E-1 Visa

E-1 Treaty Traders

The E-1 classification allows nonimmigrant individuals who wish to visit and reside in the United States as long as they are participating in activities as a treaty trader or an investor, or working for an organization that conducts business in those facets. E-1 status may be valid for two years and E visas are issued for up to five years. If the individual applying for E-1 status is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the individual may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1. If the current employee is in the United States and in a lawful nonimmigrant status, then the employer may file the I-129 form on the employee’s behalf.

General requirements for a treaty trader to become qualified for an E-1 classification include:

  • 1) the applying treaty trader is a national of a country with which the United States currently maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
  • 2) the applying treaty trader must carry on substantial trade (substantial trade refers to the continuous flow of international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time),
  • 3) the applying treaty trader must carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

Examples of items of trade may include: goods, services, international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology and the transfer of technology, news gathering activities.

General requirements for an employee of a treaty trader to become qualified for an E-1 classification include:

  • the employee must be the same nationality of the principal alien employer,
  • the employee must meet the legal definition of employee,
  • the employee must either be participating in duties of an executive or supervisory character or have special qualifications.

If the principal employer is an organization or enterprise and not an individual, then the organization or individual must be at minimum 50% owned by people in the United States. If there is no majority ownership in the United States, the ownership must be classified as nonimmigrant treaty traders.

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may accompany treaty traders and employees through the E-1 classification. To be included in the classification, family members must be of the same nationality of the treaty trader or employee. If the family members are currently in the United States and wish to change status or request an extension of stay with a dependent E-1 classification, they may apply by filing a Form 1-539 and Fee. Spouses of E1 classification workers may apply for work authorization with a Form I-765 and fee.

For more information regarding E-1 Visas, and the process of obtaining a E-1 Visa, please contact the Law Office of Jeffery Bennett via phone: 816-759-2776 (English), 816-759-2777 (Spanish); or via email: jyb@jybennettlaw.com.