How to Get an E-1 Treaty Trader Visa to the US: Requirements & Services

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E-1 Treaty Trade Visa Key Topics

What Is a Treaty Trade Visa

The E-1  or Treaty Trade visa is a non immigrant visa for citizens of countries that the US has a treaty of commerce with. While not all countries are eligible, business owners and investors from those that are may qualify if they meet several criteria. The E-1 Visa is one of the visas included in the E category. The other type is known as an E-2 Investor Visa. This visa category is for individuals that wish to invest a substantial amount into the US economy. 

What is the Goal of the E-1 Visa?

The aim of the E-1 visa is to facilitate positive economic interaction between the US and countries with a treaty. 

Can I Settle in the US with an E-1 Visa?

No. The E-1 visa is not intended to be a path towards permanent residency in the US. In fact, it is designed for individuals who only want to carry out trade. The designation of the an E-1 visa as a nonimmigrant visa means that it is temporary in nature. 

Can I Extend an E-1 Visa?

The E-1 visa can be extended and renewed. However, it can only be done as long as the trade continues to meet all of the visa requirements. 

What Is An Example of Trade that Meets E-1 Requirements?

A UK company manufactures and sells high end couches. Over the past few years they have done at least 50% of their trade in the US and the UK. They decide it would be beneficial to move some staff to the US temporarily. In this case, the company may benefit from the E-1 visa. 

How to Apply For a E-1 Visa:

While both traders and employees will receive the same E-1 visa, there are different application processes that each undergo. 

Treaty Traders: 

Treaty Traders must register their company with the E-Visa unit of US Immigration. The E-Visa unit requires supporting documents and will interview the candidate.


This section applies to the employees of a company that has already registered with the E-visa unit. The employee will make an appointment with US immigration. They are not required to submit documentation before the meeting but should bring it with them.  Additionally, the employee must be: 

  1. The same nationality as as the main employer (who must be the nationality of the treaty country). 
  2. Must meet criteria of “employee”. 
  3. Must be working in an “executive or supervisory character”. This means that the employee is directly responsible for work that impacts the company’s overall success. OR if the employee is working at a lower level, they must have “special qualifications” which are skills that are essential to the operation of the business. 

The spouse and children (unmarried and under 21) of E-1 are entitled to the same E-1 classification as the principal.

To qualify for E-1 Employee classification, the employee or prospective employee of a treaty investor must:

  • Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
  • Meet the definition of "employee" under relevant law
  • Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

How to Qualify for an E-1 Trader Visa

E-1 visas are for individuals involved in the exchange, purchase or sale of goods/services or merchandise. Services include technology transfer, architecture and engineering services, management consulting or accounting. The trade in goods and services should be substantial in terms of value, volume or a large number of small transactions.

What Constitutes As Trade: 

Trade is seen as an international exchange of items.  

  • Goods
  • Services
  • Technology/ Technology Transfer
  • Tourism
  • Transportation
  • Insurance
  • Banking
  • Some Journalistic Activities

The trade must also meet the following criteria:

  • The trade must be principally with the treaty country.
  • More than 50% of the total volume of international trade must be between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • The amount of trade must be sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
  • Trade can be binding contracts that call for the future exchange of items.
  • Income derived from the value of numerous transactions that is sufficient to support the trades and his/her family is a favourable factor.

How to Long Do E-1 Visas Last?

Initially, traders and employees will be allowed to stay for a maximum of two years. However, it is possible to apply for extensions which are granted in two year increments. There is no limit on how many extensions you can be granted. All E-1 holders must maintain their intention to leave the US at the end of their visa. 

If an E-1 visa holder needs to travel abroad, they will typically be granted a two year readmission period. However, it is important to make sure you have the right to reenter the US before leaving. 

Terms Of An E-1 Visa:

A treaty trader or an employee must only work on the trading that they were granted a visa for. In certain cases, an E-1 employee may work for other companies that are related to the treaty organization. This can happen when: 

  1. A relationship between the treaty trade organization and the new one is established. 
  2. Subsidiary employment requires an employee’s “executive, supervisory, or essential skills”. 
  3. The rest of the  employee’s employment status does not change. 

Family Of E-1 Visa Holders:

An E-1 visa holder may be accompanied by their spouse and unmarried children under 21. The nationalities of the spouse or children do not need to match that of the E-1 visa holder. 

Is your Country on the E Visa List?

In order to qualify for an E visa, you have to be a national of a country that has a Treaty with the U.S. for E visas. Below is the list of countries that have an E visa treaty for both types of E visas.

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Costa Rica
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
New Zealand
North Macedonia
United Kingdom

Countries with Treaties conferring only E-1 treaty-trader status:


Countries with Treaties conferring only E-2 treaty-trader status:

Congo, Republic of the
Moldova, Republic of
Sri Lanka
Trinidad and Tobago

Why Seeking Professional Help for an E-1 Visa is Crucial

When applying for an E visa, all the criteria must be met. With all of the paperwork and documentation required, it is easy to miss important details that can lead to a rejected application. Without any legal help, navigating through the complicated application process is frustrating and potentially fruitless. When it comes to preparing an application for investors or traders, experienced legal teams will know the best way to prepare a successful application package.

Why Hire Us to Help You With Your E-1 Visa Application?

With over 15 years of experience of working with investors and traders, we know what the U.S. immigration department requires. We have helped thousands and thousands of foreign nationals successfully enter the U.S. with E visas and we can help you too!

The first step towards a successful E-1 visa application is getting an assessment of your case. Fill out our immigration assessment form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to discuss your eligibility and options.