The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa

“Friendship, Commerce and Navigation” Treaties and Bilateral Investment Treaties represent an accord between the United States and other countries.  The treaties were designed to promote good relations and peace through investment or trade, but not immigration.  The E-1 visa is for nationals of treaty countries so that they, whether an individual or company, can work in the U.S. to enhance their trade with the U.S.

E1 Treaty Trader (A Company)

Not just any trade justifies the issuance of an E1 Treaty Trader Visa.  The trade with the U.S. must be significant so as to require employees of the companies (of the accord countries) to enter and work in the U.S.  The higher the level of trade, the more likely the visa will be granted.  Conversely, the lower the level of trade, the less likely the visa will be granted.  It’s a subjective test, there is no established minimum level of trade.

The applying company must be of a country that is part of this treaty (see below) and must show the following for its employees to be eligible:

  • The number of trade transactions with the U.S. will be substantial.
  • The financial value of the trade transactions with the U.S. will be substantial.
  • The majority of trade transactions will be with the U.S., not another country.
  • The majority of financial value of the trade will be with the U.S., not another country.
  • The company, or company employees who wish to enter the U.S, have experience and business knowledge sufficient to develop and direct trade.
  • All those who wish to be issued E-1 visas, agree to and are able to leave the U.S. immediately, upon the expiration of the visa.
  • The company has a history of trade with the U.S.

Individuals Who “Develop and Direct” Imports/Exports May Apply

Only individuals who will “develop and direct” imports/exports with the U.S. may apply and be granted the E-1 Trader Treaty visa.  Key executive and managers as well as specialists and essential skilled workers are eligible.  There is no minimum length of employment by the eligible country mandated, unlike the L1 visa.

Typically, the company registers as a Treaty Trader.  The approval process takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks.  Upon approval, the company applies for E-1 visas for its qualifying employees.  This takes about 10 to 15 business days.

  • Executives & Managers

Executives and managers who wish to enter the U.S. to develop and direct trade or investment are eligible.  Typically, the only documentation of skill required is a letter of qualification from the approved company and a resume.

  • Specialists or Essential Skilled Workers

Specialists and essential skilled workers have a higher hurdle to admittance than executives and managers.  The company must show that:

o   The worker is of the same nationality as the company,

o   A U.S. worker could not do the same work,

o   The work is required, and

o   U.S. workers will be trained to do the skilled work.

The spouse and children of E-1 visa workers are issued E-1 visas as well.   However, they are not allowed to work, but they may attend school.

E1 Visa Countries

Foreign nationals must be from one of the below participating countries to be considered for the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa.

Argentina China (ROC) France Italy Netherlands Sweden
Australia Colombia Germany Japan Norway Switzerland
Austria Costa Rica Greece Korea Oman Thailand
Belgium Denmark Honduras Latvia Pakistan Togo
Bolivia Estonia Iran Liberia Philippines Turkey
Brunei Ethiopia Ireland Lux’bourg Spain U.K.
Canada Finland Israel Mexico Suriname Yugoslavia

Where to Get Help Obtaining an E-1 Visa

Our immigration attorneys at Geygan and Geygan, Ltd. have helped many people just like you to obtain their E-1 Visa.

We focus our practice on immigration law and you can reach us at 513-793-6555 or

We will gently walk you through the immigration issues and aggressively fight for your legal rights.

Call Geygan & Geygan today for more information on the E-1 Treaty Trader visa:  513-793-6555.