E1 Visas for Treaty Traders

What is E1 Treaty Trader Visa?

The E1 Visa allows businesspeople from specific countries to have easier access to the United States for the purposes of simplifying trade. At least 50% of the firm must be owned by citizens of a treaty country. Click here to find out if your country has an E1 Treaty with the United States. The firm must also conduct a substantial volume of trade in the United States and at least half of the firm’s business must be conducted there. If you meet these and other qualifications, the E1 Visa could simplify your ability to trade and do business with the United States.

Benefits of E1 Treaty Trader Visa

  • E1 visas can initially be granted for up to two years, during which time the holder may travel freely in and out of the U.S.
  • An E1 visa can be renewed in two-year increments an unlimited number of times. This can allow the Treaty Trader to remain in the U.S. for a prolonged period to ensure the continued success of the business.
  • An E1 holder who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the U.S.
  • An E1 holder will receive authorization to work legally in the United States for the trading firm.
  • Unlike the L1 visa, there is no requirement for qualified employees to have worked for the Trader for at least one year previously.
  • Visas are available for an E1 applicant’s accompanying spouse and unmarried children (under 21 years of age). The applicant’s spouse may apply for work authorization in the United States without restrictions as to the place of employment. However, the children may not accept employment.

E1 Treaty Trader Visa program

Business Plan is Key

In our experience the preparation of a business plan that demonstrates how your business clearly meets the requirements of the E visa program is critical. For that reason our Wharton MBA lawyers work with a specialist team of business analysts to prepare business plans that meet the approval of the toughest immigration and consular officers.

How do E1, E2, L1 and EB5 Visas Differ?

L1 VisasE1 VisasE2 VisasEB5 Visas
Visa available to nationals of any country?Nationals of treaty trader countries onlyNationals of treaty trader countries only
Must I have worked for a related company abroad for one year?
Ability of dependent Spouse to work in US
Can the visa be renewed into perpetuity assuming I re-qualify?
Is a business plan a very key element of a successful application?
Minimum investment RequiredSufficient to operate valid foreign business and US office or business entityNo but needs to be a real, viable, businessSufficient to fund business enterprise, generally around USD 100,000.00 although less is possibleEither USD 500,000.00 or USD 1,000,000.00
Immigrant visa status
Can lead to green card after one year

Transition to green card status through EB5 program possible

Transition to green card status through EB5 program possible

visa initially issued for a conditional two year period.

Note: an L1 visa has the advantage over an E1 visa of more easily leading to permanent residency (green card). Contrary to popular myth, moving from an E visa to a green card IS possible but is difficult without an immediate US relative or use of the EB5 program.


The spouse of minor children of an E1 visa holder can apply for dependent E visa status. With E1 dependent status the spouse of an E-visa holder may lawfully work in the United States.

Green Card:

Although there are options and our firm assists client adjust from E visa status to that of “green card” holder, an E1 visa does NOT directly lead to permanent residency (also called a “green card”). In fact, an E1 applicant must have the intent to return to his or her country of origin once the visa expires.

If your goal is to eventually become a permanent resident of the United States, other options may be more suitable for you, such an L1 visa, or the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program

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