US E1 Treaty Trader Visa

US E1 Treaty Trader Visa


What is an E-1 Visa? One of the three main types of US Treaty Visas, the E1 Treaty Trader Visa is available to nationals from certain countries who are looking to enter America in order to conduct specific kinds of trade. Nationals from the select group of “Treaty Countries” looking to participate in significant trade ventures in sectors including tech and service provision (among other eligible categories) should pursue the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa to enter the United States.

Validity and Duration of Stay

The E-1 Trade Treaty Visa is typically valid for 3 months to five years, while the standard duration of stay is two years. The length of the visa validity is determined by the applicant’s respective nationality and other factors. If you are granted an E-1 Visa, you must abide by the duration of stay dates and validity period as reflected on your visa. 

E1 Visa Eligibility

Nationals of Treaty Countries, which are classified as E-1, are broadly eligible for the E1 Treaty Trader Visa. “Treaty traders” include the following countries:  

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mexico, Montenegro Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, United Kingdom.

  • To be eligible for the E-1, the applicant cannot simply be a laborer or basic employee. Therefore, the E-1 Visa is for employees who demonstrate the exceptional nature of his or her work for the company, as emphasized partly by either their demonstrable, unique expertise (which the company is shown to rely upon to an unprecedented degree) and/or high ranking within the company.
  • Another of the US E1 Visa requirements is that at least half of the ownership of the trade venture you are working for must share your nationality (i.e be nationals of the Treaty Country), and America and the Treaty Country should jointly conduct the bulk (over half) of whatever (non-domestic) trade is occurring. The nature of the trade which you are participating in should be significant (i.e. voluminous and fairly large).
  • Please note that in this context trade may be defined as the interchange of tech, objects, and facilities/resources, on a global scale. Please also note that in order to be considered officially traded, the two entities must also take ownership of the title of the whatever item(s) are being exchanged.

E1 Visa Purposes

The E-1 Visa is for employees who are participating in significant trade ventures in sectors including tech and service provision (among other eligible categories).

“Trade” in the context of the E-1 visa may include all of one of the following activities: touristic enterprises, financial services like banking (non-domestic), conveyance, and insurance.

Required Documents for E1 Visa

Applicants must submit the following basic documents in order to meet the US E1 Visa requirements:

DS-160 application form

This form is the main component of the complete application for the US Treaty Visa. Please fill the form out in the English language. It is accessible online.


A government-issued, valid travel document showing that you are a national of one of the treaty traders countries. Must have an expiration date that covers the entirety of the Treaty Visa period, plus an additional six months  

Payment (and confirmation of payment)

Complete payment (and payment confirmation) of the Treaty Visa cost (applicants may be eligible to pay their Treaty Visa fees at their visa appointment)

Applicant Photo

Colorized, recently captured, passport-sized image, which should be submitted electronically as a component of the DS-160 application form (or alternatively submitted in paper copy at visa appointment)

Form DS-156E Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application

Additional documents

You will likely be asked to provide other supplemental forms and materials relating to trade and ownership. These should include, but are likely not limited to: an official written explication (on company stationery) outlining the nature of your company (including their address) and your specific named position within it, any financial compensation deriving from your employment, and how you meet the eligibility criteria for the job.  

Other documents which are not always required but which are typically requested by consular authorities include those which go towards proving the following:

  • That you are who you say you are (additional IDs, documents relating to your family)
  • That you can afford your trip (financial documents, evidence of current and consistent employment)
  • That you will leave the US before your Treaty Visa expires

E1 Visa Application Steps

Apply for a E-1 Trade Visa to the United States by following the below steps:

  1. Determine when you need to travel 

    Consider when you need to be in the United States, so that you receive your Treaty Visa before you need to travel

  2. Find your application destination 

    In addition to filling out an electronic application, all Treaty Visa applicants must meet in person application requirements at an American Embassy or Consulate—usually in their country of residence.

  3. Assemble your application

    Access the online US Trade Treaty Visa application, which consists of the DS-160 form. Please note that this form must be completely filled out and printed out in advance of your visa interview, where you will be asked to present a paper copy of the DS-160 confirmation page as well as other physical application materials.

    Assemble the rest of your application by gathering the rest of your basic required materials, such as your passport.

  4. Schedule a visa appointment

    In-person visa appointments are required for the majority of Trade Treaty   applicants (typically, this is when you will submit your complete application). Yours will take place at the US Embassy or Consulate you are applying through.

    Because it can sometimes take weeks or even months to get a visa interview, you should attempt to schedule one as soon as possible, in case you are forced to wait a long time for your appointment.

  5. Attend your visa appointment

    Visa appointments are where applicants fulfill the in-person Trade Treaty requirements (i.e. pay for their visa, sit for a US visa interview, have biometric information collected, etc). 

  6. Receive a decision

    After you have formally submitted your application at your visa interview, you may receive a decision immediately. Alternatively, you may have to wait for your application to be processed (this can take several weeks or even months, as US visa processing times tend to depend on a number of factors). Keep in mind that you must have your physical Trade Treaty Visa in your possession in order to enter the US. Once it is granted, you may travel.

E1 Visa Interview

Applicants for E-1 Trade Treaty Visas must sit for an interview at their local US Embassy/Consulate (where they will formally submit their application). There they will face questions about their proposed trip to America. As an applicant, you should strive to convey the following truths about yourself: 1) That your purpose for travel is in fact what you stated on your application 2) That you are not a security risk to the United States 3) That you can financially support yourself throughout your stay in the US 4) That you will exit America within your visa validity period. Applicants will also be asked biographical queries (such as their age, occupation, family ties) as well as general/detailed questions pertaining to reasons for travel. Examples include:

What is the nature of the trade that you will be undertaking in the US? 

Can you describe your roll in the trading enterprise you seek to work for? 

Why do you need to travel to the US in order to conduct this business? 

How do you intend to financially support yourself in the United States?

E1 Visa Fees

Most E-1 Treaty Trader Visa applicants pay $205.

Where to Apply for E1 Visa

Your local US Embassy or Consulate: This is where you will formally submit your application for an E-1 Treaty Trader Visa, attend a visa interview, and fulfill the rest of your in-person requirements. The rest of the E-1 Treaty Trader Visa application process will take place online. 

E1 Visa Processing Time

The E-1 Visa processing time for an application is usually extremely quick, with a decision on an application being rendered immediately after the applicant has concluded his or her visa interview. Perhaps the most time-consuming aspect of the application process concerns the amount of time it takes to get a visa appointment (it can take several months). Because of this, applicants should keep in mind that the complete processing time for a visa can also take months.

When to Apply for E1 Visa

E-1 Visa processing time can take months (as explained above). This is why one of the tips for E-1 Visas is that applicants apply months in advance if possible. Assembling all the documents required for an E-1 visa and meeting of the rest of the application requirements can take some time, so it is best to apply earlier rather than later. Please note that applicants must have their visa in hand in order to enter the United States.

E1 Visa Extension

E-1 Visa holders may extend their visa. A typical extension is granted for a period of two years, and there is generally no limit on the number of extensions one may request.

FAQ about E1 Visa

What is an E-1 Visa

An E-1 Visa is a type of “Trade Treaty” visa available to nationals of certain countries who need a visa in order to come to the United States for the purpose of conducting trade, broadly defined as touristic enterprises, financial services like banking (non-domestic), conveyance, and insurance.

How long does it take to get an E1-Visa?

It can take weeks or even months to get an E-1 Visa; how long it takes depends on a number of facts, including your nationality, the nature of your application, and the availability of visa appointments at the US Embassy/Consulate you are applying through. 

How long can I remain in the United States on my E-1 Visa?

Most visa holders can remain in the United States for two years at a time on an E-1 Visa. However, the duration of time granted to individual visa holders varies.  

Can I extend my E1 Visa?

Yes. Extensions of E1 Visas are granted with some regularity.

Can I go from an E1 Visa to a Green Card?

Yes, it is possible to go from an E1 Visa to Green Card. However, considering that most E1 Visas are granted to individuals who demonstrate their intention to leave the United States upon the conclusion of their visa period, it is difficult to go directly from an E1 Visa to a Green Card. Ultimately however, anyone who meets the specific Green Card eligibility requirements may apply for one.

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