On December 15, 2022, U.S. Congress passed the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023. As part of the act Congress changed E visa (E-2 Treaty Investor and E-1 Treaty Trader) requirements for persons who acquired their citizenship through investment (CBI). The new law changes the domicile requirements for persons who obtained an E-1 or E-2 Treaty country passport through CBI programs.
According to the new legislation, individuals who have acquired citizenship through financial investment must have been domiciled in the country whose citizenship they obtained for a continuous period of at least 3 years before applying for an E-2 visa or E-1 visa for the United States. This requirement does not apply to individuals who were admitted to the US on an E-2 visa or E-1 visa prior to the new law.
Simply put, if you obtain a citizenship through financial investment, you are now required to domicile in that country for 3 years before applying for an E-1 visa or an E-2 visa. In most countries domicile does not mean resident.
E-2 visa and E-1 visa are only available to certain countries that have treaty with the United States which you can find here. Nationals of countries that are not eligible for E-2 or E-1 visa can obtain citizenship by investment from another country that has the E visa treaties with the US.
Certain countries that have an E-2 visa treaty with the US do not require the investor to reside in the country in order to receive the citizenship of that country. Good examples of countries with citizenship by investment programs and no residency requirement are Grenada and Turkey. Grenada is an E-2 Treaty Country and Turkey has a treaty for both E-1 and E-2 visa. Visit our Grenada CBI program page to learn more about obtaining Grenada citizenship by investment.
In general, domicile means the place of permanent residency. An E-2 or E-1 visa applicant, who has obtained citizenship by investment from an E treaty country can prove their domicile by providing some or all of the following:
- Rental agreement or prove they own a home in the country of domicile
- Bank account in country of domicile
- Paid taxes in the country of domicile
- Travel records to show they spend substantial amount of time
- Has been employed or conducted business in the country of domicile
- Driver license, ID and/or car registration from the country of domicile
We expect both US consulates abroad and US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to use a totality of circumstances in order to determine if an individual applying for an E-1 visa or an E-2 visa has met the domicile requirement and not focus on any particular piece of evidence.
If you are an investor who has obtained citizenship by investment from an E visa eligible country and want to apply for an E-2 investor visa or E-1 trader visa, contact us, your trusted immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA or schedule a consultation.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers