happens when it does not, and is signed and dated by all parties. Please cross-reference exactly any relevant purchase agreement.
      • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments.
      • Evidence of any other funds spent to acquire and set up the business.
      • Include the first two pages of U.S. corporate tax returns, showing IRS reported sales for the two years immediately preceding the application and the most recent tax return filed with IRS. 
      • Evidence that the enterprise has the present and future capacity to generate more than enough income for a minimal living for the treaty investor and his/her family. (The projected future capacity should be realized within 5 years after business start-up.)
  • If you are establishing a start-up, please provide all of the following that apply:
      • Signed, dated, valid lease for business premises, including evidence of payments.
      • Evidence of equipment and/or inventory purchases.
  • If you are purchasing a franchise, please provide:
      • A signed and dated franchise agreement.
      • Evidence of payment of the franchise fee.
  •  Investment spreadsheet. Evidence of investment is required, e.g., copies of debits from bank accounts, checks, invoices.

  • Tab F (Real and Operating – applies only to Treaty Investor E-2 visa applicants)
      • Relevant local, state and/or federal licenses
      • Monthly bank statements for current calendar year
  • Tab G (Marginality- applies only to Treaty Investor E-2 visa applicants)
      • US tax returns of the business for the past three years. Taxes must include all statements and schedules. These must be copies of the signed and dated forms actually submitted to the IRS.
      • All W-2 and/or 1099s for the last two tax years
      • Profit and loss statements for the current and previous calendar years.
      • Start-up Business should also provide:
      • A business plan that analyzes the local market and competition and gives a 5-year projection of profit and loss. Projections must be backed up by external sources.
      • A breakdown of start-up costs necessary for the business to become operational.

How to Apply

Step 1

Make sure that you have collected all the above application items, including the required application forms and fee payments! This will prevent potential processing delays.

For applicants who are physically present in Latvia: Submit your entire document packet to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy Riga using SIA Velokurjers e-services page or contact SIA Velokurjers by e-mail at or tel. +371 200 00041 to arrange document collection for delivery to the Embassy AND delivery of the documents back to you. The subject line of your e-mail should be - U.S. visa application delivery request. SIA Velokurjers will provide guidance on payment options for the delivery services and send you an e-mail with two address labels. Print these labels and glue them on two different envelopes. The first envelope, with the Embassy address, should be used to transport the visa documents including the return envelope to the Embassy.  We will use the second, enclosed, envelope to return your documents to you.

Please note!

  • ALL visa applicants are required to use only SIA Velokurjers services for sending and receiving their documents to/from the Embassy. 
  • Each application/individual MUST have a separate address label. The courier's security and safety rules require separate tracking of each passport
  • Groups of applicants and family members may NOT use one envelope, address label, or tracking number for all their application documents

For applicants who are outside Latvia: Submit your entire document packet to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy Riga by mail to: Embassy of the United States of America, Consular Section, Samnera Velsa iela 1, Rīga, LV-1510, Latvia.

 After your document review, we will send you an email requesting that you schedule a visa interview appointment (on average within 2-3 weeks from the date of receiving your documents),

Step 2

After you have received Embassy’s notification that you may schedule your visa interview appointment, please log in to your profile with the same credentials you used to pay your visa fee. Once you are in the system, you will see your dashboard.

Click on Schedule Appointment on the left-hand side menu.

This will start the process for scheduling your appointment. You will need:

  • Your passport number.
  • The CGI reference number from your Visa Fee receipt. Click here if you need help finding this number.
  • The ten (10) digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.

As you go through the process you will be able to select your visa type, enter personal data, add dependents, confirm visa payment, and schedule your interview appointment. 

Step 3
Visit the U.S. Embassy Riga on the date and time of your visa interview. Be sure to check the Schedule My Appointment page for the necessary documentation needed for your appointment.

Step 4

If your visa is approved, your documents including the passport with the visa will be sent to you in your envelope with the address label from SIA Velokurjers.