E-1 Visa

E-1 Treaty Trader

These visas are granted to businessmen and women from a list of specific countries  who plan to engage in substantial trade with the US or whose employer does. 

Who qualifies? 

  • The applicant must be a citizen of a treaty nation (please see link above).
  • At least 50% of the company where the E-1 applicant will work must be owned by citizens of the same treaty country. The company is often owned by the visa applicant, but this is not necessary.
  • The business must engage in active trade, meaning the international exchange of goods, services, and technology.
  • The volume and dollar value of trade must be so substantial as to justify the trader or the employees being in the U.S. to manage this trade.
  • At least 50% of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant's nationality.
  • The applicant may be the Treaty Trader themselves, must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity or possess highly specialized skills essential to operation of the firm. Contact us to learn more about this technical requirement.
  • The applicant must signal that at the expiration of the E-1 visa, he or she intends to leave the United States.

What are the benefits of an E-1 Visa?

  • E-1 visas are initially be granted for up to two years, during which time the visa holder may travel freely in and out of the U.S.
  • An E-1 visa can be renewed for two-year increments as often as the applicant applies. This can allow the Treaty Trader to remain in the US to oversee the business.
  • An E-1 visa holder who travels abroad is often granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the U.S.
  • An E-1 visa holder will be legally permitted legally work in the United States for the business.
  • An E-1 visa holder’s spouse and unmarried minor children are also granted visas. The spouse may apply for permission to work in the United States – even at a different business.

How can I present a business plan that leads to an E-1 visa?

Your business plan will make all the difference in your application. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency will scrutinize your plan to make sure you qualify.

There must be a continuous flow of trade items between the US and the applicant’s home country. 

What are the dollar amounts? What is the volume of trade? What is the frequency of trade?

There is no minimum dollar amount written in law, but we advise that applications with trade totaling under $200,000.00 USD are often rejected. Likewise, there is no statutory minimum volume, but your company’s initial shipment of products should fill a warehouse or retail store. Companies that provide services use other metrics. Decision makers also want to see near constant trade. One shipment is not enough.

The team at VISAS-USA can help you present your business plan in the most favorable way.

What are the differences between E-1 Visas, E-2 Visas, and L-Visas?

 L-1 VisasE-1 VisasE-2 Visas
Can you apply from any country?Treaty countries onlyTreaty countries only
Is there a one-year work requirement?
Can my spouse work in the US?
Can I renew the visa indefinitely if I qualify?
Is my business plan crucial?
Is there a minimum investment?Investment must be enough to operate foreign business and US businessNo, but the larger the stronger the applicationInvestment must be large enough to fund US business, usually above $150,000USD
Can I transition to an immigrant visa?After 1 year an L-1 visa holder can apply for a green cardThe E-B5 program can lead to green cardThe E-B5 program can lead to green card

E-1 Visa Fees

  • Filing Fee – Regular $460
  • Filing Fee – Premium $2,960
  • "I am indebted to VISAS-USA for their great work in getting my O Visa."
    Karina Vence, Dinastia Market
  • "The VISAS-USA team did everything possible to get my Permanent Residency through a National Interest Waiver application."
    Jorge Becerra, Piloto
  • "The advice of VISAS-USA was essential to establish the best strategy to achieve it."
    Facundo Bermejo, eVent Medical

Frequently Asked Questions

  • E-1 FAQ

    • What is an E-1 visa?
      The E-1 is nonimmigrant visa which allows foreign nationals who live in a treaty nation to enter the U.S. and carry out substantial trade.
    • Do I qualify for E-1 visa?

      E-1 visa holders meet the following criteria:

      1. You are an executive or manager in a treaty nation company operating in the U.S., or you own at least 50 per cent of the company

      2. The nationals of your country own at least 50 per cent of the stock of the company

      3. You are a citizen of a treaty trade country, and are involved in international trade

      4. You are a family member of a principal E-1 visa holder

    • What can I do with an E-1 visa?
      1. Work legally for a U.S. company where more than 50 per cent of the business is trade between the U.S. and your home country

      2. Travel freely into and out of the U.S.

      3. Stay in the U.S. with unlimited two year extensions as long as you maintain E-1 qualifications

      4. Bring your dependents to the U.S. Your spouse may also work in the United States

    • How much time in the U.S. is authorized by an E-1 visa?

      You may stay in the U.S. with unlimited five year visa extensions or two year status extensions as long as you maintain E-1 qualifications.

    • Can I travel with an E-1 visa?

      Yes, you may travel as often as you wish before the expiry of your E-1 status. There are no time limits on your travel.

    • Can I bring my family?

      You may bring your spouse and unmarried minor children. They can stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your E-1 status.

    • Can my family work or go to school on E-1 visa?

      Yes, your spouse may apply for an Employment Authorization Document. Your children are not allowed to work.

      Your family may attend U.S. schools.

    • Can I apply for a Green Card while holding an E-1 visa?

      Yes, you may apply for Green Card in one of the following ways:

      1. Family Based Immigration: Any family member who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident may apply for you.

      2. Employment Based Immigration (Labor Certification):  You may find an employer who is willing to file a Labor Certificate for you with the Department of Labor

      3. EB-1: You may also file an immigration petition based on the classification of Extraordinary Ability – EB-1A, or as a Multinational Executive or Manager – EB-1C

      4. National Interest Waiver:  National Interest Waivers are available to applicants who have an advanced degree or sufficient experience and who can show that their work will substantially benefit the U.S.’s interests.

    • Should the trading company exist and the investment be made before the visa is issued?

      Trade must already be active when you apply for the visa. Investments may be ongoing, so long as the funds are irrevocably committed, contingent only upon the visa. The funds for the investment funds may come from any country, including the U.S., as long as they are controlled by the applicant.

    • What is meant by substantial trade?

      The volume of substantial trade must be sufficient to ensure continuous international flow and demonstrate numerous transactions over time between the U.S. and treaty country. There is no exact minimum. However, smaller businesses must be able to support the treaty trader and their family.

    • What is meant by principal trade?

      Over 50% of the international trade must be conducted between the U.S. and the country of nationality.

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