What is E-1 visa?
It is a Treaty Trader visa classified as nonimmigrant, which allows a foreign national of a treaty nation to come and stay in the U.S. and carry out a “substantial trade.” Normally, the treaty nation maintains an agreement for commerce and navigation with the United States. There is no exact criterion about the minimum level of trade that may be considered substantial trade, however, the business must be existing and continually conduct a number of international trade as a Treaty Trader. The trade refers to all commercial transactions in trade and industry preferably in the international banking industry, insurance, transportation, tourism, communications, data processing, advertising, engineering, consulting services, technology transfer, and other quantifiable services that require the exchange of goods and services in the course of international trade.
E-1 visa qualifications and privileges
The petitioner may qualify for E-1 visa if:
- Petitioner is a bona fide resident of a treaty nation who will direct importation and exportation business between the treaty country and the United States;
- Petitioner is an employee of the national of a treaty country holding the position as an executive, manager, or supervisory function or in a lower position with specialized skills;
- The foreign national should at least own 50 percent of the stocks of the company whose company bears the nationality of the treaty country.
E-1 visa holder shall have the following privileges:
- To be able to work legally in a U.S. company where more than 50 percent of the business is conducted between the U.S. and the treaty country.
- To be able to stay in the U.S. longer by extending the visa every after two years for as long as you maintain your qualifications under E-1 visa qualifications.
- The petitioner can bring his spouse and children below 21 years old along to the U.S. The children can study in the U.S., while the spouse may work with authority from the U.S. government by filing Form I-765.
E-1 visa: Application Procedure
For individuals currently residing in the U.S. under lawful nonimmigrant status, the petitioner may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-1 visa category or the employer may file Form I-129 in behalf of the employee.
- For individual currently residing abroad, the petitioner must apply with the US Consulate Office for E-1 visa.
Period of Stay
Qualified treaty traders and employees are allowed a maximum of two years stay in the U.S. However, before the two-year period expires, the petitioner may file for a extension. Extension may be granted every after 2 years without limit as to the number of times. After the term, the petitoner may be granted reentry for another 2 years without having to apply form I-129. It is however, required that petitioner maust maintain an intention to leave the U.S. upom termination of the visa.
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