Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of the KIWI Act (S. 2245). The House approved the bill by voice vote.
Chairman Goodlatte: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. “E-1″ visas are nonimmigrant visas available for treaty traders, and “E-2” visas are available for treaty investors. Pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, these visas are available to aliens who are: “entitled to enter the United States under and in pursuance of the provisions of a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the foreign state of which he is a national, and the[ir] spouse and children . . . solely to either carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the United States and the foreign state of which he is a national, or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which he has invested . . . a substantial amount of capital . . . .”
Alien employees of treaty traders and treaty investors may receive visas if they are coming to the U.S. “to engage in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or, if employed in a lesser capacity, if they have special qualifications that make the services to be rendered essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise.” There are no numerical caps on E-1 or E-2 visas. Aliens may be admitted initially for a period of two years, and can apply for extensions in two-year increments.
The U.S. has entered into treaties of commerce since at least 1815, when we entered into a Convention to Regulate Commerce with the United Kingdom. Currently, the nationals of 83 countries are eligible for E-1 and/or E-2 status. In fiscal year 2017, in total about 50,000 E-1 and E-2 visas were issued.
In the past, countries became eligible for the E-1 and E-2 programs through treaties signed with the U.S. However, in 2003, the Judiciary Committee reached an understanding with the U.S. Trade Representative that no immigration provisions were to be included in future trade agreements. Henceforth, legislation would be required to add countries.
The bill we are considering today, S. 2245, makes New Zealand nationals eligible for E-1 and E-2 visas. I want to thank Mr. Issa for all his work on this issue and for introducing companion legislation in the House. I am also appreciative of the embassy of New Zealand for seeking E visa status the right way, and I urge my colleagues to support S. 2245.