Effective June 10, 2019, nationals of New Zealand are eligible to apply for E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant visas.
Commercial Treaty Between New Zealand and the United States
The governments of New Zealand and the United States entered into a commercial treaty creating reciprocal immigration options for U.S. and New Zealand nationals to engage in trade or investment and secure immigration status in each respective country through such trade or investment. This treaty was implemented into the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act through Congress passing the Knowledgeable Investors and Worth Investors Act, or the KIWI Act, signed into law by President Trump on August 2, 2018.
E-1 Treaty Traders and E-2 Treaty Investors
The E visa category is designated for foreign workers coming to the United States (U.S.) to work principally as traders, investors, executives, supervisors or essential personnel for an enterprise that holds the nationality of a treaty country and that is:
- Engaged in international trade (E-1) between the U.S. and the treaty country; or
- Engaged in substantial investment in the U.S. (E-2)
Both the employing business and the foreign national employee must have the same nationality as the treaty country. A treaty country is a foreign state with which a qualifying Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, or Navigation or its equivalent exists with the U.S. An enterprise that is owned at least 50% by persons of a treaty country is deemed to hold that treaty country’s nationality. For example, under the new KIWI Act, a company with at least 50% of its stock owned by New Zealand citizens or by a New Zealand company may be considered a New Zealand enterprise for purposes of the E visa category. As such, the enterprise may sponsor owner investor and traders, as well as executives, supervisors and essential personnel having New Zealand citizenship for E visas.
A full list of countries with E-1 and E-2 treaties with the United States may be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website here, with nationals of Israel otherwise being the most recent addition on May 1, 2019, becoming eligible for the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa.
Consultation Necessary to Assess Qualification
Consult your Foster immigration attorney to determine whether application for an E-1 or E-2 visa would be appropriate for your individual circumstances and profile. Different from many nonimmigrant visa categories, the E-1 and E-2 visa may be applied directly at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad without first filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The E-1 or E-2 visa categories may also be a mid-term strategy for a future EB-5 investment or otherwise should be considered by certain foreign nationals seeking residency by investment in the United States.
Foster will continue to monitor developments in U.S. immigration laws and options available through trade and investment, and will make future updates available in future Immigration Updates© or on our Firm’s website at www.fosterglobal.com.