On December 15, 2022, Congress passed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (H.R. 7776/NDAA). The NDAA contains two immigration-related provisions that will affect E visa eligibility and the H2B visa program and is expected to go into effect within the next week. 

Specifically, Section 5901 (Eligibility of Portuguese Traders and Investors for E-1 and E-2 Nonimmigrant Visas) makes two important changes to E visa classification eligibility: 

  • Portugal has been designated as a treaty country.
    • This means that nationals of Portugal will be eligible to apply for E-1 and E-2 visas. The E-1 Treaty Trader classification is intended for individuals coming to the United States solely to engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, principally between the United States and Portugal. The E-2 Treaty Investor classification is intended for individuals coming to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a substantial amount of capital. 
  • Individuals who have acquired citizenship status within a Treaty Country via financial investment must have resided in said country for “a continuous period of not less than 3 years at any point before applying for an E nonimmigrant visa.” 
    • In short, this means that individuals have to have been domiciled in the Treaty Country for at least three years prior to applying for an E nonimmigrant status. 
    • This provision is intended to limit the use of “Citizenship by Investment” programs of countries, including Grenada. These programs have enabled investors, who are not (by birth) nationals of a Treaty Country to acquire citizenship in a Treaty Country and subsequently obtain E-2 nonimmigrant classification in the U.S. 

Additionally, the NDAA Section 5901 of the NDAA extends eligibility for certain H-2B workers to be admitted to perform services in Guam and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for an additional year, through December 31, 2024.

Our firm has a demonstrable history of securing E-1 treaty trader and E-2 treaty investor visas for clients in multiple sectors and industries. We wish to highlight that we have the capacity to work directly with Portuguese language-speakers in our Providence office. Indeed, we look forward to continuing to grow the robust and established Portuguese business community in the greater Providence and Fall River region as the E-1/E-2 visa pathway becomes available for nationals of Portugal. 

Should you have any questions about this exciting development, or if you are interested in applying for E nonimmigrant classification, please do not hesitate to contact our offices

Estamos prontos a ajudar a apoiar as investidores portugueses! Em caso de dúvida ou pergunta, por favor não deixe de nos contatar.

Author

  • Andrew Clancy Rodgers

    Andrew Rodgers is a Senior Associate Attorney in the Firm’s Providence office. Andrew represents clients on a variety of matters, including Form I-9 / E-Verify Compliance, Cross-Border, nonimmigrant visa applications, employment-based visa petitions, and applications for permanent residency and citizenship.

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