The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is granted to individuals who are nationals of a country which has entered into a treaty agreement with the U.S. and which conducts commercial trade between the two countries. To be eligible for the E-1 visa, the trade relationship and activities must already be established between the U.S. and the foreign country. Therefore, a prospective E-1 applicant will not be deemed qualified for an E-1 visa for the purposes of finding and establishing a trade partner / relationship.
In order to be eligible to apply for an E-1 visa, the following conditions must be present:
- The prospective E-1 applicant must be a citizen of a country which has entered into a treaty of commerce and navigation. Examples of such countries are Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, China etc.
- The E-1 applicant’s prospective U.S. employer must be at least 50% owned by nationals of the same country.
- The trade which is being conducted on an international level must be “substantial”, such that there is a significant and continuing volume of trade. Additionally, at least 50% of the international trade must be primarily between the U.S. and the E-1 applicant’s country.
- The E-1 applicant must be coming to the U.S. to perform executive / supervisory or specialized knowledge duties. Therefore, individuals performing unskilled duties will not be eligible for an E-1 visa.
- The conditions of “trade” must be met: There must be an actual exchange of commodities such as goods, money, services or technology, and the title of the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other. Please note that all trade activities conducted between the two countries must be identifiable and traceable.
The E-1 visa can be extended indefinitely as long as the individual maintains the same capacity in the business and the business maintains its trade activities. If the individual will be applying for the E-1 visa at a U.S. Consulate abroad, the visa maybe issued up to five years. Please note that if the individual is applying for the E-1 visa in the U.S. through USCIS, the E-1 status will be granted for a 2 year period. Additionally, the E-1 visa holder will be issued a 2 year period of stay on their I-94 each time they enter the U.S. with their E-1 visa. Spouses of E-1 visa holders are authorized to work pursuant to obtaining work authorization from USCIS.
E-1 Treaty Trader visas require submitting substantial amounts of documentation pertaining to verifying the trade relationship and trade activities. Therefore, please contact our office for further information.