Whitehouse & Cicilline Introduce Bipartisan Portuguese Visa Bill to Grow Economy and Create Jobs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01) have introduced the bipartisan Advancing Mutual Interests and Growing Our Success (AMIGOS) Act, which would extend trade and investor visas to Portuguese citizens to increase international business between the United States and Portugal.

“Generations of hardworking Portuguese immigrants have made important cultural and economic contributions to Rhode Island,” said Senator Whitehouse.  “Our bipartisan AMIGOS Act would deepen America’s ties to Portugal by boosting commerce between the two countries and encouraging more job-creating investments in the United States.”

“Portuguese-Americans and Portuguese nationals helped make Rhode Island the state we are today,” Congressman Cicilline said. “The members of our thriving Portuguese-American community make rich contributions to the fabric of our state in the arts, culture, business, and public service. Breaking down barriers that currently limit Portuguese investments in American businesses and projects and will grow an already strong relationship between our two countries.” 

The legislation would allow Portuguese citizens to apply for trade (E-1) and investor (E-2) temporary entry visas.  These types of visas are eligible to citizens from countries that have treaties of “Friendship, Commerce and Navigation” with the United States.  However, Portugal did not enter into an agreement allowing trade and investor visas before joining the European Union, making the country ineligible to independently enter into such an agreement.

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) is also sponsoring the legislation in the Senate.

Portugal is an important cultural and business partner of the United States.  Bilateral trade with Portugal reached $8.9 billion in 2019, a six percent increase from the previous year.

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