+1(212)459-3800 [email protected]

The E TDY Visa


The E visa, over the years, has evolved in many different ways. One type of E visa is an E TDY  (“temporary duty”) visa. This is actually an annotation subsumed within the E visa category. It is often used in Japan to send essential skills E visa workers for a short period of time (usually 1-2 years).


We have found it very useful in bring younger workers who are not necessarily going to be long term expatriates yet need to work temporarily on a new project or to train US workers on a specific machine or process.


The basis for the TDY, which is of course predicated upon the company qualifying for an E-1 or E-2 visa, is as follows:

The Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM at 9 FAM 402.9-7(C) C.(2)) , issued by the U.S. Department of State cites the following criteria.


“In some cases, ordinarily skilled workers can qualify as essential employees, and this almost always involves workers needed for start-up or training purposes. A new business or an established business expanding into a new field in the United States might need employees who are ordinarily skilled workers for a short period of time. Such employees derive their essentiality from their familiarity with the overseas operations rather than the nature of their skills. The specialization of skills lies in the knowledge of the peculiarities of the operation of the employer’s enterprise rather than in the rote skill held by the applicant.


If the TDY is issued, the consular officer will often, but not always annotate the E visa to indicate TDY status. Sometimes the TDY visa is issued for a year or so and other times for a full 5-year period for Japanese nationals, which is the same as a regular E visa.


It goes without saying that the use of the E TDY is predicated upon the company being registered as an E company (in the case of Japan). If the Japanese entity currently employs E visa holders, it is safe to presume it is duly registered with the US Embassy in Tokyo.  If the organization is sending employees to the U.S. for a short period of time to work on a short-term project, the E TDY is an excellent choice.


The main feature of the E-TDY visa is that it is specifically designed for short-term stays in the U.S. It is designed for participation in specific projects or businesses that are not covered by the ESTA or B visas, thus enabling the company to actually employ the worker in the U.S.  Uses of the E TDY include perhaps starting a new business, a new project, expansion of an existing business, training US workers on specific machines, or skills. As long as the company can show that the work requires essential skills, the worker possess them, and that there is a temporary need for these skills, the E TDY may indeed be an excellent candidate.

Remember, as in all visa, the E visa holder must have the same nationality as the company, so a Korean National working in a Japanese owned company would not qualify for an E visa, or an E TDY.

If you are considering applying for an E TDY, feel free to set up a consultation with our offices to discuss.