What is an E1 Visa?

The E1 Visa is a non-immigrant permit that allows foreign traders to enter the U.S. for trade-related purposes. It is designed for business owners or employees who wish to work for an enterprise or to personally engage in trade (imports/exports) with the U.S.

Currently, the U.S. has signed the Treaty of Commerce with 78 different foreign countries. To meet the E1 Visa requirements, you must be a citizen of one of those territories.

How can IAS help you get an E1 Visa for trade?

To apply for a Treaty Trader Visa, you must meet several requirements. You will also be asked to provide detailed evidence of your business and your trade.

Without the support of a legal advisor, it can be complicated to build an appropriate portfolio to support your application. At IAS, we can help you with your application process to avoid any delay in your visa application.

One of our lawyers can verify if the nature of your trade meets the legal requirements. Together, you will build a successful business plan and maximize your chance to get your investor visa.

Call us on +1844 290 6312 or use our online contact form. One of our best immigration advisors will be happy to discuss your case and provide his guidance.


What does “substantial trade” mean?

To get a E1 Visa, your travelling purposes must meet the legal meaning of “substantial trade”. In general, any constant flow of commercial operations that take place over time is recognized as “trade” or “commerce”. This includes:

  • Imports/exports of goods;
  • Banking;
  • Insurance;
  • Communications;
  • Tourism;
  • Every other exchange of international services.

There is no minimum monetary value for each transaction. Nevertheless, higher volume activities benefit from greater importance and priority.

What are the E1 Visa requirements?

  • To be eligible, you must:
    • Be a citizen of one of the 78 Treaty Trader countries;
    • Be involved in a substantial and continuous flow of international operations;
    • Be working for an employee of your same nationality;
    • Have a supervisory role in your business;
    • Have special qualifications or proven expertise;
    • If you work for an international organization, it must be at least 50% owned by people in the U.S. who still are national of one of the treaty countries.

    Furthermore, at least 50% of the total volume of your trading transactions must be between the U.S. and the treaty country you represent.

    If you are interested in investing your funds in a U.S. business, you may also meet the E2 Visa requirements.

How to apply for an E1 Investor Visa?

If you work for an eligible organization, your company must register as an E1 business before you file your petition.

First of all, you will need to fill out a Form DS-160. This online application allows you to explain the purpose of your visit. After this, you must pay your non-refundable fee and wait to be summoned for an interview at your local U.S. Consulate. Do not forget to bring your Form 156E with you, since it defines the details of your business.

Your employer or organization must also provide a proper cover letter. It will support your application, describing the nature of your business and your position within it. This statement should also advocate how both the U.S. and your home country can benefit from your trade.

How long can you stay in the U.S. under a Treaty Trader Visa?

Under an E1 visa, you can stay in the U.S. for up to 2 years. If your reasons to stay in the country are still relevant, the USCIS may grant you a renewal for up to two more years.

There is no limit to the number of extensions you can obtain, as long your business transactions must remain active and stable.

The Treaty Trader Visa is a non-immigrant permit, meaning it does not create a path to U.S. citizenship. Nevertheless, you can submit a Form I-129 to apply for change your status.

During your stay in the U.S., you can only work for the specific employer or organization that has sponsored your Treaty Trader Visa.

Can my dependents travel with me in the U.S.?

If you hold an E1 Visa, your status may cover your immediate relatives. These are your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21. Since the E1 permit is a non-immigrant visa, you cannot apply for a family-based immigration visa.

Once in the U.S., your spouse may submit a Form I-756 to seek unrestricted work authorization. Your children can also attend public school, but they will not be allowed to work.

Under the Treaty Trader Visa, you and your family can travel abroad. However, only you will be granted a two-year period of readmission in the U.S.

What immigration services does IAS offer?

One of the main challenges when applying for a Treaty Trader Visa is that the nature of the eligible trade transactions is not legally defined.

By seeking legal advice, you can verify if you meet all the E1 Visa requirements.

Your IAS immigration lawyer will also:

  • Determine which credentials do you need to support your application;
  • Assess if your skills and your business are essential to your intended trade in the U.S.;
  • Establish the degree of responsibilities your employer or company must grant you to make your role adequate;
  • Check if you have satisfactory and detailed documentation about your business;
  • Assist you in case you need to apply for an E1 Visa renewal.

Call us now on +1844 290 6312 or use our online form to request a call back from one of our immigration advisers.

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