The E1 and E2 nonimmigrant visa categories are comprised of treaty traders and treaty investors entitled to be in the United States under a bilateral treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which the treaty trader or investor is a citizen or national.
The purpose of a treaty trader is to carry on substantial trade in goods, services, and technology, principally between the United States and the foreign country of which s/he is a citizen or national.
The purpose of a treaty investor is to direct the operations of an enterprise in which s/he has invested, or is actively investing, a substantial amount of capital in the United States.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an E2 nonimmigrant may be granted the same status to accompany the E1 or E2.
E1: Nonimmigrant Treaty Investors
The E-1 Classification is for a foreign national who is coming to the United States solely to engage in trade of a substantial nature, principally between the United States and the foreign national’s country. The trade involved must be the international exchange of items of trade between the United States and a treaty country. Title to the trade item must pass from one treaty party to the other under successfully negotiated contracts that are binding on all parties.
If the foreign national is already inside the United States, the individual must submit a Form I-129, “Petition for Non-immigrant Worker,” to USCIS in order to request a change of status or an extension of stay. If the foreign national is outside of the United States, the individual must apply for an E-1 visa at a U.S. consular office abroad.
The dependents of age under 21 years can extend their stay to remain with the principal E1 status. They must use the Form I-539 to apply. The husband or wife of an E1 may be authorized to work in the U.S. They must use the Form I-765 to apply. In addition, for question 16 of the form, they must apply under the category (a)(17). The other dependents may not work in the U.S. As long as the dependents are in E1 status they can attend school without changing to another nonimmigrant status.