Specific Visa Categories

IMPORTANT: The U.S. Embassy in Bogota has a specific policy for accepting Treaty Trader (E1) and Treaty Investor (E2) visa application requests from applicants who do not demonstrate legal and physical presence in Colombia for a minimum of one year prior to their E visa application.  Please note that appointment availability for non-residents in Colombia is very limited.  If you cannot demonstrate legal and physical presence in Colombia for at least one year and you wish to proceed with your application in Bogota, there is no guarantee an appointment will be available within the one year validity of your payment.  We encourage you to apply for the E visa in your country of residence.

 

Click on each visa type for details:


Traders and Investors
Please carefully review the document: “How to Apply for an E Visa” (PDF 206KB) for instructions on how to submit your visa application.

General Information

The United States has maintained a treaty of commerce and navigation with Colombia since June 10, 1848.  A Colombian applicant who wishes to travel to the U.S. for substantial trade between the U.S. and Colombia (including trade in services or technology) or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the Colombian applicant has invested or is in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital, may apply for a Treaty Trader (E-1) or Treaty Investor (E-2) visa.

For detailed information on this type of visa, and nationals of other countries eligible for this type of visa, please see the State Department’s travel website.

Applicants must meet specific requirements to qualify for a treaty trader (E-1) or treaty investor (E-2) visa under immigration law.

Requirements: Treaty Trader (E-1)

  • The applicant must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The trading firm for which the applicant is coming to the U. S. must have the nationality of the treaty country.
  • The international trade must be “substantial” in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
  • The trade must be principally between the U.S. and the treaty country, which is defined to mean that more than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality.
  • Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
  • The applicant must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

Requirements: Treaty Investor (E-2)

  • The investor, either a real or corporate person, must be a national of a treaty country.
  • The investment must be substantial. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment for a low-cost business enterprise must be higher than the percentage of investment in a high-cost enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the U.S.
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • The investor must be coming to the U.S. to develop and direct the enterprise. If the applicant is not the principal investor, he or she must be employed in a supervisory, executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.

Visa Validity
E-1/E-2 visas for Colombian citizens are valid for 5 years, and may be renewed as long as the treaty trade or investment continues, and applicants meet the above requirements.

Family Members
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age, regardless of nationality, may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal visa holder. The spouse of an E visa holder may apply to DHS for employment authorization. Dependent children of an E visa holder are not authorized to work in the U.S.

Investing while on a B-1/B-2 Visa
Potential investors may seek out investment opportunities, sign contracts, and take other steps to purchase or establish a business while traveling on B1/B2 status or on the Visa Waiver Program.

However, applicants may not develop and direct a business while in such status. State Department regulations state (9 FAM 41.31 N9.7), “an alien seeking investment in the United States, including an investment that would qualify him or her for status as an E-2 investor, is precluded from performing productive labor or from actively participating in the management of the business prior to being granted E-2 status.” Such actions are impermissible whether or not the investor receives any payment for his work.

E-1 and E-2 Dependent Applications
If you are the spouse or child of an E-1 or E-2 visa holder who received their E visa in the past six months, please email only proof of your relationship to the primary visa holder (i.e. marriage or birth certificates) and a copy of the principal visa holder’s E visa to NIVBogota@state.gov.   However, if the principal investor or trader converted to E status while in the U.S. (for example, if he or she entered the U.S. on a B1/B2 visa and later received E status authorization), please also submit a photocopy of Form I-797 (Notice of Action) approving the change of status.

If the principal E visa holder received his or her visa more than 6 months ago, please also provide evidence that the business is currently operating.  Acceptable documentation may include, but is not limited to, monthly bank statements, invoices, profit and loss statements, and tax documentation covering the period since the principal E visa was issued.


Domestic Employees

B-1, A-3, G-5 visas are for domestic employees who are accompanying an employer who is visiting or on temporary assignment in the United States. A domestic employee is generally a member of the household staff, such as a cook, butler, chauffeur, housemaid nanny or gardener or other paid personal employee, such as a nurse or home health aide.

The visa type of the employee varies depending on the immigration status of the employer. A domestic or personal employee who works for an employer who:

  • holds a B, E, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q, or R visa, should apply for a B-1 visa.
  • holds an A visa, should apply for an A-3 visa
  • holds a G visa, should apply for a G-5 visa
  • is a U.S. citizen who ordinarily resides outside the U.S., is traveling temporarily to the U.S., or who is subject to frequent international transfers lasting two years or more, but will reside in the U.S. less than six years, should apply for a B-1 visa.

Requirements

  • The applicant (employee) intends to be in the U.S. for a short or temporary trip
  • The applicant (employee) has a residence abroad which he or she has no intention of abandoning
  • The applicant (employee) has worked for the employer outside the U.S. for at least one year (or 6 months if the employer is a U.S. citizen) or the employer can show he or she has regularly employed domestic or personal employees abroad
  • The applicant (employee) has at least one year of experience as a domestic or personal employee
  • The applicant (employee) and employer must sign a contract that abides by U.S. law to be presented to the Consular Officer at the time of the visa interview and to the Immigration Officer at the time of entry to the U.S.
  • IMPORTANT:For applicants of A3 or G5 visas, the international mission or organization for which you work should submit the necessary Pre-Notification of a Domestic Worker form to the Office of Foreign Missions Information System (TOMIS).

Contract

The contract must be written in English and in the employee’s native language, if the employee does not understand English. The contract should include the following information:

  • Description of the employee’s duties and work to be formed
  • Statement that the employee will only work for one specific employer
  • Description of the normal working hours of the employee and the number of hours per week.  The contract should also describe days off for holidays, vacation or sick days
  • The regular hourly wage and overtime wage the employee will receive at either the federal U.S. minimum wage rate or the state minimum wage of the state the employee will work in, whichever is greater.
  • The employee will receive free room and board (which cannot be deducted from salary)
  • The employer will pay the employee’s travel expenses to and from the U.S. (or to the employer’s onward assignment or employee’s country of normal residence at the termination of the assignment)
  • A statement that the employee’s passport, visa, and other personal property will be in the sole possession of the employee and not withheld by the employer for any reason
  • Any other benefits normally required for U.S. domestic workers in the area of employment
  • For U.S. citizen employers, statement that employer or employee give two weeks notice of intent to terminate or leave employment

For a sample contract click here

Note: The domestic employee may travel with the employer or follow to join the employer after he or she is already in the United States.

**U.S. citizens living permanently in the United States and legal permanent residents (i.e. “green card” holders) are not eligible to take their domestic employees to the United States on B-1 visas**

Visa Validity

Validity for visas for domestic employees is determined based on the visa validity of the employer. The validity may not exceed the validity of the visa held by the employer.

Required Documents

  • A valid passport
  • The confirmation page from the DS-160 Application form
  • A signed contract between the employer and employee
  • A signed form that the applicant (employee) has read the Wilberforce pamphlet on Rights and Protections for Temporary Workers
  • A copy of the employer’s nonimmigrant visa (unless applying at the same time as the applicant) or a copy of the employer’s U.S. passport with proof of Colombian residence

Know Your Rights

While most nonimmigrant visa holders taking part in cultural exchanges or work programs experience an interesting and rewarding stay in the United States, you should know your rights, should you encounter problems. Please review this pamphlet in preparation for your visa interview.


Diplomats and Officials

A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 and C-3 visas are for diplomats/government officials, and officials from designated international organizations (such as the World Bank or Organization of American States) traveling to or transiting the United States in an official capacity.

The Embassy accepts applications for the above visa classifications Monday through Friday at 1:00 p.m. at the “Diplomatic visas Window” in the Non-immigrant Visa Unit. Such applicants generally do not need to appear in person for an interview, and can send another person to drop off their documents.

Applicants for diplomatic and official visas are exempt from paying the visa application fee.

The documents required for this type of application are the following:

  1. A valid passport
  2. The confirmation page from the DS-160 Application form
  3. A photograph
  4. A diplomatic or official letter that includes the following information:
    • Complete name
    • Date of birth
    • Passport number
    • Position and title
    • Place of assignment or visit
    • Purpose of travel including brief description of duties
    • Travel Dates and length of stay
    • For dependents, the note must include the names, relationships, and dates of birth of any dependents and other members of household who will be accompanying or joining the principal.

Accompanying Family Members and Members of Household

Spouse and children

The legal spouse and legal unmarried sons and daughters of any age are eligible for diplomatic and official visas to accompany the principal applicant.

Other Family Members

Other family members such as parents, uncles, aunts, and cousins are eligible for A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4 and C-3 visas provided they meet the following requirements:

The family member of the principal applicant is related by blood, marriage or adoption, or the applicant is a relative by blood, marriage, or adoption of the partner or spouse, or

The family member is recognized by the sponsoring government or organization as the immediate family member of the principal applicant (generally, this relative’s name will be listed as a dependent family member on the diplomatic note), or

The family member is already a member of the principal applicant’s household or will reside regularly in the household of the principal applicant.