An E-1 visa is a temporary work visa for treaty traders and certain employees of qualifying organizations to come to the U.S. to engage in international trade. Typical types of trade include that of goods, services, banking, insurance, tourism, transport and technology.
An E-1 visa is only available to nationals of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation or similar arrangement.
E-1 Visa Entitlements
An E-1 visa entitles the holder to live and work in the U.S. temporarily. An E-1 visa is usually granted for an initial period of 2 years and extensions may be granted. A treaty trader or employee may only work in the activity that was approved when the visa was granted. Any substantive changes in the trade activity or the organization’s characteristics must be continued to meet the E-1 visa requirements and be approved by the USCIS.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for the applicable derivative visa (E-1 visa) to join their spouse or parent in the U.S. Accompanying spouses and children are entitled to study in the U.S. without obtaining a student visa and accompanying spouses may undertake employment with an approved employment authorization.
E-1 Visa Requirements
To qualify for an E-1 visa, the applicant must be a citizen of one of the following treaty countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- China (Taiwan)
- Costa Rica
- Korea (South)
- United Kingdom
In addition, a treaty trader must be coming to the U.S. to conduct substantial trade principally between the U.S. and the applicant’s country of nationality. Substantial trade is considered to be a continuous flow of sizeable trade items and transactions over time and is not defined by a specific monetary value or volume.
Employees of organizations wishing to apply for an E-1 visa must be coming to the U.S. in the capacity of an executive or supervisor that will be providing ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s operations. To qualify, the organization must be at least 50% owned by persons who have the nationality of the treaty country and the applicant.
E-1 visa applicants may also be required to meet certain health and character requirements.