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The E1 visa checklist below provides a general idea of what is usually needed for business owners (treaty traders) who have a business that is involved in international trade between the United States and the treaty country that they are from to obtain their E1 business visa. To have a better understanding of this list, please read the E1 visa overview for more details on the E1 visa petition.


Please click to download the E1 visa checklist for international business owners (treaty traders).

The overall emphasis on the documents and requirements/criteria of an E1 visa petition is that the business shows a continuous flow of sizable international trade done between the United States and the treaty country that the business owner is from. The business owner under the E1 visa would need to show that the international trade done between the United States and their treaty country is over 50% of the overall international trade volume of their business.

The requirements for a E1 visa petition are extensive and while ticking the boxes of requirements sounds simple enough, figuring out what items should be included and strategizing how the petition is presented is not. It is common practice and strongly encouraged to obtain an attorney for employment-based nonimmigrant visa petitions.

Alternatives to the E1 Visa Petition

The closest alternatives to filing the E1 visa treaty trader application as a business owner would be filing for an E2 visa application for treaty investors who are investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business, or an L1A visa or an L1B visa petition which is for employees who are either a manager or executive, or a person who has specialized knowledge of a multinational company to transfer from an overseas office to work in a United States office or come to the United States to open up a new office for their employer. The E2 visa is often a good alternative to an E1 visa when the foreign business owner has a business that does not involve or cannot show continuous international trade. The E2 visa, L1A visa, and L1B visa all allow a foreign person to come to the United States to set up and manage start-up companies or newly established companies. 

Another possible alternative to filing an E1 visa application would be to file for a green card application which is a permanent immigrant visa and not a temporary visa like the E1 visa. Typically, a person who is qualifiable as a business owner (treaty trader) for an E1 visa would choose to file for an EB5 green card (investor green card) due to certain similarities of the standards and requirements between the two visas. For more on green cards gained through work, please read the overview for employment-based green cards. 


If you have an E1 work visa (Treaty Trader) immigration question, please fill out our contact us form or send us an email with some basic information about your background and your immigration needs. We will do our best to respond within 48 hours.

How we can help?

Kylie Huang Law’s immigration attorney will help identify whether the E1 visa is the appropriate nonimmigrant visa category for the client’s professional background and if there are other visa options for the client. We will work closely with our client to prepare a convincing case for their E1 visa application and we will also strategize on how the E1 visa application should be presented to achieve the best chances of approval. It is strongly advised and common practice to retain an immigration attorney for an E1 business visa application due to the complexities in the immigration process and visa requirements.

What does the typical process look like to retain (hire) us?