E-1 Visa for Treaty Traders
An E-1 Visa is for individuals from a country with which the US has a treaty of “friendship, commerce and navigation” to come here “solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the United States and the foreign state of which he is a national,” along with a spouse and children. INA § 101(a)(15)(E)(i). Treaty investors fall under a different category, E-2.
The nationality of the company must get traced back to the same country as the individual. However, a treaty trader individual need not be employed by an enormous company; in fact, a consultant who primarily trades her services internationally could qualify for an E-1 visa. The job role is important, though, and the trader must be an executive, supervisor, or essential skills employee.
What is Trade?
Trade is defined as “the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the U.S. and the treaty country.” The E-1 trade must principally be between the US and the treaty country (over 50%) and it must be “substantial.”
How much money is required?
USCIS considers volume more important than a large monetary value. There must be “a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country.”
What can be traded?
Both goods and services that are traded qualify for E-1 status. Transactions related to advertising, accounting, banking, communications, data processing, design, engineering, insurance monies, management consulting, newsgathering, technology, transportation, and tourism are eligible. If the business’ purpose is to sell a service to its customers, then this would qualify as trade for E-1 purposes.
To apply, you should have a comprehensive, detailed business plan to submit to USCIS.
The US has treaties with these countries for E-1 Trader Visas:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Costa Rica
- South Korea
- United Kingdom