E-1 Treaty Trader Visa
The E-1 nonimmigrant visa 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 visa classification.
What are the USCIS requirements for an E-1 treaty trader visa?
To qualify for E-1 classification, you must:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Carry on substantial trade
- Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.
The above qualifications may seem simple, however, they can be a bit complex. Please continue reading for more detailed information on how to satisfy each requirement.
E-1 Visa Countries
To be eligible for an E-1 visa, the applicant must be from a country that has a shared treaty with the U.S. For a list of the countries that have treaties with the U.S. and allow qualifying nationals to apply for Treaty Trader status, please read more here. [LINK TO E-1 QUAL COUNTRIES]
Trade Requirements with the United States
E-1 visa applications focus on the volume of trade between the U.S. and the qualifying treaty country. The prospective E-visa treaty trader must demonstrate the following:
- There will be a substantial number of trade transactions between the U.S. and the treaty country.
- There will be a substantial dollar value to the trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.
- More than 50% of the international trade transactions undertaken by the applicant will be between the U.S. and the treaty country. This applies only to trade between the two countries and does not apply to trade within the national borders of either country.
- More than 50% of the dollar value of trade will be between the U.S. and the treaty country.
- The trader, including his/her employees seeking E-1 visas, has sufficient business acumen and experience to develop and direct the trade in the event that the visa is granted.
- The trader and any other E-1 staff are able and willing to leave the U.S. upon the termination of their E-1 status.
- The trader has developed a history of conducting trade between the U.S. and the qualifying treaty country.
For more information and definitions of terms such as “trader” and “substantial trade” or “principal trade,” please read more here. [LINK TO E-1 REQ DEFS] If you have any questions or concerns as to whether you might qualify as an E-1 treaty trader, please contact our experienced Los Angeles immigration and visa attorneys. We offer a free initial consultation! [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]
How to Obtain E-1 Classification if Outside the United States
A request for E-1 classification may not be made on your USCIS petition if the person being filed for is physically outside the United States. Interested parties should refer to the U.S. Department of State website for further information about applying for an E-1 nonimmigrant visa abroad. Upon issuance of a visa, the person may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-1 nonimmigrant.
Who May File for Change of Status to E-1 Classification
If the treaty trader is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may file an application to request 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 a petition on the employee’s behalf.