Business owners, executives and entrepreneurs around the world may be eligible for E2 and E1 visas. These types of business visas, which are for the Treaty Investor program and the Treaty Trader program, aim to stimulate investment and trade with the U.S. by encouraging investors to develop jobs in the United States or boost trade activity. However, there have been a number of changes to the program in recent years, sparking concern from some California businesses.

Many countries have been hit with reduced visa time periods and higher fees for applications for these types of business visas. These visas are appealing for many entrepreneurs because they offer opportunities for lower investment levels than other types of investor programs without excessive fees. However, a growing number of applications for E2 and E1 visas are facing refusals. Now, Dutch citizens are facing a much steeper journey to obtain these visas. While the application was free in the past, it now costs $2,228. Furthermore, the validity of an approved visa was cut from five to three years.

Last year, the French E2 and E1 visa eligibility was cut from five years to 15 months. Israeli citizens’ E2 visa period was reduced from five years to two years. According to the Department of State, these changes were made to make visa policies more reciprocal with these countries, which may impose similar fees or time limits upon U.S. citizens seeking business visas in their own countries.

E1 and E2 visas may still provide significant opportunities for some business owners and entrepreneurs who want to bring key executives, investors and traders to the United States. An immigration law attorney may provide advice about how a company can pursue employment-based immigration for key personnel.