A citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Treaty Trader (E-1) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation. For a list of participating countries, select Treaty Countries.
You must be coming to the United States to:
- engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country;
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation;
- Carry on substantial trade; and
- Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification;
- Will be in the United States solely to carry on trade of a substantial nature, which is international in scope, either on the alien’s behalf or as an employee of a foreign person or organization engaged in trade principally between the United States and the treaty country of which the alien is a national, taking into consideration any conditions in the country of which the alien is a national which may affect the alien’s ability to carry on such substantial trade;
- Intends to depart the United States upon the expiration or termination of treaty trader (E-1) status;
- the employee is in or is coming to the United States to engage in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or, if employed in a lesser capacity, the employee has special qualifications that make the alien’s services essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise. The employee must have the same nationality as the principal alien employer. The principal alien employer must be:
- A person in the United States having the nationality of the treaty country and maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader or treaty investor status or, if not in the United States, would be classifiable as a treaty trader or treaty investor; or
- An enterprise or organization at least 50 percent owned by persons in the United States having the nationality of the treaty country and maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader or treaty investor status or who, if not in the United States, would be classifiable as treaty traders or treaty investors.
Substantial trade. Substantial trade is an amount of trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade items between the United States and the treaty country. This continuous flow contemplates numerous transactions over time. Treaty trader status may not be established or maintained on the basis of a single transaction, regardless of how protracted or monetarily valuable the transaction. Although the monetary value of the trade item being exchanged is a relevant consideration, greater weight will be given to more numerous exchanges of larger value. There is no minimum requirement with respect to the monetary value or volume of each individual transaction. In the case of smaller businesses, an income derived from the value of numerous transactions which is sufficient to support the treaty trader and his or her family constitutes a favorable factor in assessing the existence of substantial trade.
Period of E-1 or E-2 status admission. Periods of admission are as follows:
- A treaty trader or treaty investor may be admitted for an initial period of not more than 2 years.
- The spouse and minor children accompanying or following to join a treaty trader or treaty investor shall be admitted for the period during which the principal alien is in valid treaty trader or investor status. The temporary departure from the United States of the principal trader or investor shall not affect the derivative status of the dependent spouse and minor unmarried children, provided the familial relationship continues to exist and the principal remains eligible for admission as an E nonimmigrant to perform the activity.
- Unless otherwise provided for in this chapter, an alien shall not be admitted in E classification for a period of time extending more than 6 months beyond the expiration date of the alien’s passport.
Extensions of E-1 or E-2 Status. Requests for extensions of stay may be granted in increments of not more than 2 years.