This non-immigrant visa allows an applicant who is or will be conducting international trade if they are a national of the treaty country and the trading business for which the applicant is entering the United States is solely for this purpose.


You may be eligible for E-1 visa if you meet the following criteria:

  1. Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
  2. Carry on substantial trade.
  3. Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

The “trade” and commercial exchange need to be substantial and continual between the two countries over numerous exchanges of greater value.

This can include, but not limited to:

  • Goods
  • Services
  • International banking
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Technology and its transfer
  • Some news-gathering activities

See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(9) for additional listings.

Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Trader

You may qualify under the following criteria:

  1. Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country).
  2. Meet the definition of “employee” under the relevant law.
  3. Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory capacity, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.

If the principal employer is an enterprise or organization, then at least a 50% ownership is required, who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader status. If the owners are not in the U.S., then they must be, in order to seek admission to this country, qualifying under nonimmigrant treaty traders. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(3)(ii).

Executive and supervisory roles must primarily prove the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the overall operation of the organization, or for the majority components therein. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(17) for further definitions.

Length of Visa

Qualifying applicants will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years, with requests for extension of stay in increments of two years. There are no limits to the extensions of stay for E-1 non-immigrants.

Family of E-1 Treaty Traders

Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21.

Related Forms

Complete Form I-129, Petition for Non-immigrant Workers seeking change of status or extension of stay, complete Form I-539 for dependent family members who are within the United States.
Spouses of E-1 treaty traders and workers may apply for work authorization by completing Form I-756, Application for Employment Authorization.

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