An E-1 treaty trader visa enables a foreign national to live and work in the U.S. for up to two years initially, although the visa may be extended indefinitely. To qualify for an E-1 visa, an individual must be entering the U.S. to continue an existing trade. Spouses of the applicant and unmarried children under the age of 21 are also eligible for these visas.
Government officials interpret eligibility requirements for treaty trader visas quite strictly. For that reason, it may be beneficial to work with an experienced E-1 visa lawyer during the application process. A well-versed immigration lawyer familiar can help applicants document their eligibility and compliance with the requirements.
To obtain an E-1 visa, an individual must come from a country in a treaty relationship with the U.S. regarding commerce and navigation. The U.S. State Department maintains a list of treaty countries. Most of the countries in Western Europe are included, as are Canada, Mexico, and countries scattered throughout the rest of the world.
An E-1 visa lawyer could determine whether an individual has enough connection to a treaty country to establish eligibility. In some cases, an applicant may be able to apply for a related E-2 visa but not an E-1 visa. In that case, an attorney can help determine a person’s best options.
To qualify for this type of visa, an applicant must carry on substantial trade principally between the U.S. and the country of their nationality. The term trade can refer to more than just the sale of merchandise. For the purposes of a visa, trade includes the exchange of:
The federal regulations concerning treaty traders are set forth in 8 C.F.R. §214.2(e), and subsection nine defines trade by a list of examples. However, the regulation does not precisely define substantial. An E-1 visa lawyer can prepare evidence to persuasively show that an applicant conducts substantial business between the U.S. and the treaty country. Both the frequency of trade and the volume of business will generally be considered in determining whether a trade is substantial enough to qualify.
Many visa categories, even for temporary visas such as H-1B visas, are only issued in limited number each year. However, there is no cap on the number of E-1 visas issued, which can make this type of visa easier to obtain. In addition, an E-1 visa does not have requirements regarding education and work experience, so this visa may be open to more individuals.
Furthermore, although and E-1 visa is issued in limited increments, holders may request extensions indefinitely. However, it does not grant full status as a lawful permanent resident, and holders are required to maintain an intent to return to their home country.
E-1 visas are not only available to business owners but also often to their employees as well. Those starting an enterprise may not qualify for an E-1 visa because the business must already be in operation, but they may be eligible for an E-2 visa.
It can be challenging to fulfill the requirements, particularly to demonstrate that business conducted between the U.S. and the trader’s home country is sufficiently substantial to qualify. A knowledgeable E-1 visa lawyer can collect and prepare documentation to satisfy requirements. In addition, if problems or delays occur, an attorney can work to resolve the situation. Call now for a consultation to learn how an immigration attorney can assist you.
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