An E1 Treaty Trader visa allows a national of a treaty country 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.
General Qualifications of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E1 visa 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
- Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E1 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:
- International banking
- Technology and its transfer
- Some news-gathering activities
General Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E1 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
- Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
Period of Stay
Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extensions of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 non-immigrant may be granted. However, all E-1 non-immigrants must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
Terms and Conditions of E-1 Status
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, much like the E-2 visa. An E-1 employee, however, may also work, under certain conditions, for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries.
Family of E1 Visa Holders
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 non-immigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee.