If you are interested in doing business and trade in the United States, then an E-1 visa is what you will require. The E-1 visa essentially permits an individual or a group of company employees to carry out international business in the US.

To procure an E-1 visa, you must first ensure that your country qualifies and is on the list of countries designated by the US as one whose citizens are eligible for an E-1 visa.

E-1 Visa Requirements

  • Proof that the applicant is a national of a treaty country;
  • That he or she does not have the intention of permanently living in the U.S. (this can be documented by proof of a foreign residence that the applicant has no interest in abandoning, as well as ties to the foreign country, such as family members, a job, bank accounts, social relationships, etc.);
  • Documentation that the nationality of the trading firm for which the applicant is traveling to the U.S. is a Treaty country—this includes documenting ownership information.

Immigration Department considers the following documents in deciding whether trade exists between the countries:

  • Bills of lading
  • Customs receipts
  • Letter of credit
  • Trade brochures
  • Purchase orders and/or insurance papers documenting commodities imported
  • Carrier inventories and/or sales contracts

More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and the country of the applicant’s nationality:

  • Trade should be for the international exchange of goods, services, and/or technology, and the title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
    The applicant will also require:
  • Certificates, diplomas, or transcripts;
  • Letters from employers describing job titles, duties, operators’ manuals, and the required level of education and knowledge.

Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.

Can your spouse and child/children accompany you to the US on an E-1 Visa?

Yes, your spouse and the children under the age of twenty-one can accompany you as dependents.

Can your spouse and/or children legally work/study in the US while staying with you on an e-1 visa?

Yes, your spouse and children can work in the U.S. upon receipt of employment authorization. Your children can also study in the U.S.

How long can you stay in the US with an e-1 visa?

The initial period of entry granted by Immigration is generally for two years. If an extension is filed and granted, it is usually for two years at a time. There are no limits to the extensions for an E-1 visa.

Suppose you are a national of a country that qualifies for the E-1 Treaty Trader program. In that case, you can establish your business in the United States and continue doing so for many years, mainly because you can indefinitely extend your visa. Remember, the E-1 visa requires a non-immigrant intent, which means you should not have intended to live in the United States permanently. Your spouse and children under the age of twenty-one can accompany you. They are eligible to work after obtaining employment authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

E1 Treaty Visa Countries

The following countries have treaties with the United States that allow qualifying nationals to apply for Treaty Trader status:

China (Taiwan)Korea (South)Spain
Costa RicaLatviaSweden
FinlandMontenegroUnited Kingdom
GermanyNew Zealand