- What is E1 Visa?
- Who is it For?
- Is E1 an Immigrant Visa?
- What are the Benefits of Getting the E1 Visa?
- Eligibility Requirements to Get the E1 Treaty Trader Visa
- How Long Does it Take to Process?
If you are a foreign trader looking to carry out substantial business with individuals or firms in the United States, then you could apply for an E1 visa – provided you are from specific treaty countries. What does this mean? In this guide, we will explain the key aspects you should be aware of before applying for this type of treaty trader visa.
What is E1 Visa?
This special visa category is meant for traders who visit the United States solely for the purpose of international trade, and with a non-immigrant status. However, admission to the United States under this type of visa is allowed only when the traders are from a treaty country.
A treaty country is one with which the United States has an agreement of navigation & commerce, or which is deemed to be a qualifying country by legislation, or with which the U.S. maintains a specific international agreement. This classification also includes a qualifying organization, employees or family members of such an investor or trader.
Check the current list of nations that maintain a treaty of navigation and commerce with the United States.
Who is it For?
The E1 visa is for treaty traders who are entitled to admission to the United States under a certain treaty of navigation and commerce between the country of the trader’s citizenship or nationality, and the United States.
However, the treaty trader under this non-immigrant visa category requires carrying out “substantial trade” in technology, goods, and services between the country where he/she is a national or citizen, and the United States.
Is E1 an Immigrant Visa?
No. E1 Treaty Trader visa is a non-immigrant visa. It means the treaty trader is admitted to the United States temporarily and solely for trading purposes. This is also applicable for other visas under the “E” category, including non-immigrant investor visas, also known as E2 visas.
Getting the Treaty Trader visa does not make you eligible to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. In that case, you need to apply for U.S. citizenship through Naturalization.
What are the Benefits of Getting the E1 Visa?
Some of the key benefits you get are:
- You become eligible to legally carry out substantial trade in the United States
- Renew your visa indefinitely for up to 2 years at a time
- Travel lawfully in and out of the United States until the validity of the visa
- Your spouse or dependent children under 21 years of age may also qualify for E1 status. Under this status, your spouse may apply for employment authorization or your children can get admission to a school in the United States. However, the status remains “non-immigrant”
Eligibility Requirements to Get the E1 Treaty Trader Visa
The general eligibility requirements to become eligible for the visa are:
- You must hold lawful citizenship or nationality of a country with which the United States maintains an agreement of navigation and commerce. If the treaty trader is not an individual but a business, then the nationals of the treaty country must hold at least 50% of the business
- Only employees who are lawful nationals or citizens of the treaty country may get the E1 visa. However, if nationals of two treaty countries own the business under a joint venture, then employees of either of these two countries may be eligible for the visa
- You must carry out substantial trade. This means the trading transactions should be appropriate to ensure a sustained flow
- The work you are carrying out in the United States must be deemed as “trade” by the U.S. Department of State. That means it should be a meaningful international exchange of qualifying commodities, such as goods, services, technology, etc.
- The trade must be principally (50% or more) performed between the treaty country and the United States
- You must demonstrate that you plan to depart the United States after the termination of the E1 status
To apply for the E1 Treaty Trader visa, visit the U.S. Department of State website.
How Long Does it Take to Process?
The overall processing time will vary depending on several factors, such as the consulate you use and the time of the year when you are applying for the E1 visa. In most cases, it may approximately 2-3 months to process your visa application.
The Final Words
Getting the E1 visa is mandatory for traders belonging to the treaty countries. However, understanding the nitty-gritty and completing the process can be complex. Seek advice from experienced immigration lawyers who can guide you through the entire process of getting an E1 Treaty Trader visa.
Onal Gallant and Partners is a law office specializing in Real Estate Law, Intellectual Property, Corporate and Business Law, Immigration Law, and the US Visa Processes. We deliver reliable advice on a large variety of subjects ranging from forming a corporation and buying a house in the US to trademark registration and Green Card applications (e.g., EB3 Visa or DV Lottery). With exceptional knowledge and insight into immigration law, our experienced lawyers at Onal Gallant and Partners are ready to help and respond to all of your inquiries.
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