US E2 and E1 visa access for New Zealand nationals happening

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The Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act (KIWI Act), which will give New Zealanders access to US E1 treaty trader and E2 treaty investor visas, has been welcomed by New Zealand’s acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. As recently reported by, the KIWI Act passed the US Senate on June 28, unanimously.

Sanwar Ali comment:

New Zealand nationals will eventually be able to gain entry to the US under the E2 and E1 visa scheme.  This will greatly help New Zealand nationals work in the US and New Zealand businesses that wish to set up in the US.   Other options to live and work in the US on non-immigrant US visas are somewhat limited.  The L1 visa application requires a great deal of documentation for each application.  The number of H1B visas are severely limited due to the quota system.  However, with bureaucratic delays how long will it be in reality before New Zealanders will be able to apply under the E2 visa and E1 visa scheme.

The Rt Hon Winston Peters, serving as acting Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for New Zealand, said: “The passage of this legislation through the US Congress is a major step and very much welcomed by the New Zealand government.”

The KIWI Act, introduced by US Senators Mazie K. Hirono – Democratic representative for Hawaii - and Mike Lee – Republican representative for Utah, still has to be approved and passed into law by President Trump, having been passed by the US Senate and the House of Representatives.

New Zealand working closely with US administration

It’s understood that New Zealand’s government is working closely with the US administration to strike a deal over the KIWI Act. Mr Peters expressed his sincere gratitude to those US Senators and Congress members that have backed the legislation.

He said: “The New Zealand government acknowledges Senators Mazie Hirono, Mike Lee, and Chairman Chuck Grassley in the Senate as well as Representatives Darrell Issa, Rick Larsen, Kevin Brady and Chairman Bob Goodlatte in the House of Representatives for introducing this important piece of legislation.”

Amid ongoing talks between the two countries, US and New Zealand officials met in Washington DC recently as part of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA). An official statement from the Trade Representative’s Office said: “The US and New Zealand have agreed a programme of expanded cooperation on issues of shared interest.”

The KIWI Act also formed part of the meeting agenda, as New Zealand officials target a long-running goal of accessing US E1 and E2 visas. Mr Peters said: “E visas are a big deal: we’ve seen countries that have been made eligible for it and that’s led to some really huge opportunities coming through of a huge benefit to both economies.”

US E1 visa and E2 visa

US E1 and E2 visas would enable New Zealand nationals to qualify for US entry multiple times over a period of two years, without having to submit a new application each time they travel to the US, and with an option to renew visas on a rolling basis. The visas are available to those who engage in substantial trade or investment activities in the US.

Meanwhile, spouses and dependents of E1 and E2 visa holders are permitted to accompany them on supplementary E visas.

US Visa KIWI Act timeline

On July 20, 2017, the “Knowledgeable Innovators and Worthy Investors Act” (KIWI Act) was presented to the US House of Representatives by Darrell Issa (R - California), backed by co-chairs of the Congressional Friends of New Zealand Caucus, Congressman Rick Larsen (D – Washington) and Congressman Kevin Brady (R – Texas).

On December 18, 2017, a companion bill for the KIWI Act – meaning a bill with identical or similar language to the one introduced to the House of Representatives – was presented to the US Senate by Senator Mazie Hirono (D – Hawaii), backed by Senator Mike Lee (R – Utah). On June 28, 2018, the KIWI Act was passed by the US Senate, unanimously.

On July 23, 2018, the KIWI Act passed the House of Representatives under suspension of the rules. Suspension of the rules is a system used to pass non-controversial pieces of legislation in the House, and requires at least two-thirds of the House to vote in favour of passing legislation.

To pass legislation more quickly, the typical debate requirements and amendment rules associated with more complex statutes, are suspended.

President Trump signed into law the KIWI Act on 2 August. Mr Peters said that New Zealand’s Embassy in the US is monitoring the progress of this new legislation “with close interest.” can help with E1E2L1, H1B and B1 in lieu of H1BB1 Business Visit VisasE3 Visas and other types of US Visas

For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for a US work visa, contact on 0344 991 9222.