E-1 International Trade

The United States has visa classifications for people engaged in international trade. E-1 nonimmigrant visa classification allows foreign nationals into the united states for trade business. Employees of international trade organizations are also eligible for E-1 status. 

If you wish to obtain E1 status, you must fill out a Form DS-160. The DS-160 form is available online and requires important documentation. You must complete the form and gather the necessary credentials to enter the United States. It’s highly advised that you contact an experienced immigration attorney before submitting your application. 

Lawyer for E-1 Treaty Trader in The Woodlands, Texas

Traders from treaty countries must obtain an E1 visa to conduct business in the U.S. The United States immigration process can be arduous and confusing. You may want to have trusted legal counsel to guide you through the application process. Find that help with Luis F. Hess, PLLC. 

Luis F. Hess is an experienced immigration attorney with years of knowledge. He is passionate about helping immigrants find a temporary or permanent home in the United States. Call today to schedule a free consultation. Luis F. Hess, PLLC accepts clients throughout the greater Montgomery County area including Panorama Village, The Woodlands, Houston, Conroe and Oak Ridge North. 

Call us now at (281) 205-8540 to schedule a free consultation today. 

Overview of E1 Visas in the U.S 


How Am I Eligible for an E-1 Visa?

Any citizen from a foreign country must obtain a visa to enter the United States. Foreign nationals who work in commerce and international trade can apply for an E1 visa. However, they must be from a country that is on the United States list of Treaty Countries. Trade is the international exchange of items between countries.

Listed below are some common items of international trade. 

  • Insurance;
  • Transportation;
  • Communications;
  • Tourism;
  • International banking;
  • Technology; and
  • Goods and services.

If you wish to gain E-1 status, you must be coming to the United States to do the following: 

  • Participate in substantial trade which includes trade in services, technology, or other activities that are principally between the United States and a treaty country; and
  • Carry on principal trade for your treaty country with the United States.

The term substantial trade refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items. These can also involve numerous transactions over time. Principal trade is when over 50 percent of total international trade is between the treaty country and the United States.


Requirements for an E-1 Visa in the United States

Employees of international trade must meet requirements to gain an E-1 visa. If you don’t meet these qualifications, you could be denied your visa. It’s important you’re acquainted with E-1 visa requirements, so you’re prepared when you meet with a U.S. consulate. 

To qualify for E-1 classification, you must: 

  • Have the same nationality as your employer;
  • Your employer must be from and have the same nationality as the treaty country;
  • Be an employee of the company under relevant laws; and
  • Be working in an executive or supervisory character or have special qualifications. 

Employers with E-1 status can be an individual or an enterprise. If your employer is an enterprise, at least 50 percent of the owners must have the same nationality as the treaty country.

The terms executive or supervisory character refer to your status as an employee. You must have all or a portion of ultimate control and responsibility of the organization’s operation to have executive or supervisory character. Special qualifications are the skills needed to run an efficient operation. 

USCIS use several factors to determine if a person has special qualifications including: 

  • You have a degree of proven expertise in the field;
  • You possess specific skills for the business;
  • Your salary reflects the special qualifications; or
  • If the skills and qualifications are readily available in the U.S. 

Being fluent in another language isn’t a requirement for special qualifications. The United States isn’t always consistent in how it determines special skills. In some cases, a skill will be considered essential at one time, and then useless at a later date.


How Do I Apply for an E-1 Visa?

The United States immigration process can be incredibly complicated. It’s important that you’re well aware of the visa application procedure before you apply. If you incorrectly fill out the form, you may have your visa denied and barred entry into the United States. 

The first step is to complete a Form DS-160 online. You can find the form on the consular electronic application center website. You must try your best answer all the questions on your DS-160 accurately. If any of the information is wrong, you may be forced to start your application over.

After you’ve completed the online application, you must contact your local embassy or consulate to schedule your interview. You can find a list of U.S. consulates and embassies here. The embassy or consulate will review your case to see if an interview is necessary. Not every E-1 applicant is required to have an interview. However, if the embassy or consulate requests it then you must submit to an interview.

You will need to bring important documentation for your interview. Some embassies or consulates also require a fee for a visa interview. If the interview is successful and you get an E-1 visa, then you can enter the U.S at a port of entry.

It’s crucial you understand that a visa doesn’t guarantee entry into the United States. U.S. officials do have the right to deny admission into the United States. However, typically you will be allowed to enter and given an admission stamp or Form I-94. A Form I-94 is an arrival or departure record for nonimmigrants.


Required Documentation for an E-1 Visa

Some embassies or consulates request an interview for E-1 status. If you’re called into a visa interview, you must bring the following:

  • Valid passport;
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page;
  • Application fee receipt;
  • Form DS-156E for nonimmigrant treaty trader; and
  • Photo if you’re unable to upload one onto your DS-160.

You may be asked to bring additional documentation. This is to prove your employer meets the E1 requirements considering trade. The consular officer may ask you to complete special forms and additional documentation to determine if you’re eligible. It’s impossible to specify what the officer may ask for since it’s on a case-by-case basis.


E-1 Visa Duration and Extensions

E-1 visa holders are allowed to stay for up to two years. Extension requests can be granted in two-year increments. For E-1 holders, the U.S. government doesn’t put a limit on extensions. You could continue to renew your E-1 visa for as long as you qualify. 

However, E-1 holders must intend to depart when their status expires. This means you must leave the United States on or before the expiration date. If you don’t, then you could be considered out of status. You will be automatically voided if you try to enter the U.S. again. In addition, you could lose the privilege to apply for future visas.


Eligible Countries for an E-1 Visa

Some countries don’t qualify for an E-2 visa. Only people from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States are eligible for an E-2 visa. Some of these countries include, but are not limited to:

  • Australia;
  • Argentina;
  • Belgium;
  • Bulgaria;
  • Canada;
  • Chile;
  • China (Taiwan);
  • Denmark;
  • Ethiopia;
  • France;
  • Germany;
  • Greece;
  • Iran;
  • Ireland;
  • Mexico;
  • Philippines;
  • Singapore;
  • Sweden; and
  • United Kingdom

Restrictions for E-1 Visas

All nonimmigrant visas have terms and conditions that must be followed. Failure to follow these restrictions could result in the termination of your visa. E-1 treaty traders or employees cannot change their employment. They can, however, work for the treaty organization’s parent company or subsidiaries if: 

  • There is a relationship established between both organizations;
  • The employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills; and
  • The terms and conditions of the occupation hasn’t changed.

Additional Resources

E-1 Treaty Traders – Visit the official website for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to find more information about E-1 status. Access the site to learn more about treaty countries, DS-160 and other important forms for nonimmigrants.

DS-160 FAQ – Visit the official website for the U.S. Department of State to find more information about DS-160. Access the site to learn more download the form, how to sign a DS-160 and other answers to relevant questions.


Attorney for E-1 Status in Montgomery County, Texas

If you or a loved one is trying to get E-1 status, it’s important you have quality legal counsel. The forms associated with immigration can be intricate and confusing. Any mistake or missing form can result in months of push back. Don’t go any further without the advice of Luis F. Hess. 

Luis F. Hess is an experienced immigration attorney and has helped numerous clients gain E-1 status. Contact him to have your case evaluated today. Luis F. Hess, PLLC accepts clients throughout The Woodlands and surrounding communities including Shenandoah, Magnolia, Houston and Conroe. 


This article was last updated on December 21, 2018.

What Our Clients Say
Read More