The E1 visa is a temporary work visa for traders and some employees who are part of a qualifying organization. It allows them to come to the United States with the express goal of conducting international trading. Examples of typical types of trade include goods, services, banking, insurance, tourism, transport and technology. It’s important to note that an E1 visa is only available to nationals of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of friendship, commerce and navigation or similar arrangement and you will need the help of an E1 & E2 investor visa lawyer.

According to goodadvise.org, the E1 visa countries include:

Argentina            Australia             Austria                  Belgium                 Bolivia   Bosnia and Herzegovina

Brunei                  Canada                Chile                      China (Taiwan)   Colombia

Costa Rica           Croatia                 Denmark              Estonia                  Ethiopia

Finland                France                  Germany              Greece                   Honduras

Iran                      Ireland                  Israel                     Italy                      Japan

Jordan                 Korea (South)     Latvia                    Liberia                  Luxembourg

Macedonia          Mexico                 Netherlands         Norway                 Oman

Pakistan              Paraguay              Philippines          Poland                   Singapore

Slovenia              Spain                     Suriname             Sweden                  Switzerland

Thailand             Togo                      Turkey                  United Kingdom

Treat traders must come to the U.S. with the express purpose of conducting substantial trade between the U.S. and the trader’s country. This trade is defined as a “continuous flow of sizeable trade items and transactions over time and is not defined by a specific monetary value or volume”.  Further, employees of the organizations who wish to apply for an E1 visa must do so with the assurance that their arrival in the U.S. will be in the capacity of an executive or supervisor whose purpose is to provide control and lend responsibility to the company’s organizations while in the U.S. The organization must be owned at least 50 percent by an individual who has the nationality of the treat country.

Finally, any E1 visa applicant is required to meet certain health and character requirements.

There are limitations associated with an E1 visa, according to our E1 & E2 investor visa attorneys. Anyone here on an E1 visa is limited to working only for the employer or business that acted as the initial sponsor. It’s important to note that only foreign nationals in countries that already have trade treaties with the United States is eligible. Any stay is granted for two years at a time. If more time is needed, there is a procedure that defines that process as well.

Many wonder about bringing their spouses or children. As per the government’s guidelines, treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Note that it is not necessary for their nationalities to be the same as the treaty trader or employee.  The government regulations also explain, “These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee”.  If the family members are already in the United States and seeking change of status to or extension of stay in an E-1 dependent classification, they may apply by filing the proper forms and submitting the fees.  Spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization, again, by filing the proper paperwork and paying the necessary fees. If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-1 spouse may work.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services site has more specific information for those who have unique dynamics involved. It can be accessed here. You can also speak to an E1 & E2 investor visa lawyer for more information.