E-1 Visa

U.S immigration policy supports investors and foreign commerce in a variety of ways. The E-1 visa is one method for ensuring healthy commerce with the world. The E-1 Visa is issued to individuals known as ‘treaty traders’. A treaty trader is defined as a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation. You should be coming to the US to carry on substantial trade, or to develop and direct the operations of a business in which you have invested or will soon invest a substantial amount of capital. You must also be a national of a treaty country and you must be involved in international trade. Your spouse and children may join you under the same status. Your employees, or the employees of your treaty company, may also receive E-1 visas.


You may apply for an E-1 visa at a US Consulate in your country. We recommend you do not apply at a US Consular Office outside of your permanent residence, since that process is more difficult.


To apply for an E-1 Visa, you must supply the following documents:

  1. A filled-in visa application Form DS-156.
  2. One recent photograph 1 & 1/2 inches square (37mm x 37mm) of each applicant, with the entire face visible. The picture should be taken before a light background and without head covering.
  3. A passport, valid for travel to the United States for at least six months longer than your intended visit.
  4. Documents that establish that your cmpany is owned by foreign nationals.
  5. A letter from your employer detailing your position and stating that you possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm.

You may also be asked to prove that:

  1. Your company meets the requirements of the law.
  2. The trade is substantial; there should be a continuous flow of trade between the US and the treaty country.
  3. You intend to leave the US after the validity date of the E-1 Visa.