E-1 Visa Treaty Trader

General Information for (E1) Treaty Traders

The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.

If the treaty trader is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may re- quest a change of status to E-1 classification. If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file on the employee’s behalf.

A treaty trader or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted. An E-1 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:

  • Relationship between the organizations is established;
  • Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory or essential skills;
  • Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.

Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee. These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.

General Qualifications of an E-1 Treaty Trader

To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation;
  • Carry on substantial trade; and
  • Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

Trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. Items of trade include but are not limited to goods, services, international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news- gathering activities.

Substantial trade generally refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time. There is no mini- mum requirement regarding the monetary value or volume of each transaction. While monetary value of transactions is an important factor in considering substantiality, greater weight is given to more numerous exchanges of greater value.

Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists when over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the U.S. and the trader’s treaty country.

General Qualification of the Employee of a Treaty Trader

To qualify for E-1 classification, the employee of a treaty trader 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 the relevant law; and
  • Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualification.

If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader 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.

How Long Can E-1 Visa Holders Remain in the United States?

Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications. Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Re- quests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maxi-mum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-1 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

An E-1 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.

Countries with Treaties for E-1 Status

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia the Former Yugoslav Republic (FRY), Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, and Yugoslavia.

Suggested List of Documents for an E-1 Visa

  • Complete copy of the principal E-1 visa holder’s passports and I-94’s ;
  • Professional Business Plan;
  • Business Lease (commercial building);
  • Articles of Incorporation;
  • Stock Certificates;
  • Utility bills, phone bills. Electric bills, office sup- plies to prove that the business exists;
  • Occupational License;• If the company already has employees, a copy of the employer quarterly taxes, payroll list and I-9s;
  • Invoices from Customers;
  • Pictures of merchandise, company brochures;
  • Evidence of initial investment, such a wire transfers, etc.;
  • Evidence that alien has sufficient funds to support himself in the US and will not be depending on investment to survive;
  • Description of duties of principal investor(s) (must be responsible for the development and direction of investment);
  • Most recent financial statements for the corporation.

E-2 Temporary Visas for Investors

The Immigration & Nationality Act provides non-immigrant visa status to nationals of any of the countries with which the United States maintains an appropriate treaty of commerce and navigation, who is coming to the United States to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which the national has invested, or is actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital.

 

Who Qualifies for an E-2 Treaty Investor Visa?

A person may be issued an E-2 Treaty Investor visa if:

  • The individual or firm has the nationality of the treaty country (at least half of the company must be owned by nationals of the treaty country);
  • The individual or the company is in the process of making a substantial investment (generally in excess of $100,000 at risk) in a business in the United States. The investment must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise. The percentage of investment required for a low-cost business enterprise is generally higher than the percentage of investment required for a high-cost enterprise.
  • The investment must be a real operating enterprise. Speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
  • The investment may not be marginal. It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to the investor or the family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
  • The investor must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
  • The individual is either the principal investor, who will develop and direct the enterprise, or an executive, manager or employee with special skills essential to the company. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

 

How Long can E Visa Holders Remain in the United States?

The duration of an E visa depends on the reciprocity schedule of the treaty country. They are generally issued for a period of between two and five years. Extensions of stay in the United States may be granted as long as eligibility continues and the treaty remains in force.

At the border, E visa holders are admitted to the United States for two years. Extensions of stay in the United States may be granted for up to two years at a time from the appropriate regional service center.

An E visa can be reissued for an additional period of time at the home Consulate.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may receive derivative E visas in order to accompany the principal alien. They may attend school. Spouses may obtain permission to work in the United States.

Countries with Treaties for E-2 Visas
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Congo (Kinshasa), Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Grenada, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea (South), Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia the Former Yugoslav Republic of (FRY), Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.

Suggested List of Documents for an E-2 Visa

  • Complete copy of the principal E-2 visa holder’s passports and I-94’s;
  • Professional business plan with the company’s financial projections for the next five years;
  • Business lease. Make sure it’s a commercial building;
  • Articles of Incorporation;
  • Stock certificates;
  • Utility bills (phone bills, electric bills), office expenses to prove that the business exists;
  • Corporate income tax returns; or letter from accountant;
  • Occupational license;
  • A list of positions and a description of job duties for each;
  • If company already has employees, a copy of the employer quarterly taxes, and payroll list and I-9’s;
  • Invoices from customers;
  • Pictures of merchandise, company brochures;
  • Evidence of initial investment such as wire transfers, etc.;
  • Proof of source of funds;
  • Evidence that alien has sufficient funds to support himself/herself in the US and will not be depending on investment to survive;
  • Description of duties of principal investor(s) (they must be responsible for the development and direction of the investment);
  • Most recent Financial Statements of the corporation
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