E-1 - Treaty Traders Visa
The Treaty Trader Visa (nonimmigrant E-1 classification) is intended for the nationals of a foreign country with which a qualifying Treaty of friendship, Commerce, navigation, or a similar agreement exists with the United States. Nationals (individuals or companies) of such countries can obtain visas to work in the USA in order to develop and direct their trade with the USA. E-1 visa is for individuals coming to the U.S. to carry on substantial trade. A person may qualify as the principal trader or as an employee of a trader company having the same nationality. There are no numerical limitations on E-1 admissions. E1 is for nationals of treaty countries and they can enter the United States to work for an enterprise engaged in substantial trade principally between the United States and the treaty country, provided the enterprise is majority-owned by treaty nationals (either other companies or individuals). Meaning of "trade" includes commercial transactions in goods and trade in services and technology like banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, technology transfer and other measurable services which may be traded. Under the provisions of section 101(a)(15)(E)(i) of the US Immigration and Nationality Act - an alien may be classified as a non-immigrant treaty trader if he or she (i) will be in the United States solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the United States and the foreign state of which he or she is a national; and (ii) intends to depart the United States upon the expiration or termination of treaty trader (E-1) status.
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- The alien must be a citizen of a treaty trade country, and are involved in international trade
- The applicant must be coming to the United States to carry on substantial trade or to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise that has commercial trade with the applicant's country of nationality
- The substantial nature of trade is dependent on the volume of the trade, the number of transactions, and a continued course of trade and is not tied directly to the dollar value.
- The trade must be conducted principally between the United States and the treaty country. The Parent company, or the worldwide organization of the treaty enterprise, does not have to be engaged principally in the U.S. treaty country trade. It means the U.S. enterprise must conduct more than 50 percent of its total trade volume with the treaty country.
- The trade involved must be international exchange (successfully negotiated contracts binding on all parties) of items including passing of the title of the trade items between the US and a treaty country.
- These types of visas are for managerial and supervisory personnel, therefore, unskilled workers and workers with ordinary skills do not usually qualify for such visas. However, other personnel who have special qualifications that make the services to be rendered essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise may also qualify for such visa.
- The E-1 visa holder can be an independent trader or an agent or employee of a trader or of a trading company.
- Alien is the immediate family member of a principle E-1 visa holder.
E1 Visa countries
The following countries have treaties with the United States that allow qualifying nationals to apply for Treaty Trader status:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Canada, China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Paraguay, Spain, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia.
- If one is already in a lawful status in the U.S., than has to submit the visa application to a USCIS field office in the U.S. for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employment.
- This classification does not require a petition for employment if the alien is outside of the US. If outside of the US, the alien applies for an E1 visa on his or her own behalf directly to a US consular office abroad.
- Form DS - 156, Nonimmigrant Visa Application;
- Form DS-156E, Treaty Trader Application;
- Form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, for all males between the age of 16 and 45.
- Documents establishing the identity of company's nationality;
- Letter from employer detailing aliens position, specialized qualifications and skills that make his services essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise;
- Evidence of substantial trade for at least one year between the U.S. and alien's home country;
- A passport valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date at least six months beyond the alien's intended period of stay;
- Two photographs for each member listed in the visa application.
Duration of Stay and Extensions
A treaty trader may be admitted for an initial period of not more than 2 years. The spouse and minor children accompanying shall be admitted for the period during which the principal alien is in valid treaty trader status.
Extensions of stay can be granted in increments of two years, with no outer limit on the total period of stay for the alien. A treaty trader in valid E-1 status may apply for an extension of stay by filing an application for extension of stay on Form I-129 and E Supplement, with required accompanying documents.