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The E-1 Treaty Traders visa is reserved for nationals of a country with whom the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. To be admitted into the United States, the E-1 visa applicant’s purpose in the United States must to be to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. The list of the currently eligible countries is available here.

Eligibility Criteria for an E-1 Visa

The treaty trader must:

-Be a national of a qualifying treaty country

-Carry on substantial trade

-Carry on principal trade between the United States and the qualifying treaty country

Qualifying, Substantial and Principal Trade Requirements

For the trade to be considered “qualifying”, the trade, or the exchange of items internationally, may involve, but is not limited to, goods and services, insurance, banking, tourism, or technology. For the trade to be “substantial,” in nature, it must be continuous, sizeable, and numerous over a period of time. There is no minimum requirement for the volume or the size, and while the monetary value of trade is an important factor, other factors that show numerous exchanges carry greater weight.

The “principal trade” requirement is met if the trade between the United States and the qualifying country is at least 50% of the total volume of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty trader’s country.

General Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Trader

An employee of a treaty trader may be eligible for an E-1 visa classification if the employee:

-Shares the same nationality of his overseas employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)

-Is engaged in an executive or supervisory capacity or have skills that are essential to the business’ operations.

Documentation Needed

To be successful in obtaining an E-1 visa, substantial documentation of the following must be presented:

-the nature, scope and extent of the trade

-the nature of the employment

-the qualifying relationship of the entities


Closely related to the E-1 visa classification, the E-2 visa is granted to individuals who are nationals of a qualifying treaty country. The E-2 visa applicant must:

-Have invested or is the process of investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. enterprise.

-Be seeking to enter the United States for the sole purpose of directing and developing the U.S. enterprise.

What is substantial capital varies depending on the enterprise. In addition to putting the capital or funds at risk, the capital must be sufficient to successfully develop and operate the business.

E visas are a great option for individuals who are nationals of a treaty country and are looking to invest in the United States.  Given the complexities involving the E visa process, it is often a good approach to seek the assistance of an immigration attorney.  If you need assistance with evaluating your eligibility for an E-1 or E-2 visa, please do not hesitate to contact the firm today.