Do you meet the E-1 Treaty Trader Requirements?

The E-1 Treaty Trader visa allows non-US nationals to enter the USA for the purpose of carrying out substantial, international trade, as the owner or qualifying employee of an eligible non-US business.

As an E-1 treaty trader or employee, you can only perform work that has been approved under the visa conditions. This includes working only for the approved company or its parent company.

E-1 visas are generally granted for an initial stay of 2 years, which you can apply to extend should you continue to meet the eligibility requirements. There is no limit to the number of extensions. You may travel out of the US during this time, and on reentry, you will automatically get a 2-year extension.

To apply, you will need to evidence that all of the E 1 Treaty Trader requirements are met. The E-1 visa application process can vary in parts between Consular posts, as such it’s recommended to take advice on what you will need to do to avoid any issues or delays with your application.

Do you have a query about the E 1 Treaty Trader Requirements?>>

E 1 Visa Requirements

Treaty Country

The first requirement is that individual E-1 visa applicant(s) must be a national of one of the treaty countries, i.e. a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US.

The UK for example has a qualifying Treaty in place, meaning UK nationals and UK-based businesses satisfy this initial requirement.

E1 company

The business undertaking the trade in the US must be registered as an E-1 Treaty Trader business.

The company application is to be filed at the US consulate at the same time as the business’s first individual E-1 visa application is made. UK E-1 company registrations may be valid for up to five years following the initial employee’s visa application, and can be renewed indefinitely.

In order to qualify, the company has to be owned and controlled at least 50% by individuals holding passports from a treaty country, and it must be engaged in trade with the United States.

Qualifying trade is defined as the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the US and the treaty country of the foreign company. Items of trade include: goods, services, international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology, and newsgathering activities.

Trade must be substantial

You will have to evidence that trade is “substantial”. While there is no set limit to the amount or value of trade, it must involve numerous transactions over time.

Trade must be between the and the Treaty Nation

At least 50% of the company’s international trade must be between the US and the relevant treaty country. For UK businesses, this would not include domestic UK trade. To calculate the percentage, you should look at the full year preceding your application.

Intention to leave the US

The E-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning you will be required to depart the US on visa expiry. It is not a path to US permanent residency.

As such, your application will need to show your intention to leave the US by evidencing you have ‘sufficient ties’ to your home country. This could include documentation such as proof of mortgage statements, employment-related documents, details about your family that shows you will maintain ties in your country.

The option to apply to extent your E-1 visa will remain provided you continue to meet all of these E-1 visa requirements.

E-1 Supporting documents

You will need to evidence you satisfy the E-1 visa requirements. The specific type of documents will depend on the stipulations of the Consular post where you are filing your application:

  • A description of the qualifying goods or services
  • Documents identifying qualifying transactions with the US, such as copies of shipping invoices
  • Your calculation of the percentage of documented international trade with the US

E1 Employee requirements

If applying for the E-1 visa as an employee of an E-1 business, you will also need to demonstrate the following:

  • You are national of the same treaty country as your E-1 employer and E-1 company.
  • You hold an executive, managerial or supervisory role requiring specialist skills or knowledge.
  • Your employer is either in the US under a valid E1 visa, or outside the US and able to meet the E-1 requirements.
  • You intend to return to your residence following completion of your work in the US and before visa expiry.
  • Evidence of your residence in the UK if a British national.

While the E-1 company registration remains valid, employees may apply for E-1 status to support trading activities in the US may apply for E-1 status at the consular post where the E-1 registration application was filed without having to submit documents substantiating the foreign company’s US trading activities.

Can dependents apply under the E-1 visa?

E-1 visa holders are permitted to bring dependents – spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. As E-1 dependents, spouses are allowed to apply for work authorization in the US. Children however are not.

Dependent visa applications may be made at the time of the E-1 employee’s interview, or by scheduling a separate interview at a US consular post following approval of the E-1 employee’s visa application.

Can the E-1 visa be renewed?

E-1 company registrations and Employee visas are renewable indefinitely, provided the foreign company continues to meet E-1 requirements, and the employee remains an employee of the foreign company.

There is no limit on the number of times E-1 company registrations or E-1 visas may be renewed, however E-1 visa applicants must always maintain an intent to return to their home country following completion of their work in the US.

Do you have a question about the E-1 Treaty Trader Requirements? – NNU can help!

With so much at stake when applying for your E 1 visa, it is critical to ensure your application is built to evidence your eligibility under the E category.

As US immigration specialists, NNU can advise on the E 1 Treaty Trader requirements, and guide you through the application process. For advice about your E-1 visa application, contact us.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

Last updated: 16 June 2021