E-1 Visa: Everything You Should Know About E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

E-1 Visa: Everything You Should Know About E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

The United States of America has always been a preferred destination for foreign nationals to live, work, and invest. Its growing economy, advancements in science & technology, booming commerce, and modern living ambiance attract millions of foreign nationals every year. There are different immigrant and non-immigrant visa categories one can apply for based on the purpose of their visit. E-1 visa is one such non-immigrant classification that allows a national from a treaty country to enter the United States and engage in international trade.

e-1 visa

In this blog, we will discuss all the important things you should know about the E-1 Treaty Traders Investor visa.

What is E-1 Treaty Trader Investor Visa?

The U.S. E-1 Treaty Trader Investor visa is a non-immigrant visa classification, designed for nationals or lawful citizens of a “treaty country”. It allows entry into the U.S. solely for the purpose of conducting international trade on its own behalf. Only qualifying employees of such a treaty trader may be eligible for this type of visa and get admission into the country.

A treaty country is one with which the U.S. has entered into a treaty of navigation and commerce. It also includes countries that have a qualifying international agreement with the United States. A country that the legislation considers qualifying is also deemed to be a treaty country. Check the U.S. Department of State's Treaty Countries to know whether you can apply for an E-1 visa. 

In this regard, the USCIS defines trade as any commercial transaction of goods. Trade in technology and services will include insurance, banking, tourism, transportation, data processing, communications, design & engineering, advertising, technology transfer, consulting, or other services that may be measured and traded.

How to Qualify for E-1 Treaty Trader Visa?

To be eligible for the visa, you must:

  • Be a national or lawful citizen of a country that has a qualifying treaty of navigation and commerce with the U.S., or which holds an international agreement with the latter, or which the legislation considers a “qualifying country”
  • Conduct substantial trade with the United States on your own behalf
  • Conduct principal trade between the treaty country and the U.S.

usa e-1 visa

The USCIS defines substantial trade as the qualifying amount of trading that is necessary to maintain a continuous flow of items between the treaty country and the U.S. However, there is no minimum requirement on the volume and monetary value of the transaction. On the other hand, when more than 50% of international trade happens between the treaty country and the U.S., it is regarded as principal trade.

To know if you are eligible for an E-1 visa and how to go about the process, get professional immigration visa services.

How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. with E-1 Visa?

If you are an eligible treaty trader, you are allowed to stay in the U.S. for a maximum of 2 years with an E-1 Treaty Trader visa. The period of stay is also the same for qualifying employees of the treaty trader or organization. You can request a change of status to E-1 classification or an extension of stay for up to 2 years respectively. However, there is no restriction on the number of times you can extend your stay under this visa classification.

However, you must establish a genuine intent to depart the U.S. when your visa status expires or gets terminated. If you are traveling abroad during the tenure of holding the visa status, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer may/may not grant a 2-year period of readmission into the country after you return.

how to apply e-1 visa

How to File?

To file the E-1 visa petition, you must follow these important steps:

  • Read carefully all the instructions to file Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker
  • Duly complete and sign the Form I-129
  • Pay the fees as applicable
  • Submit all necessary documents during the visa interview

However, this applies to a treaty trader who is living in the U.S. currently with a lawful non-immigrant visa. Form I-129 is required to request a change of status. If you are physically residing outside the U.S., you need to complete two different forms – Form DS-160 Non-immigrant Visa Application and Form DS-156E Non-Immigrant Treaty Trader Application.


Navigating the requirements of an E-1 visa can be challenging, especially if you are applying for the first time. Hiring professional visa and immigration services can help you complete the process successfully.

We are Ready to Help You

With our experienced immigration and business lawyers, marketing experts, and business advisors, Liberty Business is here for you and your company for all kinds of legal support with our professional and transparent business approach in the following areas.

You can contact us and send your consultancy request. You can also follow us on InstagramLinkedIn, and Facebook.

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