U.S. Embassy in Lisbon Will Now Accept E-1/E-2 Visa Applications for Portuguese Nationals

The United States Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal has just announced its readiness to accept E-1 Treaty Trader and E-2 Treaty Investor visa applications. This comes after the December 2022 passage of the James N. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, which recognized Portugal as a treaty country. The program’s roll out has been much anticipated and is welcomed by Luso-American legal and business alliances.

The E-1 visa for treaty traders allows for nationals of certain countries with which the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation or international agreement or that has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation (treaty country) to enter the U.S. to conduct international trade through a U.S. business. The treaty investor may themselves own 50% or more of the business or own a majority of the business along with other treaty country nationals.

The E-2 visa for treaty investors allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the U.S. when investing in a U.S. business of which they or fellow treaty country nationals own a majority. E-1 and E-2 visas may also be granted to certain qualifying employees of the U.S. investment enterprise who share the company’s nationality.

The E visa category has several significant benefits:

  • The spouse of an E visa holder is authorized to work “incident to status” (i.e., immediately upon entry into the U.S.
  • There is no obligation for an E visa holder to keep a foreign affiliate company operational, unlike the L-1 visa for intracompany transferees.
  • There is no statutory cap on the number of visas issued annually, unlike the H-1B visa for specialty occupations.
  • E visas are renewable indefinitely, as long as the applicant continues to qualify.

For Portuguese businesses looking to expand in U.S. markets, Portuguese nationals interested in U.S. employment, or for any questions on whether your U.S. enterprise may employ E visa holders, please contact a member of our Immigration and Nationality team.