New developments for E-1 and E-2 investors from Portugal and citizenship by investment passport holders

22 December 2022 | 2 minute read

On December 16th, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (NDAA), which includes some important changes to the Treaty Trader and Treaty Investor programs, more commonly known as E-1 and E-2 visas. 

The E-1 is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a national of a treaty country to engage in international trade with the United States.  Similarly, the E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a national or company of a treaty country that is making a substantial investment of capital in a US business. The E-1 and E-2 visa programs are very important to the US as they promote foreign investment and the creation of American jobs.

While the list of E-1 and E-2 countries is quite expansive, Portugal has never been an eligible country. However, the NDAA opened the door to Portuguese citizens seeking to engage in trade or make investments in the US through an E-1 or E-2 visa, respectively.  The addition of Portugal to the E-1 and E-2 treaty list will allow investors with Portuguese nationality to live and pursue investment opportunities in the United States.

The NDAA also includes a new requirement that affects citizens who acquired citizenship in a treaty country through financial investment. Citizens who acquired a treaty investor eligible passport through a citizenship by investment program must be "domiciled" in the treaty country for 3 years prior to applying for an E-1 or E-2 visa. This rule does not apply to those who have already secured an E-1 or E-2 visa. This new requirement will create significant limitations and delays to those who acquired CBI passports, including through Portugal's Golden Visa program. Similarly, citizens who acquired passports through financial investment in countries such as Grenada, Turkey, and Montenegro may be affected as well.

President Biden is expected to sign the bill before year end.  We are closely monitoring the progress of the bill. Please reach out to our team if you should have any questions.

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