Carry on substantial trade with the US? Consider an E-1 visa

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E visas are for traders and investors from countries with whom the U.S. has an existing treaty of commerce and navigation. An E-1 “treaty trader” visa could be a great way to work temporarily in the United States.

The first step is to determine whether your home country is among the State Department’s treaty countries list. Assuming it is, you will need to show that you conduct substantial trade in goods, services or technology between the U.S. and your country of nationality.

You generally apply for an E-1 treaty trader visa from your home country at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy. However, if you are already in the U.S., a U.S. company can also request a change of status for you to the E-1 classification. Bear in mind that these are nonimmigrant visas, so they don’t allow you to apply for lawful permanent residence or citizenship in the U.S.

Qualifications for an E-1 visa for a treaty trader or employee

To qualify for an E-1 treaty trader visa, you will need to demonstrate that:

  • You are a national of a country with whom the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
  • You carry on substantial trade in goods, services or technology
  • Your principal trade is between the U.S. and your country of nationality

However, some employees of treaty traders can also get E-1 classification. To qualify as an employee of a treaty trader, you will need to demonstrate that:

  • You are the same nationality as the treaty trader
  • You meet the definition of “employee” under relevant law
  • You engage in duties of an executive or supervisory position or, if not, that you have special qualifications.

Once you have confirmed that your country is on the State Department’s treaty countries list, you get started by submitting Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to the USCIS. You can submit this, or your employer can submit it for you. You will need to pay a filing fee and submit evidence that you meet the qualifications for an E-1 visa.

If you are interested in working in the United States, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people find and obtain the right visas.