Treaty Trader and Investor Visas – FAQs

Thank you for your interest in applying for a Treaty Trader/Investor (E) visa in Canada. The information on this page will answer many questions we regularly receive about E-Visas. For basic information about E-visas, applicable fees, and visa validities, please consult the State Department website. You may also wish to consult the Foreign Affairs Manual for detailed regulations that apply to E-visas. Please understand that U.S. immigration law places the burden of qualifying for any visa solely with the applicant.

Yes, anyone may apply for an E-visa in Canada. First-time E-1/E-2 (Treaty Trader/Investor) visa applicants and those wishing to renew the registration status of their E-visa company must apply at the U.S. Consulate General in Toronto. Employees of currently registered E-visa companies, and qualifying family members of current E-visa holders, may schedule the next available appointment in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver or Toronto.

You can schedule an appointment online at the U.S. Visa Service website. Prior to doing so, please review the specific steps for applying for an E-visa at our Treaty Trader and Investor Visa site.

No. 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 process of filing documents in advance with the U.S. Consulates General in Toronto or Vancouver.

Yes. E-visa applicants must appear in person before a Consular Officer. One exception to this requirement is applicants under 14 years of age – they do not need to appear in person for the interview. However, in all cases, regardless of age, each applicant must be physically present in Canada at the time of application.

Those applicants who are ineligible for a U.S. visa due to criminal convictions, immigration violations, drug charges or other similar reasons must appear to determine their ineligibility and likelihood of a waiver for any such ineligibility. Applicants requiring a waiver face a likely wait of several months for a waiver to be processed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Even if the applicant satisfies the requirements for E-visa issuance, there is no guarantee that a waiver of the ineligibility will be approved.

Please consult the U.S. Embassy in Canberra for information and procedures regarding E-3 visas.

E-visa company registration indicates that a U.S. Consular Officer in Canada previously determined that a company had met E-visa standards on a prior application. Registered companies are given a Notice of E-Visa Company Registration when an investor or employee of a qualifying enterprise is issued an E-visa. During the registration period, if the treaty enterprise seeks to send additional employees to the U.S. on an E-visa, those employees may apply under the procedures outlined for “Employees of Registered Companies.” Unless there have been substantive changes to the enterprise that would jeopardize its E-visa status, subsequent applications can focus on whether and how a given employee qualifies for an E-visa as the owner, manager or essential employee of a registered E-visa company. If there have been substantial changes in the company’s ownership structure or operations since the registration notice was issued, the Consular Officer may require additional corporate documents to ensure the treaty enterprise still qualifies. If the company’s registration is set to expire, the next applicant from the company should follow the instructions for “New Cases” to seek re-registration for the company. The U.S. consulates in Canada will only register a company in the context of a visa application.

E-2 visa regulations do not specify a minimum amount of investment; the law does state that the investment must be “substantial and sufficient to ensure the success of the desired enterprise”. Different types of businesses require varied amounts of capital, and the amount you will need to invest depends on the nature of your U.S. enterprise.

E-2 visa regulations require that the funds be “irrevocably committed” to the investment before the visa may be issued. This requirement can be met by showing that your funds are already at risk. Funds can also be considered to be irrevocably committed if they are held in an escrow account contingent only on the issuance of an E-visa.

Many business activities can be carried out while in the United States in B-1 status. These include meetings or visits to premises, initial meetings with clients, and other activities necessary to set up the business. However, you cannot be involved in running the daily operations of the business. If your enterprise requires someone to manage or run daily operations, you may hire U.S. citizens or individuals who are already legally allowed to work in the U.S. prior to receiving your E-visa. Once you have made the initial commitment of your funds, you should apply immediately for the E-visa.

The decision to retain counsel is a personal one on the part of the applicant, and does not affect the applicant’s eligibility.

SelectUSA is a U.S. Government web portal that contains useful information about locating a business or investing in the United States. You may also wish to contact individual state offices of economic development and local chambers of commerce for economic forecasts for specific cities and states.

Licensing and permit requirements in the United States fall mainly under state and local law, and vary with the type of business you wish to operate. For specific information, please contact the appropriate government offices in the locality where you plan to start your business.

As long as employees have the same citizenship as the owners of the E-visa-related company, they can qualify for an E-visa. The jobs they will be performing must be executive or supervisory in nature, or the employees must possess skills essential to the operation of the U.S. enterprise.

The spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age) of E-1 and E-2 visa holders 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. E-1 and E-2 dependents may book appointments to process their visa applications at any post in Canada. However, dependents may process their visas only if the principal applicant’s visa has already been issued. The dependent applicant must present a copy of the principal applicant’s visa at the time of the interview.

Spouses and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but wish to visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitor (B-2) visas, or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an E-1/E-2 visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the United States; they may study on E-1/E-2 visas. However if they are qualified, they may apply for the F-1 visa. If you have school-age children, you should refer to the regulations governing the issuance of F-1 visas.

Spouses may work in the United States if they have obtained an Employment Authorization Card from the U.S. 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.

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant’s interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement at the time of their interview and will be advised on the estimated amount of time for processing to be completed. In general, most administrative processing is resolved within 60 days of the visa interview. When administrative processing is required, the timing will vary based on the individual circumstances of each case. The consulate has no control over the time it will take to complete the necessary administrative processing. Visa applicants are reminded to apply for their visa well in advance of their anticipated travel date.

If you were issued an E-visa at the U.S. Consulate in Toronto or Vancouver and subsequently have had the visa lost, stolen, or damaged, please email us for instructions on how to apply to replace your visa at EvisaToronto@state.gov or EvisaVancouver@state.gov. Please be prepared to provide a statement describing the circumstances in which your E-visa was lost, stolen, or damaged. Additionally, if your E-visa has been stolen, you will be required to submit a police report.

We receive many requests for expedited processing of E-visa cases due to business-related purposes. Expedited appointments are generally reserved for those cases where there is an acute humanitarian need for urgent travel to the United States. The Department of State does not provide premium or expedited processing for an additional fee.

For information on how to request an expedited appointment, please see the Visa Information Services page and follow the prompts.