Understanding the E1 Visa

Posted by Harry Tapias on August 4, 2021


The immigration visa system is a complex universe filled with opportunities for foreign nationals to enter America. While the options are bountiful, each type of visa has its own unique set of requirements that make its applicant pool very focused. For example, H-1B visa applicants are foreign talent living abroad that are offered specific roles at a U.S. company. Further, K-1 visas are offered strictly for the foreign fiances living abroad that are engaged to American citizens. Another type of visa, the E-1 visa, is a treaty trade level visa with criteria focused on stimulating the trade economy of America. 


Quite simply, the E-1 visa allows individuals, or employees of companies, to enter the U.S. for the purpose of carrying out international trade. The definition of “trade” is not strict. It may apply to the trade of goods, of services, and even banking.


In fact, trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country.  Items of trade include but are not limited to:

  • Goods
  • Services
  • International banking
  • Insurance
  • Transportation
  • Tourism
  • Technology and its transfer
  • Some news-gathering activities.

These E-1 visa applicants must hail from a treaty country, just like the E-2 visa and EB-5 visa applicants. This visa in particular is under the premise that these visa holders will stimulate trade between America and their country of origin. 


To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation or with which the United States maintains a qualifying international agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation;
  • Carry on substantial trade; and
  • Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.

Are you a foreign national from a treaty trader country looking to seek legal residence in the United States? If you are a trade professional, the E-1 visa might be the solution for you! Contact us today to learn about your options.