Updates on E Visa include new residency requirements and eligibility for Portuguese nationals

By: Nadine Chen

The James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023 (the “2023 NDAA”) that took effect on December 15, 2022, includes two important changes regarding eligibility for E visas: 

  1. Designation of Portugal as a treaty country. Portuguese passport holders are now eligible for E-1 and E-2 visas as Treaty Traders/Treaty Investors.
  2. Individuals who acquired citizenship of a treaty country through financial investment must have been domiciled in that country for no less than three years before applying for an E visa. This requirement does not apply to individuals previously accorded E nonimmigrant status.

This new domicile requirement greatly limits the use of “Citizenship by Investment” programs, whereby individuals from a non-treaty country would obtain citizenship in a treaty country via investment then apply for an E visa based on citizenship in the treaty country. “Domicile” is generally interpreted in the immigration context as the country of principal residence that one intends to maintain as their permanent residence. Evidence of domicile might include assets, employment, school enrollment, and registration to vote in elections in the resident country.

For any questions regarding eligibility on E Visas, please contact your trusted Chugh, LLP immigration professional.

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