Starting June 10, E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visa status will be available to qualifying New Zealand employers and nationals.
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. t is anticipated that USCIS will soon announce its upcoming acceptance of petitions for New Zealand nationals seeking to change to E-1 or E-2 status. In April, the United States began implementing a U.S.-Israel treaty 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 our office to assess eligibility.