The E1 Treaty Trader visa allows visitors from certain treaty countries to enter the US. Treaty countries are generally countries with which the United States has signed ‘Friendship, Commerce and Navigation’ treaties, Bilateral Investment Treaties, or other treaties with. The treaties are intended to encourage investment and trade between the signatory countries and the US.
Both companies and individual persons – both sometimes referred to as nationals – can apply for E1 Treaty Trader visas if they come from countries which have treaties with the US. The E-1 visa allows these nationals to work in the US with the intent of developing their trade or investment in the US.
Nationals can apply for a treaty trader visa if they come from a qualifying country that does a specific amount of the trade with the US. Most nationals must prove that their company or business does at least 50% of its trade with the US and must usually also prove that the amount of trade justifies a presence in the US. Usually, the larger the business and the more trade with the US, the greater the chance for a successful E-1 work visa application.
Currently, a number of countries qualify for E-1 visas in the US: Argentina, China, 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, Luxembourg, Spain, U.K., Canada, Finland, Israel, Mexico, Suriname, and Yugoslavia.
If you come from one of these countries and your business does a fair amount of trade with the US, you may qualify to live and work in the US on an E-1 visa. Similarly, if your employer is based in one of these countries and does substantial trade with the US, you may qualify for a trader visa if your employer needs to send you to the US to oversee operations in the US.
An E-1 visa allows you to work and live in the US indefinitely as long as you continue to work in your industry and your company continues to do significant trade with the US. In most cases, your initial treaty trader visa will be for three to five years, but you can renew as many times as you like. Consultants and other self-employed persons are not usually qualified to work in the US on an E-1 visa. The USCIS website has the application and application instructions for the treaty trader visa.