The E-1 visa is a great visa for treaty traders who engage in international trade between the U.S. and their home treaty country.

Our clients often ask us what kind of evidence they will need to provide to prove that:

  • The trade is substantial;
  • The trade is international;
  • More than 50% of the volume of international trade is between the U.S. and a treaty country.

Generally, this is the evidence that could be submitted to prove the E-1 trade requirements:

  • Invoices
  • The Company’s bank statements
  • Bank certified cashed checks or receipts showing costs of purchases or services
  • Purchase Orders
  • Inventory Data
  • Bills of Lading
  • DHS Customs receipts
  • Sales Contracts or Contracts for Services
  • Letters of Credit
  • Insurance papers documenting commodities imported into the U.S.
  • Accounts receivables and accounts payable ledgers
  • The Company’s federal income tax returns

Additionally, you should submit a spreadsheet listing every qualifying transaction of international trade between the treaty country and the U.S. for the past 1-3 years. You should check the instructions of the Consulate where you will be applying for the E-1 visa to see what exact information should be listed on the spreadsheet (e.g. the Consulate in Toronto asks to list the date, the invoice number, and the dollar value of each transaction).

The types of documents you will have to submit will differ depending on whether the items of trade are goods or services.

Example 1:

If you are manufacturing clothes in Canada, and then importing clothes to the U.S., you could submit Bills of Lading or DHS Customs Receipts to prove that the goods were imported in the U.S. to your U.S. customers.

Example 2:

If you live in Canada and you have been providing management consulting services to your U.S. clients, you could submit invoices and bank statements showing the payments from the U.S. clients to satisfy the trade requirement.

Please note that you should check the website of the Consulate where you will be applying for the E-1 visa and read the Consulate’s specific requirements, as some Consulates have preferred documentation they require to prove the trade (e.g. the Consulate in Rome prefers the U.S. DHS bills of lading).

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