E-2 Treaty Trader Visa

The E-1 visa, the so-called Treaty Trader Visa, presents a significant opportunity for petitioners who can navigate the rules for these E-1 visas. Lawyers in our firm’s San Francisco immigration department have studied the rules carefully; and they monitor USCIS rule changes as they occur. As a result, historically Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates has been very successful with E-1 visa petitions.

The E-1 visa, a nonimmigrant visa category, is available to foreign nationals who wish to enter the U.S. solely to conduct substantial trade between their country of citizenship and the United States. Our firm’s San Francisco based immigration department lawyers suggest that the E-1 Treaty Trader visa is particularly useful for business persons wishing to enter the U.S. for extended periods of time. But they also remind us that every case requires close and special attention.

Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates’ San Francisco immigration department lawyers advise that the following requirements, at a minimum, must be met to qualify for the E-1 visa under treaty trader status:

  • A Treaty of commerce, friendship, and navigation or a Bilateral Investment Treaty must be in effect between the United States and the country of nationality of the E-1 visa petitioner seeking treaty trader status. (These treaties were adopted by the United States beginning as far back as 1783, when the U.S.  and Sweden entered into such treaty).

  • The petitioning foreign national must be seeking U.S. entry to do substantial trade between the foreign country and the U.S. “Substantial trade” is defined in the U.S. law and regulations based on a specific calculation of trade volume between the U.S. and the specified treaty county.

  • The company which does trade in the U.S. must have the same nationality and/or be a citizen of the specified treaty country. For E-1 visa purposes, the “nationality” or “citizenship” of a company is based on the nationality of persons who own 50 percent or more of the stock of the corporation. The analysis does not end there. The nationality of the persons owning stock is then evaluated and those persons’ nationality is based on their own country of citizenship.

The individual for whom “treaty trader” status is sought must actually hold a key role with the company. To meet the immigration law’s E-1 visa requirements, he or she will be a person who has developed and directed the trade between the two countries, as a qualified manager, or as a specially trained and highly qualified employee necessary for the development of the investment (a so-called essential employee).

Most immigration and nationality law attorneys will say that the duration of stay for an E-1 visa holder can be unlimited. In a general sense, as long as the foreign national and the company continue to qualify under the treaty trader visa provision and for so long as the foreign national is maintaining his or her status, the E-1 visa holder may indefinitely remain in the United States.

With these requirements in mind, our San Francisco law firm’s immigration department specialists suggest that there is no outside limit on the length of stay for foreign nationals holding an E-1 visa based on treaty trader status. Typically, though, the foreign national’s authorized stay issued at U.S. ports of entry will “only” be for one year. Later, as the years pass, repeat extensions of stay may be issued in blocs of time of not longer than two years.

Some fifty-five (55) countries have entered into a treaty with the United States which qualifies nationals of those countries to apply for an E-1 nonimmigrant visa. Contact Luscutoff, Lendormy & Associates to learn whether your particular country has a treaty with the United States which opens the door to an E-1 visa.