Immigration Policies and Procedures: E-1 Treaty Traders

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What is the E-1 Visa?

The E-1 Visa is among other Visa classifications that allow foreign nationals from countries that have a commercial and navigation treaty (treaty country) to acquire admission into the United States solely to engage in international trade on their behalf. The international trade, in this case, is to be conducted between the United States and the treaty country of the E-1 trader’s origin. The items of trade can range from goods, services, international banking, transportation, insurance, tourism, and technology transfer just to name a few viable ventures.

Once approval of an E-1 trader’s application, you are allowed a maximum stay period of two years after which you are expected to depart from the US or request for an extension. However, there is no limit to the number of renewal requests made by a single E-1 trader. Some of the family members and a category of employees are eligible to apply and accompany their relevant E-1 trader to the US.

This article has taken the chance to provide a generalized compilation of the policies and procedure for an E-1 trader Visa applicant courtesy of Toppins Law Firm.


General Qualifications of an E-1 Treaty Trader

The following form the fundamental requirements that make one eligible to apply for an E-1 trader Visa:

  • Be a citizen of a country with which the United States maintains a commercial and navigational treaty.
  • Transact in substantial trade, which in this case entails the continuous flow of significant international trade items, that culminate in multiple transactions after a while. The USCIS bases substantiality on a number of exchanges and their value rather than the monetary gain of each transaction.
  • Transact in principal trade, which involves at least 50% of the total volume of international trade being conducted between the US and the treaty country from which the E-1 trader applicant originates.

As for the employees of the E-1 treaty, the following are the basic requirements that make them eligible to apply for an E-1 visa:

  • Be the same citizen of the country from which your E-1 trader employer is from (which should be a treaty country).
  • Be an employee by definition under the law.
  • Be involved in either supervisory or executive duties, or possess special qualifications required within the trading

For trade organizations that are not owned by one person, the E-1 employee visa applicant should consider applying through an employer that owns at least 50% of the enterprise with an E-1 treaty trader status.

The family members of an E-1 treaty trader that are allowed to accompany them to the US include their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. The family’s nationality does not have to be similar to that of the E-1 trader applicant.

Period of Stay

Upon approval of one’s E-1 trader Visa application, you are allowed an initial maximum stay of 2 years after which you are expected to depart from the US or apply for an extension. The extension if granted will be set at a maximum of two years, and there is no limit to the number of extension requests one E-1 trader can make.


The following is a generalized step by step procedure in the E-1 trader application process based on the E-1 treaty trader application form:

Section A (Table of Contents and Cover Letter)

In this beginning section, you are required to provide a cover letter that describes your trade enterprise and its beneficiaries. This letter is expected to address your E-1 visa eligibility which includes the following submissions:

  • The existence of the requisite
  • Evidence that the applicant and/or the trade enterprise possess the nationality of the treaty country.
  • The enterprise’s activities are considered as trade within the meaning of the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101.
  • Trade being substantial.
  • Trade being principally between the US and the treaty country.
  • If the applicant, being an employee, possesses the skills necessary for the firm’s required
  • Intent to depart from the United States once the E-1 status is terminated.

Section B (Forms)

At this step you are expected to provide:

  • A confirmation sheet of the DS-160 and DS-156E forms.
  • A copy of the MRV payment receipt.
  • A letter with information about the job in case it as an employee application.
  • A letter of agreement between the treaty trader and their legal representatives signed by both parties whenever applicable.

Section C (Applicant Information)

The requirements in this section include:

  • A color passport photo photocopy and similar copies of any of your US visas, US entry/exit stamps, and I-94s.
  • A copy of any changes or extensions granted by the USCIS where applicable (form I-797).
  • Evidence that the applicant resides in their country of origin.
  • The applicant’s resume.
  • A copy of the applicant’s educational certificates.
  • A signed statement that shows the applicant’s intention to leave the US once their E-1 status is terminated.

After C there are two sections that require information about the ownership and operations of the trade enterprise. These sections include; section D that requires ownership information and section E which is information about the trade.

Conclusively, the E-1 trader visa application process is quite extensive and cumbersome despite the insight provided by this article. Thus you need professional assistance as an E-1 treaty trader applicant which is abundantly and qualitatively available at Toppins Law Firm.