E-1 Visa - Treaty Trader Visa for the U.S.

Anyone wanting to live in the U.S. for an extended period of time should consider an E visa.

In contrast to most other visa categories, E visas can be extended indefinitely by applying for extensions in increments of two to five years. Whereas holders of an L visa are allowed a maximum stay of seven years –after which they must leave the U.S. and may not reenter the U.S. on an L or H visas for one year – an E visa makes it possible to stay in the U.S. practically indefinitely, so long as the E visa holder still satisfies all relevant requirements.

Treaty requirement

As the name of the visa suggests, both E-1 and E-2 visas are only available to citizens of countries which have concluded bilateral trade agreements with the U.S. The countries which currently satisfy the treaty requirement include

  • Germany,
  • Austria,
  • Slovenia,
  • Switzerland,
  • Poland,
  • Ireland,
  • France, and
  • Italy.

A full list of qualifying countries is available here.

Commercial activity required

An E-1 visa is issued only to self-employed persons or to employees of U.S. companies which trade between the treaty country and the U.S.

To obtain an E-1 visa, the applicant must show, among other things, that the U.S. company is at least 50% owned by natural persons who are citizens of the treaty country. 

What is “trade” in an E-1 visa?

To receive an E-1 visa, it is essential that trade is already taking place and that such trade is “substantial” in terms of volume, frequency and value. It is also essential that the trade reflect a regular exchange of goods or services over a longer period of time. Whether trade will qualify as substantial depends on the individual case and the types of goods or services being traded.

Additionally, more than 50% of the company’s total trade volume must be between the U.S. and the treaty country. If your company is new and cannot show “substantial” trade transactions or does not satisfy the “more than 50%” trade volume requirement, you may want to consider the E-2 visa as an alternative.

The term "trade" is fairly extensive. It refers not only the exchange of goods, but also the provision of services in industries such as transport, banking, insurance and tourism. 

Our E-1 visa services - worldwide

We would be happy to evaluate whether you fulfill the requirements for the E-1 visa, or whether there are other visa alternatives for which you may qualify. Your expert for U.S. visa applications is Attorney Thomas Schwab. Please contact us for an appointment with one of our experts via our Online Appointment System, via e-mail (info@visum-usa.com) or by phone (+49 (0)69 - 76 75 77 80).

Please do not hesitate to contact us!