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E1 Visa

The E1 Visa allows individuals, or employees of companies, to enter the U.S. for the purpose of carrying out international trade.

The definition of “trade” is not strict. It may apply to the trade of goods, of services, and even banking. There is no set limit to the amount of trade that must take place, although greater emphasis is placed on the number of transactions over total value.

An E1 visa may also cover immediate family (legal spouse and unmarried children under 21). The spouse of the visa holder is permitted to work, but children are not.

E1 Visa Requirements

E1 visa for treaty traders
  • The visa holder must show they intend to engage in “substantial trade”, which is not strictly defined.
  • At least 50% of the volume of trade carried out must be between the United States and the designated treaty country (“principal trade”).
  • The trade could be in the form of physical movement of goods, transportation, or non-physical services, including banking and insurance, tourism, technology, or journalism.
  • The visa holder must be a national of one of the treaty countries (this requirement does not apply to family members).
  • As with other US Visa terms, the applicant should be prepared to provide evidence that they intend to return to their home country at the end of the visa period (although see note on extensions below.

E1 Visa Terms

Length of Stay

The E1 visa grants a stay of up to two years. Provided the conditions are still met, the initial stay may be followed by extensions of up to two years. There is no limit to the number of extensions.

The treaty trader or employee may travel out of the U.S. and will get an automatic 2-year extension upon re-admission.

However, note that the additional readmission extension is not granted to family members automatically, so they should be careful to keep track of their length of stay and be sure to apply for extensions to remain in U.S. lawfully at the appropriate time.

Restriction on Employment

An E-1 trader or employee is only allowed to work in the activity for which they were approved for when the visa was issued. However, if their employer has a parent company it may be possible for them to work for that organization.

E1 Employees

It is also possible for employees to come to the United States under an E1 visa for the purposes of trade, provided they meet the following conditions:

  • The employee must be a citizen or national of the treaty nation.
  • They must be in a managerial or supervisory role that requires specialist skills or knowledge.
  • The employer must either be in the United States on a current E1 visa, or, if the employer is outside the U.S., it must be proved that they could meet the conditions of E1 qualification.

Attorney Tips on E1 Visas

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Alternative Options

People who are considering applying for a B1 visa may also look into:

Green Cards

  • Additionally, if you have US$500,000 or more to invest, it may be worth considering going directly for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Green Card.
  • The EB1-1 “Extraordinary Ability” visa, can be available to applicants who can prove exceptional and sustained success in their particular field.
  • Either the EB2 (employment-based exceptional ability) or EB3 (skilled, professional, or other worker) may also be applicable.

Contact Online Visas today to arrange your visa strategy session with one of our immigration attorneys, who will be happy to help you navigate your options.

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