USA and the UK
What is an E1 Visa?
The E1 Visa is a non-immigrant permit that allows foreign traders to enter the U.S. for trade-related purposes. It is designed for business owners or employees who wish to work for an enterprise or to personally engage in trade (imports/exports) with the U.S.
Currently, the U.S. has signed the Treaty of Commerce with 78 different foreign countries. To meet the E1 Visa requirements, you must be a citizen of one of those territories.
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What are the US International Treaties scheme?
The United States has signed treaties of “Friendship, Commerce and Navigation” with several countries in the world. Nationals from these places are welcomed to enter the U.S. to promote international trade and investment. The following are the available schemes:
- E1 Treaty Trader, for businesses and individuals engaged in substantial international trade between the U.S. and their country.
- E2 Treaty Investor, for those who are making a significant investment in a U.S. business in which they have at least a 50% ownership.
- E3 Specialty Occupation Professionals for Australians, for Australian nationals who wish to come to the U.S. to engage in a specialty occupation role.
What does “substantial trade” mean?
To get an E1 Visa, your travelling purposes must meet the legal meaning of “substantial trade”. In general, any constant flow of commercial operations that take place over time is recognized as “trade” or “commerce”. This includes:
- Imports/exports of goods;
- Every other exchange of international services.
There is no minimum monetary value for each transaction. Nevertheless, higher volume activities benefit from greater importance and priority.
What are the E1 Visa requirements?
To be eligible, you must:
- Be a citizen of one of the 78 Treaty Trader countries;
- Be involved in a substantial and continuous flow of international operations;
- Be working for an employee of your same nationality;
- Have a supervisory role in your business;
- Have special qualifications or proven expertise;
- If you work for an international organization, it must be at least 50% owned by people in the U.S. who still are national of one of the treaty countries.
Furthermore, at least 50% of the total volume of your trading transactions must be between the U.S. and the treaty country you represent.
If you are interested in investing your funds in a U.S. business, you may also meet the E2 Visa requirements.
How to apply for an E1 Investor Visa?
If you work for an eligible organization, your company must register as an E1 business before you file your petition.
First of all, you will need to fill out a Form DS-160. This online application allows you to explain the purpose of your visit.
After this, you must pay your non-refundable fee and wait to be summoned for an interview at your local U.S. Consulate. Do not forget to bring your Form 156E with you, since it defines the details of your business.
Your employer or organization must also provide a proper cover letter. It will support your application, describing the nature of your business and your position within it.
This statement should also advocate how both the U.S. and your home country can benefit from your trade.
How long can you stay in the U.S. under a Treaty Trader Visa?
Under an E1 visa, you can stay in the U.S. for up to 2 years. If your reasons to stay in the country are still relevant, the USCIS may grant you a renewal for up to two more years.
There is no limit to the number of extensions you can obtain, as long your business transactions must remain active and stable.
The Treaty Trader Visa is a non-immigrant permit, meaning it does not create a path to U.S. citizenship. Nevertheless, you can submit a Form I-129 to apply for change your status.
During your stay in the U.S., you can only work for the specific employer or organization that has sponsored your Treaty Trader Visa.
Can my dependents travel with me in the U.S.?
If you hold an E1 Visa, your status may cover your immediate relatives. These are your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21.
Since the E1 permit is a non-immigrant visa, you cannot apply for a family-based immigration visa.
Once in the U.S., your spouse may submit a Form I-756 to seek unrestricted work authorization. Your children can also attend public school, but they will not be allowed to work.
Under the Treaty Trader Visa, you and your family can travel abroad. However, only you will be granted a two-year period of readmission in the U.S.
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E-1 traders or employees are only allowed to work in the activity for which they were approved when their visa was issued. However, they may be entitled to work in one of the parent companies of their employer, if applicable.
Your employees may be entitled to come to the United States under an E1 Visa for the purposes of trade if they meet the following conditions:
- Being a citizen or national of one of the US treaty nations;
- Being in a managerial or supervisory role which requires specialist skills or knowledge;
- The employer must already be in the U.S. on an E1 Visa. Otherwise, if they are abroad, they must demonstrate their eligibility for this permit.
One of the main challenges when applying for a Treaty Trader Visa is that the nature of the eligible trade transactions is not legally defined.
By seeking legal advice, you can verify if you meet all the E1 Visa requirements.
Your IAS immigration lawyer will also:
- Determine which credentials do you need to support your application;
- Assess if your skills and your business are essential to your intended trade in the U.S.;
- Establish the degree of responsibilities your employer or company must grant you to make your role adequate;
- Check if you have satisfactory and detailed documentation about your business;
- Assist you in case you need to apply for an E1 Visa renewal.
Call us now on +1844 290 6312 or use our online form to request a call back from one of our immigration advisers.