The E-1 classification is authorized for a national of a country with which the United States has a commercial treaty, who is coming to the U.S. solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature principally between the United States and the foreign national’s country of nationality. The trade involved must be international exchange (successfully negotiated contracts binding on all parties) of items of trade between the U.S. and a treaty country. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other.
If the foreign national is inside the U.S., the I-129 is used to apply for a change of status, extension of stay, or change of employment. This classification does not require a petition for employment if the foreign national is outside of the U.S. If outside of the U.S., the foreign national applies for an E-1 visas on his or her own behalf directly to a U.S. consular office abroad.
The United States has treaties with over 40 countries which permit nationals from those countries to own or be employed in the U.S. in a business which conducts a substantial volume of trade between the U.S. and the person’s country of citizenship. An E-1 visas is available not only to those whose trade is in material goods, but also to those whose trade consists of services and technology.
Countries which have E-1 treaties with the U.S. include: