Virginia, US

Jun 10 2019

E-1/E-2 Treaty Trader and Investor Visas Available for New Zealand Nationals Starting June 10

United States

At a glance

Starting June 10, E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visa status will be available to qualifying New Zealand employers and nationals.

The issue

Starting June 10, 2019, eligible New Zealand companies and nationals will be able to apply for E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor temporary visa status.  The Embassy in New Zealand announced the upcoming availability of the E visa categories this week, following the enactment of the Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors (KIWI) Act, which was signed by President Trump on August 1, 2018.  

E-1/E-2 visa eligibility generally requires:

  • A treaty between the U.S. and a foreign country;
  • That majority ownership or control of the trading/investing company is held by treaty country nationals; and
  • That each employee or principal of the company seeking E status is a treaty country national.

The E visa option can be used by many different types and sizes of companies, as well as by private individuals.  E-1 treaty trader status would permit New Zealand companies who conduct substantial trade with the U.S. to transfer managerial and essential skill employees here. E-2 treaty investor status would permit New Zealand nationals or employers to make a substantial, active investment in a U.S. business and to transfer employees in an supervisory or essential capacity related to the investment.

The E visa category has some flexibilities not available in other visa statuses. There is no maximum limit on time spent in E-1/E-2 status, but holders of the visa must intend to depart at the end of their authorized stay. Unlike some other visa options, dependent E visa spouses are permitted to apply for work authorization. 

USCIS will also begin accepting petitions on June 10 for New Zealand nationals seeking to change to E-1 or E-2 status while in the U.S. In April, the United States began implementing legislation that made E-2 investor visas available to Israeli nationals, and created a reciprocal status for U.S. citizens in Israel.

What it means for New Zealand nationals and employers

New visa options for New Zealand employers and individuals are welcome at a time of generally restrictive U.S. visa policy. Eligibility for treaty trader or investor status can be complex and initial applications can be document- and time-intensive. New Zealand employers and individuals seeking to engage in trade or investment in the U.S. should contact their Fragomen professional to assess eligibility.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.