E-1 Visa Treaty Traders

E Visas

E visas, also known as treaty visas include treaty traders and investors who come to the United States, under a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which the treaty trader or investor is a citizen or national.

E-1 (Treaty Traders)

E-1 Visa is for treaty traders who carry a substantial trade in goods, including but not limited to services and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which they are citizens or nationals. Trade should be international in scope.

Key Facts:

  • The visas are based upon a treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation (FCN), Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), or NAFTA (Canada and Mexico) between United States and the country of E visa applicant’s nationality.
  • Two year admission is given. Extensions may be given in 2-year increments.
  • Some countries have only E-1 or E-2 treaties, and some have both.
  • Each treaty may contain specific and unique provisions, and can create very important differences in the treatment of treaty nationals.
  • Submission of a comprehensive business plan is required. Business plan will define the scope of trade/investment, future financial projections, partners etc.
  • Visa may not be denied solely based on a pending Labor Condition and/or an Immigrant Visa petition. However, Department of State (DOS) might require that E visa applicant should not seek an Adjustment of Status (AOS) while in E status.

E-1 Dependents:

  • Spouse of E-1 can obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
  • Children of E-1 cannot obtain EAD, but can attend school without changing status.
  • Nationality of spouse and children is not important.

E-1 Beneficiary:

  • A national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of a type described above.
  • Someone who engages in international trade “principally” with the United States. The amount of trade should be “substantial”.
  • An individual E-1 alien employer, or an enterprise or organization with at least 50% stock owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader (E-1) status.  If the owners are not in the United States, they must be, if they were to seek admission to this country, classifiable as nonimmigrant treaty traders.
  • E-1 enterprise can be a US branch office or US subsidiary of the foreign company.
  • A key employee from a treaty country for E-1. Employees include executives, supervisors or persons whose services are “essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise”