Firstly, an E-1 visa is available only for nationals of a country with which the U.S. has established a treaty of commerce and navigation, and once approved, an E-1 visa holder is eligibility to enter the U.S. to conduct international trade on his or his company’s own behalf. In addition to the principal of the organization, key foreign national employees are also eligible for entry to work for the company in the U.S. The principal visa holder’s spouse and under 21 year old children are also eligible to enter the U.S. to accompany the principal visa holder.
For a list of countries with which the U.S. established a qualifying treaty of commerce and navigation – click here to see U.S. Department of State’s Treaty Countries.
There are two ways a foreign national can obtain E-1 visa status. If the individual is in the U.S. in valid nonimmigrant status, in most cases he/she may be eligible to file for a change of their status to E-1. However, although their change of status request may be approved, if the individual wishes to depart the U.S., he/she will need to apply for and be issued an actual E-1 visa at a U.S. consular post abroad to facilitate reentry into the U.S.
Alternatively, the foreign national may choose to straight away simply return to their home country to apply for their E-1 visa, especially if they know they will be needing to depart the U.S. frequently, or even once, in the near future.