NON-IMMIGRANT VISAS

E-1 Treaty Trader

Overview

E-1 visa classification is available to treaty traders and their employees who wish to enter the U.S. temporarily to carry on substantial trade between the U.S. and their home country, if their country of citizenship has a treaty with the U.S. that allows for the issuance of such visas.

The following countries are eligible for both E-1 and E-2 visas unless indicated by an asterisk:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh**, Belgium, Bolivia*, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei*, Bulgaria**, Cameroon**, Canada, Colombia, Congo**, Costa Rica, Coratia, Czechoslovakia**, Denmark*, Egypt**, Estonia*, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece*, Grenada**, Honduras, Iran, Ireland*, Israel*, Italy, Japan, Kazakstan**, Korea, Kyrgyzstan**, Latvia*, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mexico, Modova**, Morocco**, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama**, Paraguay, Phillipines, Poland**, Romania**, Senegal**, Slovak Republic**, Slovenia, Spain, Sri Lanka**, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia**, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yugoslavia, Zaire**.

* Indicates country is eligible only for E-1 visa.
** Indicates country is eligible only for E-2 visa.

Requirements

E-1 classification requires that the foreign national be the citizen of a country with which the U.S. has a commercial treaty and that he or she is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the U.S. and the foreign national's country of nationality. Additionally, the trade involved must be classifiable as "international exchange" of items of trade between the U.S. and a treaty country. Specifically, successfully negotiated contracts binding on all parties must be established and the title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.

Application Procedures

This classification does not require an approved petition for employment for foreign nationals applying outside of the U.S. If the applicant is outside of the U.S., he or she must apply directly at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. (Please note: in some cases, the applicant must apply at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in his or her home country. See the Visa Issuance section for more details.)

If the applicant is inside the U.S. and wishes to change to or extend his or her E-1 Non-immigrant visa status, he or she must apply for approval from the USCIS.

Time Limits

A foreign national may be initially admitted to the U.S. or granted a change of status to E-1 visa classification for up to two years with the option to extend in two-year increments by filing a timely petition for extension of stay with the USCIS. As is the case with all Non-immigrant visa classifications, the duration for which one is allowed to remain in the U.S. in E-1status is governed by the expiration date indicated on the most recently issued I-94 card, except in cases where a non-frivolous extension of stay request has been timely filed. (See How do I know if I am lawfully present in the U.S. in the FAQ section for more details.)

Employment

E-1 Non-immigrant status is a work authorized status pursuant to the terms and conditions upon which E-1 status was granted.

A foreign national on this visa may be eligible to apply for permanent residency if his/her employer requires his/her services permanently. Please click here for information on employment immigration.

Dual Intent

An E-1 Non-immigrant visa holder may simultaneously pursue permanent residency without negatively impacting his or her continued eligibility for E-1 Non-immigrant visa status. Accordingly, the filing of a labor certification application, I-140 immigrant visa petition or I-485 adjustment of status application is not a basis for denying a change of status to, extension of stay in, or visa for E-1 status. This protective concept is known as the "dual intent doctrine" and is recognized under immigration laws for several Non-immigrant visa classifications, including E-1.

Dependents

The spouse and minor children of E-1 visa holders may apply for derivative E-4 visa classification in order to accompany or follow to join the principal visa holder (at the consulate) or to remain in the U.S. with the principal visa holder (through a change of status application with the US CIS). E-4 status is conditioned on maintenance of valid E-1 status by the principal visa holder and dependent eligibility, and does not confer work authorization.

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