E-1 Visa Requirements

General Requirements for an E-1 Visa Treaty Trader


The general qualifications of an E-1 visa treaty trader require that 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


  • Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

It is very important to have the correct understanding of the terms, trade, substantial trade, and principal trade.  For the purposes of immigration law, the USCIS considers the following definitions.  If you need any assistance in applying for your E-1 visa, contact JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office.  Our experienced immigration attorneys are ready to help you today!  [LINK TO CONTACT JCS]


Trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. Existing trade includes successfully negotiated contracts binding upon the parties which call for the immediate exchange of items of trade. Domestic trade or the development of domestic markets without international exchange does not constitute trade for purposes of this immigration law. This exchange must be traceable and identifiable. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.

Items of trade include but are not limited to:

  • Goods
  • Services
  • International banking
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Technology and its transfer
  • Some news-gathering activities.

Substantial trade is an amount of trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade items between the United States and the treaty country. This continuous flow contemplates numerous transactions over time. Treaty trader status may not be established or maintained on the basis of a single transaction, regardless of how protracted or monetarily valuable the transaction. Although the monetary value of the trade item being exchanged is a relevant consideration, greater weight will be given to exchanges of larger value that also are more numerous in volume. There is no minimum requirement with respect to the monetary value or volume of each individual transaction. In the case of smaller businesses, an income derived from the value of numerous transactions which is sufficient to support the treaty trader and his or her family constitutes a favorable factor in assessing the existence of substantial trade.


Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists when over 50 percent of the volume of international trade of the treaty trader is conducted between the United States and the treaty country of the treaty trader's nationality.

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