E-1 Visa for Treaty Traders
E-visas are available to Treaty Traders (E-1 visa) of countries with treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States. Examples of countries with treaties with the U.S. include Australia, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, and more. For a full list, click here.
Prior to entering the country, the treaty trader or investor must apply and have received the appropriate E-1 visa. If the individual is already in the United States, the U.S. Company can petition to change the individual's status to E-1 using Form I-129.
Who is the E-1 Visa for?
This is a nonimmigrant visa that allows a foreign national of a treaty country to enter the U.S. for the purpose of international trade. As a Treaty Trader, the visa holder must:
- Engage in a substantial trade in goods or services between the United States, and
- Hold citizenship in a qualifying treaty country
The E-1 visa is only for treaty traders and some employees of this type of individual or organization.
Who qualifies as a treaty trader?
In order to be classified as a treaty trader, an individual or organization must carry on substantial and principal trade between their country and the United States. “Trade” here refers to the exchange of goods, services, banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology, and some news.
In order for that type of trade to be considered substantial, generally it must be continuous and sizeable. When considering who qualifies, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gives greater weight to individuals and organizations that participate in numerous exchanges of greater value.
Trade qualifies as principal trade if more than 50% of the trade volume is between the United States and the applicant’s country.
If applying as an individual employee of a treaty trader, generally you must be of the same nationality and from the same country as the treaty trader organization, qualify as an employee, and engage in supervisory duties or have special qualifications.
How to Apply for an E-1 Visa
To apply for an E visa, you will need to complete Form DS-160, Form DS-156E, and provide documentation to show that the investment or trading enterprise satisfies the requirements.
Period of Stay for E Visas
E-1 visa holders can stay for a maximum of two years with the opportunity to request an extension (no maximum limit).