The E-1 nonimmigrant visa category applies to a national of a treaty country (a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the U.S. solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf.
Criteria for Treaty Trader:
- The trader must be a national of a treaty country;
- The trader must carry on substantial trade; items of trade include but are not limited to goods, services, banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology and its transfer, etc.
- The trader must carry on principal trade between the U.S. and the treaty country, which qualified the treaty trader for E-1; “principal trade” means over 50% of the total volume of international trade.
Criteria for the Employee of a Treaty Trader:
- The employee must be the same nationality of the principal alien employer;
- The employee must meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law;
- The employee must either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications; and
- The employee may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries.
Period of Stay:
- The initial period of stay is up to 2 years for treaty traders and employees. May extend status indefinitely in increments of up to 2 years each.
- An E-1 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic 2-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.
- All E-1 nonimmigrants must maintain an intention to depart the U.S. when their status expires or is terminated.
Family of Treaty Trader and Employee:
- Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may come to the U.S. under E-1 status, and their nationality need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee.
- The E-1 treaty trader or employee may travel abroad and will generally be granted an automatic 2-year period of readmission when returning to the U.S. Unless the family members are accompanying the E-1 treaty trader or employee, the new readmission period will not apply to the family members.
- Spouses are permitted to work.