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Treaty Trader E-1 Visa Criteria

How would I qualify to be a treaty trader?

You can qualify as a principal treaty trader or an employee of a treaty trader. Criteria to qualify for the E-1 treaty trader classification are:

  • The United States must maintain a treaty of commerce and navigation with your country of nationality
  • You must carry on substantial trade
  • You must carry on principal trade between your treaty country and the United States

“Trade” is defined as the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the treaty country and the United States. Such items of trade may include goods, services, international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some newsgathering activities.

To carry on “substantial trade,” this means you must have a continual flow of sizable international trade items, involving several transactions over time. The monetary value and volume of each transaction are not required to be above any certain minimum. In considering whether trade is substantial, an important factor is the monetary value of the transactions. However it is even more important to have numerous exchanges of greater value.

To carry on “principal trade,” this means that over 50% of the total amount of your international trade must be between your treaty country and the United States.

How I qualify to be an employee of a treaty trader?

Criteria to qualify for the E-1 treaty trader employee are:

  • You must be the same nationality of your principal foreign national employer, and the employer must have the same nationality as the treaty country
  • You must meet the legal definition of an “employee”
  • You must be engaging and duties of an executive or a supervisory character, or you must have special qualifications if you are employed in a lesser capacity

if your principal foreign national employer is an entity rather than an individual, your employer must be an enterprise or an organization that is at least 50% owned by people who have the same nationality as the treaty country and are also in the United States, and they must be maintaining non-immigrant treaty trader status. If they are not in the United States, they must be able to qualify as non-immigrant treaty traders if they were to seek admission to the United States.

Duties that are “executive or supervisory” in character, are those that primarily would provide you with ultimate control and responsibility for your employer's overall operation, or a major component of it.

“Special qualifications” are defined as those skills that would make your services essential to your Employer's efficient operation. This requirement should be met by several circumstances or qualities, including but not limited to:

  • The level of your proven expertise in your area of operations
  • Whether others have your specific skills
  • The salary that can be commanded by your special qualifications
  • whether your skills and qualifications are presently available in the United States

Having a foreign language or culture will not meet this requirement by itself. Moreover, sometimes a skill that was valuable at one point in time might become easily available in the future, and would then no longer qualify.

If you have questions about the E-1 Treaty Trader visa, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney.

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