Intro to E-1 Treaty Trader Visas
Expanding an existing business, or opening a new one in the United States can be exciting and challenging. Along with the opportunities to serve a larger market and profit from favorable exchange rates are the challenges of a complex set of laws and regulations.
Who is the E-1 visa category intended for?These visas are available to citizens of countries with which the U.S. maintains treaties of commerce and navigation and allow the visa holder to live and work in the U.S. while lawfully admitted. E-1 visas are designed for foreigners seeking to enter the United States to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the U.S. and the foreign treaty country. Employees of foreign companies engaged in trade with the U.S. may qualify if their role within the company is "executive," "managerial," "specialized," or "essential" in nature.
What is considered "substantial" trade?No statute or regulation defines a number that is considered "substantial" for trade, but the U.S. Department of State suggests "trade that is sufficient to support the treaty trader and family should be considered favorably."
How long will an E-1 visa be valid?E-1 visas may be issued for periods up to 5 years, and are renewable as long as trade between the foreign company and the U.S. is sustained. The standard duration of validity varies by country.
What are the steps for submitting an application for an E-1 visa?The general application procedure typically includes these steps:
1) gather evidence
2) submit the online form
3) schedule a consular interview
4) submit evidence via e-mail two weeks prior to the interview
5) attend the interview
6) pick up visa approximately 5 days after the interview
Can I work wherever I want in the U.S. with an E-1 visa?E-1 visa holders may only work for the employer authorized by their E-1 visa. Spouses of E-1 visa holders may apply for open-market U.S. employment authorization to work for any U.S. employer.
Can an E-1 visa holder bring their spouse or children to the U.S. with them?Spouses and children (under 21 years old) of E-1 visa holders may qualify for dependent visas. Spouses of E-1 visa holders may apply for open-market U.S. employment authorization and children may attend school.