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E1 Visas: TREATY-TRADERS

Certain countries have treaties with the U.S., nationals of that country may enter the U.S. for the purpose of directing and developing the operations of the enterprise (E-2) or for the purpose of conducting trade (E-1).

The requirements of the E1 visa are as follows:

Citizenship of a Treaty Country. The investor, either a person, partnership or corporate entity, must have the citizenship of a treaty country. At least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.

Substantial Trade. The international trade must be substantial, meaning that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.

Trade must be between U.S. and Treaty Country. More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the United States and the treaty country.

What is Trade? Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.

Must be Executive, Manager or Essential Employee. You must be an essential employee, employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

Am I eligible for an E-1 visa?

You may be eligible for an E-1 visa if you are an entrepreneur, manager or employee who needs to live in the US to oversee a company that is involved in substantial and principal trade.

What can I do on an E-1 visa?

As an E-1 visa holder you can:

• Work legally in the U.S. for the petitioning U.S. company

• Travel freely in and out of the U.S.

• Stay in the U.S. with unlimited two year extensions as long as you maintain E-1 status

• Bring your dependents to the U.S.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an E-1 visa?

Visas are typically given for two years with unlimited five year visa extensions or two year status extensions as long as you maintain E-1 status.

How does One apply for the E-1 visa?

If the applicant is outside the U.S., he or she can apply directly at the Consulate. An application with the Immigration Service first is not necessary, as it is with some other visas.

Can I apply for a Change of Status

If the applicant is in the U.S., he or she can apply for a change of status without leaving the U.S.

Can I bring my dependents on an E-1 visa?

Yes, you may bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years to stay along with you. They may stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your E-2 status.

WARNING: The above is a summary discussing legal issues. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice. We recommend that you get competent legal advice specific to your case.


More Information:

  • E-1 Visas (USCIS)
  • E Visa Document Checklist (Kerosky, Purves & Bogue LLP)