E-1 Visa (Requirements, Checklist, How to Apply)

E-1 Visa

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Last updated: April 10, 2024.

E-1 and E-2 are nonimmigrant visas for nationals of the treaty countries.

Nationals of the treaty country who plan to carry on substantial trade between the U.S. and their country, may apply for a treaty trader visa (E-1). 

E-1 is a “dual intent” visa which means that the applicant can have both nonimmigrant and immigrant intent.

Applicants who plan to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in the U.S. in which they have invested or are actively in the process of investing a substantial amount of capital, can apply for a treaty investor visa (E-2). 

The category has more benefits than the L-1 category, since it’s not necessary to maintain a business outside the United States, and E-1/E-2 status can be renewed every five years without limits.

E-1 and E-2 Treaty Countries

The list of all treaty countries:

Country

Available visas

Albania

E-2

Argentina

E-1, E-2

Armenia

E-2

Australia

E-1, E-2

Austria

E-1, E-2

Azerbaijan

E-2

Bahrain

E-2

Bangladesh

E-2

Belgium

E-1, E-2

Bolivia

E-1, E-2

Bosnia and Herzegovina

E-1, E-2

Brunei

E-1

Bulgaria

E-2

Cameroon

E-2

Canada

E-1, E-2

Chile

E-1, E-2

China (Taiwan)

E-1, E-2

Colombia

E-1, E-2

Congo (Brazzaville)

E-2

Congo (Kinshasa)

E-2

Costa Rica

E-1, E-2

Croatia

E-1, E-2

Czech Republic

E-2

Denmark

E-1, E-2

Ecuador

E-2

Egypt

E-2

Estonia

E-1, E-2

Ethiopia

E-1, E-2

Finland

E-1, E-2

France

E-1, E-2

Georgia

E-2

Germany

E-1, E-2

Greece

E-1

Grenada

E-2

Honduras

E-1, E-2

Ireland

E-1, E-2

Israel

E-1, E-2

Italy

E-1, E-2

Jamaica

E-2

Japan

E-1, E-2

Jordan

E-1, E-2

Kazakhstan

E-2

Korea (South)

E-1, E-2

Kosovo

E-1, E-2

Kyrgyzstan

E-2

Latvia

E-1, E-2

Liberia

E-1, E-2

Lithuania

E-2

Luxembourg

E-1, E-2

Macedonia

E-1, E-2

Mexico

E-1, E-2

Moldova

E-2

Mongolia

E-2

Montenegro

E-1, E-2

Morocco

E-2

Netherlands

E-1, E-2

New Zealand

E-1, E-2

Norway

E-1, E-2

Oman

E-1, E-2

Pakistan

E-1, E-2

Panama

E-2

Paraguay

E-1, E-2

Philippines

E-1, E-2

Poland

E-1, E-2

Romania

E-2

Senegal

E-2

Serbia

E-1, E-2

Singapore

E-1, E-2

Slovak Republic

E-2

Slovenia

E-1, E-2

Spain

E-1, E-2

Sri Lanka

E-2

Suriname

E-1, E-2

Sweden

E-1, E-2

Switzerland

E-1, E-2

Thailand

E-1, E-2

Togo

E-1, E-2

Trinidad & Tobago

E-2

Tunisia

E-2

Turkey

E-1, E-2 

Ukraine

E-2

United Kingdom

E-1, E-2

Yugoslavia

E-1, E-2

How to Determine Nationality

Before applying for E-1 or E-2 visa, you will need to determine if the enterprise and foreign national have the same nationality and whether that nationality is party to the relevant treaty. 

Nationality of the individual is determined by their citizenship. 

In cases of dual or multiple citizenships, a person may apply under any citizenship they hold (but citizens of the U.K. must also establish that they’ve been domiciled in the U.K. for the previous year). 

The nationality of the company is determined by the nationality of the owners who hold at least 50% of the company.

If the company is owned by another company, then the parent company should meet the “50% Rule.” 

If the company is owned 50/50 by nationals of two treaty countries, then you must pick one nationality that will be used in the E-visa application.

A company cannot petition employees from both countries. 

If the company is publicly traded on one country’s stock exchange, then that nationality is presumed, but evidence should still be submitted in this case.

E-1 Visa Requirements

E-1 visa is available for nationals of treaty trade countries.

To be eligible for E-1 visa, the applicant must prove that:

  • A trade treaty exists;
  • Individual and/or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country;
  • Trade is substantial;
  • Trade is principally between the U.S. and the treaty country;
  • Applicant (if an employee) will hold an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the company’s operations in the U.S.;
  • Applicant intends to leave the U.S. when the E-1 status ends.

The company should show an exchange of goods, money, or services. 

Any service or goods can qualify for E-1 visa purposes.

The following documents can be used as proof of the trade transactions:

  • Purchase orders;
  • Wire transfers;
  • Bills of lading, etc.

The Department of State (DOS) will look at the volume and value of the transactions to determine if the trade is substantial.

DOS favors more valuable, frequent transactions. However, smaller companies can meet these requirements if they show that the volume of transactions is sufficient to support the E-1 treaty traders and their family. 

E-1 visa application should include documentation of the total trade volume of the company and the proof that at least 50% of the trade volume is between the two countries. 

E-1 visas are commonly used by businessmen that have an established foreign company and a substantial U.S. customer base. 

E-1 visa is used to continue the ongoing business with U.S. customers or enter the U.S. market. 

E-1 Visa Checklist of Required Documents

The following documents must be submitted with the E-1 visa application:

Type of documents

Examples of acceptable documents

Who provides it

Information about U.S. operations

  • Passports of majority shareholders from the treaty country;
  • Detailed business plan (financial projections, sources of funding, marketing, etc.);
  • U.S. incorporation documents;
  • Bylaws and/or membership agreement;
  • Franchise documents;
  • Proxy agreements;
  • Stock certificates and ledger documenting ownership breakdown and that the company is majority owned by nationals of the treaty country;
  • Certificate of officers;
  • Business licenses and permits;
  • Certificate of qualification of foreign business;
  • Partnership agreement or joint venture agreement;
  • Most recent annual report;
  • If company was purchased, sale/purchase documentation (sales agreement and copies of checks received in escrow or by seller);
  • If purchasing a franchise, proof of eligibility to take over franchise agreement (documentation from franchisor approving the transfer);
  • Advertisements, press releases, social media, etc. about the new office;
  • Trade references;
  • Sales tax documentation;
  • Licenses, if required for type of business or profession
  • Copies of telephone bills regarding international calls to the treaty country;
  • Contracts with customers/clients, suppliers, vendors;
  • Spreadsheet listing every qualifying transaction of international trade between the treaty countries during the last calendar year. If there is a U.S. entity with a separate legal status (such as an incorporated company or an LLC), all figures should refer to its trade. Otherwise, consider the trade of the treaty country company. This table should include the date, the invoice number, and the $US value of the transaction. Show in a prominent place the total number and value of these transactions;
  • Copies of all the invoices summarized in the above spreadsheet;
  • Copies of all bills of lading, air bills, or shipping invoices proving that the goods or services moved from one country to the other;
  • Invoices regarding transactions;
  • Customer/supplier list;
  • Carrier inventories;
  • Trade brochures;
  • Documentation of insurance regarding imports;
  • Ledgers showing accounts receivable and accounts payable;
  • Lease or deed to office/facility space;
  • Trade or professional association memberships;
  • Awards, honors, certificates, etc.;
  • PR releases;
  • Marketing brochures/firm resumé/LinkedIn profile of firm;
  • Copy of front page of website;
  • Photographs of facilities, products, etc.;
  • Organizational chart regarding employees or projected organization;
  • Relevant patents, trademarks, copyrights, or other intellectual property (including pending applications);
  • Federal, state, and local tax returns for the prior three years or, if not available, audited financial statements;
  • Quarterly payroll report filed with IRS (941) and state as well the same documents of the previous owner if the business was purchased.

U.S. company and foreign company

Information about operations abroad

  • Treaty country incorporation documents

Foreign company

Information about the proposed position

  • Job description (demonstrating the managerial, supervisory, or executive functions or proprietary duties);
  • List of minimum requirements to perform the job;
  • Statement regarding the lack of American workers available to perform the work.

U.S. company and foreign company

Information about the applicant

  • Detailed CV, including the date of hire, job titles and detailed job descriptions, date and place of birth, current address, and the highest level of education details;
  • Copies of diplomas, degrees, and relevant transcripts with translations;
  • Copy of passport, including biographical page and copies of all prior U.S. visas and U.S. entry stamps;
  • If applicant is in United States, copy of I-94 Entry/Exit document;
  • Copy of any changes or extensions of immigration status granted in the United States (Form I-797);
  • Documentation of relevant employment in the United States and abroad including dates of employment, position title, duties, role with prior employer, how many people and what type supervised, etc.;
  • Articles by employee;
  • Articles mentioning employee;
  • Documentation of professional and occupational licenses;
  • Documentation of membership in trade or professional organizations;
  • Awards or honors received by employee;
  • Information about spouses and minor children traveling with or following to join the principal including relationship documents (birth and marriage certificates), copies of passports and I-94s.

Applicant

Forms 

  • Online Forms DS-160 and DS-156E

Applicant

Payment of fees

  • MRV application fee receipt

U.S. company or foreign company

Photographs

Applicant

Passport

  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the visa application date

Applicant

E-1 Visa Application Process

There are two ways to apply for E-1 visa:

  • At a U.S. consulate or embassy (“Consular Processing”), or
  • If applicant is in the U.S. in another lawful status, the applicant may file a change of status to E-2 with USCIS (“Change of Status”).

Most applicants might choose the consular processing at a U.S. consulate because only the

U.S. Embassies can issue a visa. 

USCIS can only change and extend the applicant’s status while in the U.S.

However, only the physical E visa stamped in an applicant’s passport allows them to travel in and out of the U.S., entering in E status each time.

If granted a change of status to E-1 by USCIS, the applicant will still need to get a visa stamp at a consulate or embassy once they travel abroad and want to re-enter the U.S.

The process of applying for an E visa with the U.S. Embassies abroad vary.

Many U.S. Embassies and Consulates provide instructions on how to apply for an E visa on their respective websites. 

Spouses and Children of E-1 Visa Applicants

Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 years old are eligible for E-1 dependent visas. 

They are not required to hold the same nationality as the primary E-1 visa applicant. 

Spouses and children are allowed to study in the U.S., and spouses may apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765 application with USCIS.

Related links:

E-2 Visa – Requirements, Checklist, How to Apply