With an E1 visa, people who undertake international employee as individuals or employees of companies can enter the United States. Here, the word, trade, applied to banking, services, and goods. The applicant must be from one of the countries that the US has a trade treaty with for this to work.

While the US government doesn’t place a limit on how much trade you carry out, they will look at the number of transactions taking place. That’s because an E-1 visa applicant must satisfy two requirements:

  1. They must be doing the majority of their international trade in the US
  2. Their trade must be sufficient to employ a number of Americans

This blog post looks at the E-1 visa in detail, including the privileges/restrictions that come with it, how to apply for one, and other information.

E-1 Visa Privileges

The E-1 visa allows the holder to work in the US in an American company that does more than half of their international trade with your country. You may leave the country when the visa is valid, i.e., within the allotted two years. You can extend the stay if you still fit the E-1 qualification criterion. Your spouse may come and work in the US while your kids can only accompany you.

E-1 Visa Restrictions

Certain limitations are also associated with the E-1 visa. For instance, you may only work for your sponsor. And you’re only allowed to stay in the US for two years at a time.

E-1 Visa Requirements for Treaty Traders

The E1 Visa Requirements for individuals undertaking treaty trade include:

  • An intention to be engaging in substantial trade while in the US.
  • Complete principal trade – more than 50% — with the US.
  • Have proof that they aren’t in the country to stay indefinitely. Usually, this takes the form of a deed for their permanent residence back in their own country.

E-1 Visa Requirements for Employees of Treaty Traders

The E1 Treaty Trader Visa requirements in this case are:

  • Being from the same country as the principal alien employer
  • Can be defined as an employee in the way law takes it to mean
  • Will be supervising or act as an executive in trading. Special qualifications will be required if you’ll be working in a lesser capacity than the aforementioned two.

How Much Does It Cost?

The E1 Visa Cost includes the $460 filing fee for I-129, and if you require biometric, you’ll pay an additional $85. But for those applying via the US Embassy, other fees, such as that for filing Form DS-160 ($205), and country-specific charges may be present.

E-1 Visa Application Process

There are two ways by which you can apply for an E-1 visa. But the one you choose depends on where you are when the process starts. We’ll cover them both:

How to Apply If You’re inside the US

Those engaging in international trade themselves can file Form I-129 at the USCIS. For the employers, their company must be the one to file Form I-129. Besides the filing fee, you will require documents that prove your nationality, intent to leave the US, and trade relationship.

USCIS will send you the appropriate response after processing your request. If it is a green light, you will get Form I-797 and a Written Notice. That’s when you may go to the US Consulate for your E-1 visa.

How to apply if you’re outside the US

A lengthier procedure that begins with an application or Form DS-160. Save the confirmation page before you pay the application fee. Save the receipt for that, as well. Then schedule an interview that you’ll have at the US Embassy and keep the visa appointment letter safe.

For this next step, bring with you:

  • Confirmation page, visa appointment letter, and receipt
  • Passport and regulation photo
  • Form DS-156E
  • Employer’s letter describing your role and its essential nature
  • Other proof of the substantial amount of principal trade that will take place in the US
  • Evidence that you intend to go back, such as leases and property deeds

E-1 Visa Processing Time

Aside from how much load the USCIS or the US Embassy may have, ordinarily, the E-1 visa processing time falls between two to four weeks. It begins once you apply for the said visa.

How Long is an E-1 Visa Valid For?

Your Visa E1 has an initial validity of 2 years after which, you must either apply for an extension or return to your homeland. For those eligible for an extension, you may leave the US and come back for automatic renewal of your visa. However, most cases require the visa holder to apply for an extension.

Can an E-1 Visa Holder Obtain an Extension?

Since there isn’t a limit on the number of extensions you can get, begin by filing Forms I-129 and I-539 (for accompanying dependents), and E supplement. With these will go:

  1. Copies of Forms I-94 and I-797, and passport and E-1 visa
  2. Employer’s written explanation about the extension
  3. Copies of income tax returns for the previous two years – both your personal and US business

What About Family Members?

Like with most visas, your spouse and kids younger than 21 may come with you. While they can have a nationality different than yours, they must prove how they’re related to you. So, for instance, your partner submits the marriage certificate while the kids must have their birth certificates. Your family members can work or study. For the former, they’ll need an EAD.

Your family can stay with you if you extend your stay. They must send in the Form I-539, though. If you get a green card, they can, too.

Can an E-1 Visa Holder Obtain a Green Card?

The road from an E1 Visa to Green Card is difficult. That’s because, like the H-3 visa, you get the E-1 by proving you don’t intend to stay or settle in the US. With that stated, there are ways to get around the complication. For instance, an employer can sponsor you so you may obtain an H-1B visa. You may apply for the green card easily then.

Permanent resident family members can also help. Or, you may either claim EB-1 status or file a National Interest Waiver (NIW).

Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!

What is E1 Visa? You’ll get the best answer to that when you contact LA’s best immigration lawyer. Since the criteria for this visa type are essential to meet but difficult to remember, we’d recommend getting in touch asap!

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