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Treaty Traders And E-1 Visas

Treaty trader visas are for individuals seeking to enter the United States to conduct substantial trade with the United States and their home foreign country. Our immigration attorneys at the Wilson Law Group in Minneapolis assist clients across the country and abroad with all types of visas, including E-1 visas for treaty traders.

What Are Treaty Visas?

E visas are employment-based visas. They are named “treaty” visas because a person’s country and the United States must have a treaty permitting trade between the two countries.

The following countries have ratified trade treaties with the U.S. and their nationals are eligible to apply for E-1 status:

  • Argentina
  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia
  • Brunei
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China (Taiwan)
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Honduras
  • Iran
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Korea
  • Liberia
  • Luxembourg
  • Mexico
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • Philippines
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Surinam
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Thailand
  • Togo
  • Turkey
  • United Kingdom
  • Yugoslavia (includes Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia, and Serbia-Montenegro)

Specifically, the U.S. and the foreign national’s country must have a treaty of “friendship, commerce, and navigation,” or some other diplomatic agreement that permits the DHS and Department of State to grant a person treaty trader status.

What Are The Requirements Of The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa?

At least 50% of the ownership of the trading firm must be in the hands of nationals of the visa applicant’s home country. The person should be an owner, manager or executive, or hold an “essential” position within the company. The foreign national must also be a national of the treaty country.* The trading company must conduct actual trade.

The trading must result in an actual exchange of qualifying commodities (including goods, services or money) and the transactions must generate revenue. All ownership interests must pass to the foreign national or foreign firm. An existing, documented trade relationship is necessary. The volume of trade must be substantial.

While there is no threshold amount in the law, the amount of trade must support the business activity in the United States, the foreign national’s family, and prove capable of generating a profit. Also, more than 50 percent of all the company’s trade must be between the treaty country and the United States.

Where Are Applications For E-1 Treaty Trader Visas Made?

A person seeking an E-1 visa applies at the U.S. consulate in his or her country. However, if the person is already in the United States in another lawful status, the applicant can apply to the appropriate DHS office in the United States to change status. If the person changes status in the United States, a consular officer may still review the person’s status when the officer is determining whether to issue a new visa to an alien.

How Long May A Person Enter With An E-1 Visa?

The treaty between the United States and the foreign country determines the length of time a person can remain in the U.S. The maximum length of an E visa is usually five years, but the visa is continuously renewable depending upon compliance. An E-1 visa holder may be admitted for two years and may extend his or her status in increments up to two years. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 visa holder may be granted.

Can Dependents Work?

E-1 visa holders may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents. Spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with a fee. Children can attend school without changing their status.

If you are an investor and considering an E-1 or an E-2 treaty visa, our immigration attorneys can help you determine and understand the eligibility requirements.

Consult With An Attorney For Free

Wilson Law Group invites you to contact our office for a consultation with one of our experienced immigration attorneys to discuss your questions about treaty visas. To schedule your free appointment, call us at 612-430-8022 or send us an email through our online form.