E-1 Visa

The E-1 visa provides a vital opportunity for traders aiming to conduct trade between their home country and the United States. It’s a straightforward pathway facilitating trade transactions of goods, services, and technology. Contact us today to initiate your E-1 visa process!

What is the E-1 Visa?

The E-1 visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows individuals from treaty countries to enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in substantial trade activities. This visa category promotes international trade and investment by enabling individuals to conduct business with U.S. entities.

Who Qualifies for the E-1 Visa?

To qualify for the E-1 visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

a. Treaty Country

The applicant and the treaty enterprise must both be citizens of a country that has a valid treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States. The applicant’s citizenship determines their nationality, while the nationality of the enterprise is determined by the shareholders who own at least 50% of the company’s shares and hold citizenship from the treaty country.

b. Substantial Trade

The applicant must demonstrate that there is a substantial volume of trade, which refers to a continuous flow of sizable international trade items, between the treaty country and the United States.

c. Principal Trade

The majority of the trade conducted must be between the treaty country and the United States, which means that at least 50% of the trade must be between the treaty country and USA.

d. Essential Employee or Executives

The applicant must either be a supervisor, an executive or an essential employee with specialized knowledge of the treaty country entity.

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    How Does the Application Process Work?

    The E-1 visa application process may take an extended period as it necessitates the establishment of substantial trade with the United States.

    Step 1: Initial Consultation and Assessment of Eligibility

    We first determine if the person and/or company qualifies for an E-1 visa. The nationality of the person or company and the size of the trade (if applicable at the beginning) are assessed.

    Step 2: Company Establishment in the USA (If Not Already Established)

    If the company hasn’t been established yet, we set up the business entity in the United States. This involves registering the company according to the laws and regulations of the state where it will operate.

    Step 3: Conduct of Continuous Trade Activities

    The company must engage in continuous trade activities between the United States and the treaty country. This demonstrates the eligibility for the E-1 visa based on substantial trade.

    Step 4: Collection of the Necessary Documents

    We collaborate closely with the client in gathering all required documents related to the treaty country’s requirements, evidence of substantial trade, and personal documents of the client. This includes financial records, contracts, invoices, and any other relevant paperwork.

    Step 5: Preparation of the Application Package

    We compile the application package with all relevant documentation including a cover letter explaining the eligibility of the applicant for E-1, forms, supporting evidence of substantial trade and proof of payment of fees.

    • Filling Necessary Forms and Paying Fees: Upon completion, we submit the required forms for the E-1 visa application, including Form DS-160 for non-immigrant visa applications and Form DS-156E specifically for treaty traders and employees. The payment of relevant application fees, which vary depending on the country of application, also needs to be completed.
    • Change of Status Application: If the applicant is already in the United States under a different non-immigrant status, such as B-2 tourist status, they may apply for a change of status to E-1 and submitting the E-1 application will be sufficient to change the status if approved by the USCIS. The applicant may then apply for the E-1 visa from a USA embassy or consulate after the approval of the application by the USCIS.

    Step 6: Visa Interview

    If the applicant is applying for an E-1 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate, upon scheduling, they will need to attend a visa interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate by bringing the visa application notice, visa application package, and other necessary documents to the interview. Applicants must be ready to answer questions about the company’s trade activities and provide additional documentation as requested.

    Step 7: Visa Issuance

    If the visa application is approved, the applicant will receive the E-1 visa, either stamped in their passport or issued as a separate document. If a change of status application is filed, USCIS will issue an approval notice indicating the change of status.

    What Are the Benefits of the E-1 Visa?

    The E-1 visa offers several advantages to individuals engaging in substantial trade activities in the United States:

    a. Temporary Stay

    The E-1 visa allows individuals to stay in the United States for an extended period, typically up to two years, with the option to renew.

    b. Work Authorization

    E-1 visa holders are eligible to work for the specific U.S. entity engaged in substantial trade activities.

    What Are the Required Application Documents?

    When applying for the E-1 visa, applicants must submit a comprehensive set of documents to support their eligibility and substantial trade claim. The following documents are commonly required:

    • Treaty Country Evidence
    • Business Documentation
    • Organizational Documents
    • Employee Information
    • Passport and Identification

    Treaty Country Evidence

    Documentation proving the applicant’s nationality, ownership structure of the treaty enterprise evidencing the nationality of the enterprise and the existence of an eligible treaty of commerce and navigation between the treaty country and the United States.

    Business Documentation

    Evidence of substantial trade activities, such as invoices, contracts, purchase orders, financial statements, and records of previous trade transactions.

    Organizational Documents

    Documentation establishing the existence and ownership of the U.S. entity engaged in the trade, such as articles of incorporation, partnership agreements, or business licenses.

    Employee Information

    Supporting documentation demonstrating the applicant’s role and qualifications within the U.S. entity, including resumes, job descriptions, and evidence of specialized knowledge or executive/managerial status.

    Passport and Identification

    A valid passport and identification documents to establish the applicant’s identity and nationality

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    No, the E-1 visa is specifically available to individuals from countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States.

    No, the E-1 visa allows employment only within the specific U.S. entity engaged in substantial trade activities outlined in the visa application.

    The initial period of stay on an E-1 visa is typically up to two years. Extensions may be granted in increments of two years as long as the trade activities continue.

    There is no specified minimum requirement for the volume of trade to qualify for an E-1 visa. Nonetheless, it is advisable that a trade volume of at least $100,000 USD be achieved before initiating the visa application process.
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