The benefits of the E-1 visa include ability to stay on a prolonged basis with unlimited two year extensions as long as the individual maintains valid E1 status and the U.S. enterprise remains operational and active. The Treaty trader may be accompanied by a spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Spouses of E-1 treaty traders may apply for work authorization and dependants may attend school.
To qualify for the E-1 classification as a treaty trader, the foreign national must:
- Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
- Carry on substantial trade
- Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for the E-1 classification.
To qualify for E-1 classification as an employee of a treaty trader, the foreign national must:
- Be the same nationality as the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
- Meet the definition of “employee” under the relevant law
- Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory nature, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
- If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must also be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader status.
An E-1 employee may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries.