E-1 visa classification is designed for treaty traders. Treaty traders are individuals who conduct substantial trade in goods, including services, mainly between the U.S. and their country of citizenship. To qualify for an E-1 visa, the individual must meet certain E-1 visa requirements, including, being a national of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, a qualifying international agreement, or that has been deemed qualifying through legislation. A current list of qualifying countries can be found on the U.S. Department of State website. The trade that the individual carries on must be considered substantial and the principal trade must occur between the U.S. and the treaty county that qualifies the trader for E-1.
“Trade” refers to the exchange of items between the U.S. and the treaty country. These items can include goods, services, insurance, tourism, technology, etc. “Substantial trade” generally refers to a high enough amount of trade that ensures a continuous flow of trade items between the U.S. and the treaty country. This means that there should be numerous transactions over time, although there is no minimum requirement regarding monetary value or volume for each individual transaction. While the total monetary value of the transactions is relevant for substantiality, greater weight is given to more numerous exchanges. “Principal trade” means that over 50% of the treaty trader’s international trade volume must occur between the U.S. and the treaty country.
Both E-1 and E-2 visas can also be extended to employees of companies registered with the U.S. Embassies or Consulates as treaty traders or treaty investors. To qualify, the individual must meet the definition of “employee” under the relevant law, be of the same nationality as the principal employer who possesses the nationality of the treaty country, and be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory position, or have special qualifications. If the principal employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization that is at least 50% owned by individuals in the U.S. who possess the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining E-1 status or, if not in the U.S., otherwise be classifiable as E-1 treaty traders.
For the employee’s duties to qualify as executive or supervisory, they must primarily provide the employee with ultimate control and responsibility for the treaty enterprise’s overall operation or a major component of it. Special qualifications refer to skills or aptitudes that make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the treaty enterprise. Many factors can potentially qualify under this requirement, including
You do not have to represent yourself to advance your E-1 visa application. Ellen Freeman and her team of legal experts are here to assist you in obtaining an E-1 trader visa. Give us a call or submit a consultation request through the contact form below.