E-1 Visa

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What Is an E-1 Visa ?

The E-1 Visa allows individuals, or employees of companies, from treaty countries to enter the U.S. to carry out international trade. Certain employees assisting the qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification. Treaty traders and their employees can also be accompanied by spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee here. The Spouses and children may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents (E-1S and E-1Y) and, if approved, can be granted the same period of stay as the employee.

What are the activities that fall under the term trade?

The term “trade” in the context of an E-1 visa isn’t defined clearly. It can be used for goods, services, or even banking. There is no stated limit on the amount of trade that must take place. However, it is seen that emphasis is given to the number of transactions rather than the total value.

Who Can Apply For An E-1 Visa?

Any international trader (of the treaty nation) or their senior employees who want to enter the United States to carry out the trade process should apply for an E-1 visa.

E-1 visa requirements for a trader

To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:

  • Be a national of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation or an international qualifying agreement, or which has been deemed a qualifying country by legislation;
  • Carry on substantial trade; and
  • Carry on principal trade meaning, at least 50% of the trade volume carried out must be between the United States and the designated treaty country.

E-1 visa for employees

To enter the United States as an employee of the qualifying organization-

  • You must be a citizen or a lawful national of the treaty country.
  • You must be in a managerial or supervisory role that requires special skills or knowledge.
  • The employer must either be in the United States on a current E-1 visa or, if the employer is outside the U.S., must prove that they could meet the conditions of E-1 qualification.

Reach out to our immigration lawyers to determine your eligibility.

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How to Apply for the E-1 Visa?

One can apply for an E-1 visa either from:

  • The U.S., through USCIS, or
  • From outside the U.S. through a U.S. Embassy

Within the U.S.

If the treaty trader is currently in the U.S. in a lawful nonimmigrant status, they may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1 classification. If the desired employee is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, the qualifying employer may file Form I-129 on the employee's behalf.

Outside the U.S.

If the person is outside of the U.S., one must apply through the U.S. Embassy in the home country. Applying from outside the U.S. is a lengthier procedure. It involves-

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Filing of Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application

Fill in the required information, and you will receive a confirmation page, which you will need for your paperwork later.

Paying the application fee.

The application fee for an E-1 visa is $205. Depending on your place of origin, you may be asked to pay additional expenses such as visa issuance fees or reciprocity fees.

Scheduling a visa interview

Due to the U.S. Embassy's heavy workload, the applicant should book the interview as soon as possible to prevent excessive delays. All visa applicants over the age of 13 and under the age of 80 must meet with a U.S. Embassy official for an interview. You will be given a visa appointment letter when you arrange your interview, which you must bring with you to the interview.

Submitting all the necessary documents

Gather a file of documents to bring with you to the interview:

  • A valid passport.
  • Proof of nationality of the company and that it belongs to a treaty trade country. (if you are an employee)
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  • One photograph adhering to U.S. Visa Photo Requirements
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Filled Form DS-156E, Treaty or Trader Investor Application
  • Receipts of the payment of fees
  • Visa appointment letter
  • Letter from your employer describing your job role and how you are an essential employee to international trade.
  • Proof of substantial trade
  • Evidence showing your intention to return to your home country.

Furnishing all the above documents isn't mandatory for each case. Hence, it's better to work with an attorney to avoid unnecessary complications.

How to apply for an E-2 visa?

To apply for an E-2 visa, one will need to arrange all the required signed documents accordingly and submit them. However, the filing of the application has two distinct procedures.

  • For those residing in the U.S. - Prospective applicants residing in the U.S. need to submit Form I-129 directly to the USCIS service center present in the U.S.
  • For those residing outside the U.S. - Needs to submit the requisite signed documents in the U.S. consular office in their respective jurisdiction.

The E-2 U.S. investor visa application documents most include;

  • DOS Form DS-160 (for nonimmigrant application).
  • DOS Form DS-156E ( for investor application or nonimmigrant treaty trader).
  • A photocopy of your passport, holding at least one blank place and validity of six months beyond the stay period in the United States.
  • A colored passport-style photo that clearly shows your face against a light color background.
  • An outline of a future business investment scheme.
  • A copy of the curriculum vitae.
  • Record of control and possession of investment funds.
  • Job listing of attaining a relevant administration position or possession of required skill to carry out the assigned operation fruitfully.
  • An inkling of the U.S. remittance.
    Evidence authentication the existence and legitimacy of business in the U.S.
  • Proof of sustainability.
  • Documents validating the investment.

The Law Offices Of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, can assist you with the cumbersome documentation process and help you avoid unnecessary delays.

Terms & Conditions

A treaty investor or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved when the classification was granted. An E-2 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization's parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:

  • Relationship between the organizations is established;
  • Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills; and
  • Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.

USCIS must approve any substantive change in the terms or conditions of E-2 status. A "substantive change" is defined as a fundamental change in the employer's basic characteristics that would affect the applicant's eligibility for E classification, such as, but not limited to:

  • A merger;
  • Acquisition;
  • Sale of the division where the foreign national is employed; or
  • Other events that affect the treaty investor or employee's previously approved relationship with the treaty enterprise.

Where there has been such a substantive change, the treaty investor or enterprise, if it wishes to continue to employ the foreign national in E-2 status, must notify USCIS by filing a new Form I-129 with fee, and may simultaneously request an extension of stay for the treaty investor or affected employee.

The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy, PLLC, can help you timely file your E-2 visa application. Because of the extensive more, it is apparent for one to forget a thing or the other while proceeding with the application. So it's advisable to have our experienced immigration attorneys by your side. For more information, contact The Law Offices of Prashanthi Reddy at prashanthi@reddyesq.com or by calling 212-354-1010.

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