Treaty Trader Visa (E-1)
Treaty Trader Visa (E-1): The E-1 nonimmigrant visa allows foreign nationals
who are citizens of certain treaty countries to enter the United States
solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf or on
the behalf of a qualifying business.
There must be a treaty between the United States and the trader’s
country of nationality. A current list of treaty countries can befound here.
- The individual trader must possess the nationality of the treaty company,
and the principal trade must be between the United States and the trader’s
treaty country. Principal trade between the two countries exists when
over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the United
States and the treaty country.
- The trader must be engaged in substantial trade, which generally entails
the continuous flow of sizable international trade items involving numerous
transactions over time.
- There is no minimum requirement regarding the monetary value or volume
of each transaction to establish substantial trade. Greater weight is
given to the number of transactions over the value of any single transaction.
- Items of trade may include, but are not limited to, the following types
of international exchanges: goods, services, international banking, insurance,
transportation, tourism, technology and its transfer, and certain news-gathering
- Certain executive or supervisory employees of principal E-1 enterprises
or organizations may be eligible to obtain E-1 visas if the treaty trader
entity is at least 50% owned by nationals of the treaty country.
Derivative Benefits and Time Limitations:
- The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany the
principal E-1 visa holder to the United States. The derivative spouse
of an E-1 visa holder may apply for employment authorization with USCIS.
If the work authorization is approved, there are no restrictions on where
he or she may work.
- Treaty traders are allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests
for extensions may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There
is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 visa holder may
receive. After their initial admission, treaty traders are generally readmitted
to the United States for two years, regardless of the expiration date
on their visa, if the visa is valid at the time or readmission.
- The E-1 visa does not allow dual immigrant intent. Thus, treaty traders
must maintain intent to depart the United States when their status expires
or is terminated.
- If the individual is outside of the United States, he or she may apply
directly for an E-1 visa at the appropriate consulate abroad. There is
no need for a previously approved petition from USCIS.
- If the individual is already within the United States in another lawful
nonimmigrant status, he or she may petition USCIS for a change of status to E-1.
- USCIS must be notified of any substantive change in the nature of an E-1 business.
A Turkish national runs a large scale vehicle import business in Turkey.
The business purchases vehicles in the United States and ships them to
Turkey in international trade. After establishing all regulatory requirements,
the business owner successfully applies for an E-1 visa at the Consulate
in Ankara. He then enters the United States to oversee the procurement
of vehicles for his company.