With E1 Visa, you can comfortably trade in the United States of America. The E1 Visa is a nonimmigrant classification Visa which allows a citizen of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
Moreover, The E1 Visa which is also called the Treaty Trader Visa is a US non-immigrant visa for all those who trade with the US. The trade must be between the US and an E1 visa country in which the US has a trade and investment treaty.
Therefore, this article will direct you on how to apply for this visa, tell you which country is involved in US trade treaty and inform you about the eligibility requirements for this E1 Visa.
Meaning of E-1 visa
The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa allows an individual to enter and work inside of the United States based on an commerce he or she will be conducting, while inside the United States. It is also a special visa for business people from certain treaty countries.
The E1 visa allows someone to work in the US and carry out substantial trade between individuals and firms in the United States and the country of which they are a citizen or national. This trade can be in a wide range of industries including transportation, communication, banking, advertising, and management.
Types of Treaty Traders Visas
- E-1 Visa: E1 visa is available for treaty traders.
- E-2 Visa: E2 category is available for treaty investors.
- E-3 Visa: E3 category is available to Australian specialty occupation workers.
List of U.S E1 Treaty Countries
Not all countries of the world have E-1 treaty with the United States of America. However, the following countries below have treaty and are eligible to apply for US E-1 Visa.
- China (Taiwan)
- Costa Rica
- Estonia, Ethiopia,
- Finland, France,
- United Kingdom.
Benefits of US E1 Visa
As a holder of E-1 Visa, there are certain benefits you are going to have such as:
- You can legally work in the United States.
- Also you can travel freely in and out of the United States.
- The visa can be renewed indefinitely for up to two years at a time
- Your spouse and dependent children (children who are unmarried and under 21 years of age) can also qualify for E1 status.
- With E1 status, your children can go to school.
- Your spouse can apply for employment authorization through the EAD (Employment Authorization Document).
Requirements for E1 Visa
Before you apply for E-1 Visa, you are going to fulfill these requirements below:
- You Must Be A National of A Treaty Country: You must be a national of a country that maintains a treat of navigation and commerce with the U.S. for E1 visa purposes.
- Trading Firm Must Belong To The Treaty Country: The trading firm for which you are coming to the U.S. must have the nationality of the treaty country.
- The Trade Must Be Substantial: The international trade between your home country and the U.S. must be ‘substantial’ in the sense that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade. More than 50 per cent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and your home country.
- You Must Be Employed In Supervisory or Executive Capacity, or Possess Specialized Skills: You must be employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
Moreover, if the treaty trader is a business (rather than an individual), at least 50% of the business must be owned by nationals of the treaty country. Only employees who are nationals of that treaty country are eligible for the E1 visa but there are two exceptions to this rule.
Required Documents for the E1 Visa?
The following documents are what you are going to need to apply for E-1 Visa.
- Form DS-160 for nonimmigrant visa applicants.
- And Form DS-156E for nonimmigrant investor applications.
- A copy of your passport (should be valid 6 months beyond your stay).
- Color ID photograph showing your full face.
- Proof of one year’s worth of trading activity
- Your CV/resume
- Evidence of skill and/or employment
- And Evidence of US remittance (bank loans, transfer exchange permits, etc.)
- Evidence of establishment in the US.
- And Evidence of nationality.
- Evidence of trade between the treaty country and the US.
- And Evidence that the business is real and legit (annual reports, news articles, etc.).
Sometimes, not all of these documents may be required. This is why you have to work with an attorney during this process.
E1 Visa Application Fees
The general application fee for the E1 visa is $205. Apart from that, you may be required to pay extra fees such as reciprocity fees or insurance fees – but this will depend on the country that you are originally from. Ideally, you should use a fee calculator from USCIS. Other fees are:
- E1 Visa Fees (Filing at the USCIS) – Filing Fee – Regular$460 while Filing Fee – Premium$2,960
- And E1 Visa Fees (Filing at the U.S. Consulate) – Filing Fee$205
E1 Visa Extension
The US allows E1 visa holders unlimited extensions as long as they meet the E1 visa criteria and show continuous intent to return to their home country. In order to apply for an extension, you need to submit form I-129 along with I-539 – together with the required documents that prove an extension is necessary.
Eligibility Qualifications for the E1 Visa
You are qualified for E1 Visa if you are an international trader or their senior employee who wishes to enter the United States with the purpose of trading.
In order to qualify for this classification, the treaty trader will have to:
- Be a national citizen from a country with which the US has regular trading and commerce.
- Carry substantial trade to and from the United States.
- Have principal trade between the US and the treaty country which gave the potential visa beneficiary their qualification.
- Be an immediate family member of the main E1 visa holder.
- You must agree to the fact that you have to depart from United States if your E-1 status comes to an end. This visa is only temporary, and it must be regarded as such.
Steps to Apply for E1 Visa
You can apply for an E1 visa from two places, depending on your situation:
- From within the US through USCIS
- Or From outside the US through a US Embassy
Application process from within the US
If you are applying from within the US, you must file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, if you will be engaged directly in international trade. If you will be working for someone who is engaged in international trade as a supervisor, manager, or executive, then the company must file Form I-129.
In addition, must also submit filing fees and other documents to prove nationality, trade relationship, and intent to return to your home country. USCIS will then process the request and send you the appropriate response. If your request is granted, USCIS will give you or your employer a Form I-797, Approval Notice.
Application from Outside the US
If you are outside of the US, you must apply through a US Embassy in your home country. Applying from outside the US is a lengthier procedure. It involves the following steps:
#1. File Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application
Fill in the necessary information and at the end, you will get a confirmation page which you will need later on for your documentation.
#2. Pay the application fee
The fee for the E1 visa is $205. You might be asked to pay additional fees such as visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees based on the country you come from.
#3. Schedule your visa interview
You should schedule your interview as soon as possible to avoid long waits due to the high workload of the US Embassy.
All visa applicants over 13 and under 80 years old need to interview with an official of the US Embassy. When you schedule your interview, you will be given a visa appointment letter, which you need to have with you for your interview.
#4. Gather the documents
Gather the file of documents listed above to bring with you on the interview:
E1 Visa Processing Time
The time it takes to process E1 Visa is between two and four weeks. However, E-1 visa processing time varies by consulate and whether you are applying from within or outside the U.S. but on average, it takes between two and four weeks to process.
E1 Visa validity Period
The period of stay for qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Then you can request for extension of stay in, or changes of status to, E-1 classification may be granted in increments of up to two years each.
There is no limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-1 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
Can I Convert my E1 Visa to green card?
Yes but the easiest way is for you to find a job and an employer willing to sponsor your stay. You can then change your status to an H-1B visa and then apply for the Green Card
Are dependents allowed to travel with an E1 visa?
Yes, you may bring your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 years to stay along with you. They may stay in the U.S. as long as you maintain your E-1 status.
What are the limitations of E-1 visa?
You are restricted to working only for the specific employer or self-owned business that acted as your E-1 visa sponsor.
How long can I stay in US with an E-1 visa
The E1 visa will allow its holder to remain in the United States for as much as 2 years. If they meet the conditions, their length of stay may go even beyond 2 years – provided they apply for an extension. There isn’t any limit on the number of extensions that may be applied
What is the difference between E-1 and E 2 visa?
The E1 visa is for ‘Treaty Traders’, and the E2 visa is for ‘Treaty Investors’. Holders of an E1 visa can move to the US on a temporary basis to carry out their trade activities, and E2 visa holders for the purposes of investment.
Who is eligible for E-1 Visa?
To qualify for E-1 classification, the employee of a treaty trader must: Be the same nationality of the principal noncitizen employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country) Meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law.
How much money do I need for E-1 visa?
Normally a minimum investment of $100,000 will be required, although this may be reduced in the event that a certain business simply does not require such an investment. An absolute bare minimum of $75,000 will likely be required, although the rules envisage that $50,000 may be suitable in certain circumstances.
You have known clearly that E1 Visa is for individuals who are strictly part of treaty countries. And to apply for it, you must have a US sponsor who you strictly must work under. So you can apply for E1 Visa, if you have what it takes to apply. Remember to check for other US visas like L1 Visa, H1B1 Visa, O2 Visa etc in this website.