E-1 & E-2


An E-1 non-immigrant visa classification allows the national of a treaty recognized country* to be granted temporary entry into the United States for the purpose of engaging in international trade, either in their own individual capacity, or as an employee of a company.

*List of E-1 Treaty Countries recognized by the United States

Eligibility Criteria to File for Change of Status

Only certain people are eligible for getting an E-1 non-immigrant status. They include;

  1. The person requesting the E-1 non-immigrant visa classification is currently residing in the United States and already has a lawful non-immigrant status. In this case, the person can file Form I-129 and request their status to be changed.
  2. The shortlisted employee requesting the E-1 non-immigrant visa classification is currently in the United States and is in lawful non-immigrant status. In this case, the interested employer can file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf and request their status to be changed.

Qualification Criteria for Treaty Trader

There are certain pre-requisites for a treaty trader to qualify for the E-1 classification. These include the treaty trader being;

  • A declarable national of a United States-recognized treaty country,
  • Able to carry out substantial trade,
  • Able to carry out principal trade between the qualifying treaty country and the United States.

Obtaining an E-1 Classification from outside the United States

If the person requesting the E-1 classification is not physically present in the United States, the request for the change of status cannot be made through Form I-129. For more information regarding this issue, visit the US Department of State website, or contact us for more information. We will be more than happy to schedule a consultation and brief you regarding the possible plan of action.

Period of Stay of E-1 Status Holders

Initially, qualified E-1 status holders are allowed a 2-year stay within the United States. However, request for extension may be filed, allowing treaty traders and employees to prolong their stay by a further 2 years. Multiple extensions may be requested, and there is no limit as to the number of extensions which can be requested. However, the qualified E-1 status holder must leave the United States after the expiration or termination of their E-1 non-immigrant status.

*An already qualified E-1 status holder with a valid E-1 visa in his or her passport who travelled abroad due to any reason will be able to extend of his or her stay by a further 2 years upon re-entry into the United States.

Family Members of E-1 Status Holders

All E-1 status holders are allowed to be accompanied by their spouses and married children under the age of 21 years. They are not required to share the same nationality as the E-1 treaty trader or employee. They may apply for the dependent visa abroad or if they are already admitted into the US, they may  file for the E-1 dependent visa.. If they are successful in their request, they will be granted the same period of  stay as the treaty trader or employee.


Law Offices of Peter Chu is a reputable law firm providing legal immigration services to residents of San Diego. We provide our customers with consultation and other legal services to help fulfill their needs and requirements. To enquire about our services or book an appointment, call us at  858-268-8823. You can also send us an e-mail at response@peterchu.com