E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

E-1 Treaty Trader Visa Requirements

The E-1 Treaty Trader visa may not be used as much as the E-2 Treaty Investor visa but if all the conditions are met it can be a useful visa category for small, medium and large companies who have significant trade with the US and need to have key staff in the US.

The E-1 Treaty Trader visa is a temporary US visa and the basic requirements for this visa are:

1. The foreign company trading with the US is either owned by, or traded on the national stock exchange of, a country that has a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation, a Bilateral Investment Treaty or Free Trade Agreement with the United States. Note that Ireland is a country with a qualifying treaty in place. For a complete list of the treaty countries see the US Department of State website.

To demonstrate the nationality of a company at least 50 per cent of the company’s stock must be owned by nationals of the treaty country. US Lawful Permanent Residents who are nationals of the treaty country and own stock in the company may not be counted towards the total treaty country ownership for purposes of the E-1 visa.

2. The company has on-going and substantial international trade with the United States and its foreign trade is principally between the treaty country and the United States.

Trade is defined as the existing international exchange of items of trade between the US and treaty country. Items traded may include actual goods as well as services, international banking, insurance monies, transportation, communications, data processing, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news-gathering activities.

For the company’s international trade to be principally between the United States and the treaty country, it should be at least more than 50 per cent of the total volume of international trade between the US and the treaty country. Domestic trade within the treaty country is not counted in calculating whether the amount of trade is principally between the US and treaty country.

The trade will be substantial if it is sufficient to insure a continuous flow of international trade between the US and the treaty country. It cannot be based on a single transaction, regardless of how protracted or monetarily valuable the trade.

E-1 Treaty Trader Employees

A great benefit of a company being approved for E-1 Treaty Trader status is that it may sponsor employees with the same nationality as the company to be transferred to the US as an E-1 Treaty Trader Employee. The employees must be going to the US to work in a managerial or executive capacity or have skills essential for the success of the business. The employees must show evidence of their duties while in the US and their previous experience in their field. Unlike the L-1 Intra-Company Transferee visa, E-1 Employees are not required to have a petition approved in the United States before applying for an E-1 visa at a US Embassy or Consulate, and they do not have to have been employed with the foreign company for at least one year. This could result in significant time and money savings for the E-1 Treaty Trader company.

Validity Period

Maximum visa validity is based on the applicant’s nationality. For example, Irish citizens may have the E-1 Treaty Trader visa issued for up to five years at a time. Typically the Consular Officer will issue the visa for the maximum period possible, however, it is in the Officer’s discretion to issue the visa for a shorter time period.

The above information is intended as a general overview and is not intended as legal advice.