The E-1 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (Please see below for the list of eligible countries) to be admitted to the United States to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
Qualifications of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:
But What’s The Definition of Trade, Substantial Trade & Principal Trade
USCIS defines Trade as the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country.
Substantial trade generally refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time. There is no minimum requirement regarding the monetary value or volume of each transaction. While monetary value of transactions is an important factor in considering substantiality, greater weight is given to more numerous exchanges of greater value.
Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists when over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the U.S. and the trader’s treaty country.
Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Trader
To qualify for E-1 classification, the employee of a treaty trader must meet the following:
If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining nonimmigrant treaty trader status.
Period of Stay
Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two or five years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-1 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
Family Members of E-1 Visa Holders
Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee. These family members may seek E-1 non-immigrant classification as dependents and will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. Additionally, spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization with no specific restriction as to where the E-1 spouse may work. E-1 visa holders, their employees and all family members may travel outside of United States at anytime while maintaining the E-1 Status.
The following countries have treaties with United States that allow qualifying nationals to apply for E-1 Treaty Trader Visa:
Ethiopia, Liberia, Togo, Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Brunei Darussalam, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Oman, Pakistan, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, and Suriname.
For more information on E-1 visas, contact Eikon Law to speak to an expert E visa lawyer.
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