E-1 Visas for Treaty TradersThe E-1 visa is a temporary visa for business owners, their dependents, and certain business employees, who are foreign nationals engaged in “substantial and principal trade” between the United States and their country of citizenship. Individuals who are citizens of certain countries who maintain treaties of commerce and navigation with the United States may qualify for E-1 visas. A current list of E-1 treaty countries is maintained by the U.S. State Department.

Moro Legal, LLC, advises and represents business owners and employees through the E-1 visa process. Schedule an attorney consultation online today to begin your journey, or contact our office for more information.

“Principal trade” between the U.S. and a treaty trader’s home country is defined as making up more than 50 percent of the trade activity. Items of trade may include, but are not limited to: goods, services, tourism, transportation, technology, international banking, data processing, insurance, design and engineering, or communications. Substantial trade refers to a continuous flow of numerous transactions over time, with no minimum requirement as to transactional value.

Employees of a treaty trade business seeking an E-1 visa must be of the same nationality of their employer, must meet the legal definition of an “employee,” and either be engaging in executive/supervisory duties or have special qualifications (essential skills for the operation of the business). The employee’s degree of expertise, the employee’s salary, and whether others (particularly U.S. workers) possess the employee’s specific skills are all considerations for whether an employee qualifies as having special qualifications for purposes of an E-1 visa.

The E-1 visa holder is only allowed to work in the activity he or she was approved for when the visa was granted, although E-1 visa holding employees may also work for parent companies or subsidiaries of the same business as long as the executive, supervisory, or essential skills are still required for the position and the terms and conditions of the employment have not otherwise changed. In any other case of a substantive change in the E-1 visa holder’s terms or conditions of employment (including a merger or acquisition of the business), USCIS must approve a new E-1 visa application showing that the affected investor(s) and/or employee(s) continue to qualify for E-1 status.

The E-1 visa is granted for a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests to extend the E-1 visa may be granted in increments of up to two years at a time. There is no limit to renewals, and E-1 visas may be renewed as long as the visa holder’s business meets the requirements.

The spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) may also apply for visas to accompany an E-1 investor or employee. An E-1 dependent spouse will be eligible to apply for a work permit in the United States, without restriction as to where he or she may be employed.


Moro Legal, LLC, advises and assists businesses, investors, and employees through the E-1 visa application process. Contact us today to get started.


The content of this website is for general informational purposes only and is not a replacement for legal advice. Immigration law is a complex area of law that is constantly changing and this website cannot cover every facet of the law. Every case is different, and all individuals and businesses should consult with an immigration lawyer prior to filing any petition or application.