E-1 Visa Guide
If you are not a native of the United States and wish to work in the country, it is likely that you will need a visa. There are many categories of visas for temporary workers, but today we will talk specifically about the E-1 visa and how you can get one.
What is the E-1 visa for?
The E visa category is designed to promote business trades and investments between the United States and other participating countries. Currently, there are more than 50 countries that maintain such relations with the United States, giving the opportunity to live and work in the U.S to many people. Unfortunately, this visa is restricted to the Treaty Countries, thus, citizens from countries like Brazil, India, and China are not able to apply yet.
Who can apply for the E-1 visa?
The E-1 visa, also called Treaty Trader visa, is recommended to individuals, companies, or employees that wish to enter the United States to handle international trade. The term “trade” can be subjective, since it may refer to trading services, goods, international banking, management, insurance, tourism, transportation, technology, communications, and many other subjects.
Is there a specific type or amount of trade required for the E-1 visa?
There is no specification regarding the type of product or service your trade involves, as long as there is a relation of import/export between your country and the U.S..The regulations also do not specify a minimum (or maximum) amount of trade that must happen to qualify for an E-1 visa, as it varies based on the industry of your choice. However, the amount of trading must be considered substantial, meaning that the trade must be done in bulk.
Who is eligible to apply for an E-1 visa?
- Be a national citizen of a country that has a treaty trade with the U.S.;
- Be involved with international trade. That is, dealing with imports and exports of products or services between your country of nationality and the United States;
- Carry large amounts of trade of products or services to and from the U.S. or have a trade with a substantial value;
- Have a continuous trade relation of your products or services between your country of nationality and the U.S.;
- Have principal trade between the trader’s treaty country and the United States;
- Be an immediate family member of the main E-1 visa holder.
How long can I stay in the United States on an E-1 visa?
The E-1 visa is valid for two years. After this period, you can return to your home country or you can request an extension, which, if approved, will last for another two years. Currently, there is no limit on how many extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted, however, you should always maintain an intention to depart the U.S. when your visa expires.
Can I bring my family on an E-1 visa?
Yes, you can bring your family, as long as they are immediate family members. This includes spouses and unmarried children under 21 years old, they have the right to apply for the E-1 visa at the same time as the primary holder or afterward.
What are the requirements to apply for the E-1 visa for immediate family members?
To apply as a dependent, it is mandatory to demonstrate a relationship with the primary E-1 visa holder, which includes documents like birth and marriage certificates. Your dependents are going to be able to stay with you during the length of your stay and they will have the right to pursue educational programs or work.
It is important to highlight that with this visa only the spouse is allowed to work, and only after applying for Employment Authorization. The children are solely permitted to attend school, college, university, or other educational programs.
Are there any travel restrictions?
No, there aren’t any travel restrictions on the E-1 visa. You may travel in and out of the United States as many times as necessary during the period of validity of your visa.
How do I apply for an E-1 visa?
If you are outside the United States, you must apply through a U.S. Embassy. In that case, you should (generally) observe the following steps:
- File form DS-160 electronically.
- Pay application fees.
- Schedule a visa interview.
- Organize required documents.
- Attend the interview.
If you are already in the United States, you must file an I-129 petition with the USCIS, in order to change your status to E-1 status. Regardless of your circumstance, it is beneficial to have the assistance of an Immigration Attorney to guide you through your process. If you want to learn more, please click here.
How long does it take to receive an E-1 visa?
The processing time of a visa request may vary depending on your circumstance, lasting up to six months. If you don’t have time to wait, there is also the premium processing option, which allows USCIS to process your application in 15 days. If you want to learn more, click here (link to article about premium processing).
Can I apply for a Green Card through an E-1 visa?
Currently, having an E-1 visa does not directly lead to permanent residency, since you will constantly have to prove your intention of returning to your home country. However, it is not impossible, it all depends on your particular case. If you are interested in applying for a permanent residency and want to better understand what steps you should take, please feel free to contact us. Our office will make sure that you receive the best and most personalized consultation available, from anywhere in the world. If you are interested in learning more, please click here.
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