In order to be eligible for an E-2 visa, an applicant must be a national of a country that has an E-2 treaty with the United States. A full list of countries can be viewed by clicking here.
If I am a dual citizen, what nationality can I use when applying for an E-2 visa at a US Consulate?
If you have dual citizenship, you can choose which nationality to use when applying for an E-2 visa at a US Consulate, provided that both countries have an E-2 treaty with the United States. For example, if you are a citizen of both Iran and France, you could qualify based on either of these nationalities since both have E-2 treaties with the United States. However, when deciding which nationality to use, you should consider each country’s reciprocity schedule which will tell you how long the E-2 visa stamp can be issued for at a Consulate. Under the reciprocity between France and the United States, the E-2 visa can be issued for 5 years, while for Iranian nationals the E-2 visa can only be issued as a single entry visa that is valid for 3 months. In either case, the E-2 visa holder should be given 2 years in E-2 status upon entering the United States, but a 5 year visa stamp will allow the visa holder to travel freely in and out of the United States, while the three month visa would need to be renewed once the visa holder left the United States. To learn more about E-2 visa issuance and timing please click here.
If you have dual citizenship but one of the countries that you are a national of does not have an E-2 treaty with the United States, you can still qualify for the E-2 visa through your other nationality. For example, let’s say you are a citizen of both Iran and Brazil. While Brazil does not have an E-2 treaty with the United States, Iran does and you could apply for an E-2 visa using your Iranian nationality.
If I am already in the U.S. and am a dual citizen, which nationality can I use to change to E-2 status?
If you are already in the United States in a different nonimmigrant status and you want to change to E-2 status through a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can only apply under the nationality that you used when you entered the United States.
Let’s look again at our prior example of the dual national of Iran and Brazil. Imagine that she already entered the United States on a student visa with her Brazilian passport. If she wants to now change from F-1 student status to E-2 treaty investor status without leaving the United States, she would be ineligible to do so because the nationality she used when she entered (Brazil) does not have an E-2 treaty with the United States. Even though she also holds Iranian nationality, she cannot use that nationality to change to E-2 status in the U.S. because she has been admitted into the U.S. as a nonimmigrant student and Brazilian national. She still qualifies for E-2 status based on her Iranian nationality, but would only be able to apply for an E-2 visa at a Consulate abroad.
For further information about the nationality requirement for E treaty visas, please read our blog post “Which Countries Are Eligible for an E-2 Visa?” If you would like to discuss your options for an E-2 visa or have other immigration questions, please click here to schedule a consultation.
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