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Changes to the E-1 and E-2 Visa Program

A Newspaper with a headline "changes ahead"

Portuguese nationals can apply for E visas & Residency requirement added for nationals of Grenada who acquired citizenship through investment

On December 15,2022, the United States Congress passed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act (“Act”) for the FY 2023. This Act made two important changes to the E visa program. President Biden will be signing the Act probably sometimes in the week of December 25 and that is when these two new provisions will take effect.

I. Portuguese nationals can now apply for an E-1 & E-2 visa

The first important change is that Portuguese nationals can now apply for an E-1 Treaty trader visa and E-2 investor visa! This is a great news for nationals of Portugal who would like to invest money in the U.S. and come to the U.S. as E-2 investors, or who have been trading with the U.S. and would like to come to the U.S. as E-1 treaty traders.

You can read more about the E-2 visa investment requirement here.

You can read more about the E-1 Treaty trader visa here.

II. Additional requirements if you acquired citizenship through investment (e.g. Grenada) and you want to apply for an E visa

The second change is for E visa applicants who obtained a citizenship through investment (for example, Grenada allows you to acquire citizenship if you investment certain amount of money). The Act made it clear that if you acquired citizenship through investment, you need to have been domiciled in that country for a continuous period of at least 3 years before you apply for an E visa.

You were born in India and you acquired a citizenship of Grenada through investment in 2021. You now want to apply for an E-2 visa, but you are still living in India and you only spend a couple weeks per year in Grenada.

Before the Act above went into effect, there was no official requirement that you needed to reside in Grenada for any period of time before you applied for an E-2 visa. In our experience, the Consular officers liked to see evidence that you live in Grenada and that you have ties to Grenada and spend time there, such as lease agreement, but this was not officially required. The Act above made it clear that if you do want to use your Grenada citizenship to apply for an E-2 visa, you would need to reside in Grenada for at least 3 continuous years, and only after this period of time you would be able to apply for the E-2 visa.

What happens if I already got an E-2 visa through my Grenada citizenship?

The 3-year residency requirement does not apply to people who already were granted an E-2 visa.

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