The E-1 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.Who May File for Change of Status to E-1 Classification
If the treaty trader is currently in the United States in a lawful non-immigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1 classification. If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful non-immigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf.How to Obtain E-1 Classification if Outside the United States
A request for E-1 classification may not be made on Form I-129 if the person being filed for is physically outside the United States. Interested parties should refer to the U.S. Department of State website for further information about applying for an E-1 non-immigrant visa abroad. Upon issuance of a visa, the person may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-1 non-immigrant.General Qualifications of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:
Trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. Items of trade include but are not limited to:
To qualify for E-1 classification, the employee of a treaty trader must:
Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-1 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated. An E-1 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States. It is generally not necessary to file a new Form I-129 with USCIS in this situation.