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Do you need to learn more about an E-1 Visa and your options? You’ve come to the right place. Obtaining an E-1 Visa can mean the difference in continuing your livelihood by being allowed to run your business and temporarily live in the US and running into problems each time you enter or exit the US.

You can work with an experienced immigration attorney in order to obtain an E-1 Visa. This relationship will allow you the confidence to know that you have effectively handled the process and can provide peace of mind so you can continue to conduct business as usual in the US. Contact my office at 407-499-5680 to answer your specific questions and learn more about how I can help you.

WHAT IS AN E-1 VISA?

An E-1 Visa is an agreement that allows someone (sometimes called “treaty traders”) to work in the US and carry out substantial trade transactions with individuals or businesses between their original country and the US. The definition of substantial trade can vary between industries, but it can be defined as trading done continuously and in bulk between one country and another. Some examples of industries that are common are banking, communication, transportation, insurance, management, and more.

The treaty trader must be from an E-1 Visa country with which the US has an existing trade and investment treaty in place. The list of applicable countries is currently vast, but their status can change over time, so it is best to confirm that the country you are hoping to conduct business from is, in fact, a treaty country.

WHY DO I NEED AN E-1 VISA?

There are many reasons why obtaining an E-1 Visa is appealing to treaty traders. It can allow for more accessible travel between the US and your country to allow you to conduct business. It will enable you to work in the US legally. You can renew the E-1 Visa indefinitely for up to two years at a time. You can apply for your spouse and dependent children to qualify for E-1 status, making them eligible for work and education in the US. You can also apply for fellow employees on the specialist or executive/managerial level to obtain an E-1 Visa and conduct business with you or on your behalf.

WHAT ARE THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN AN E-1 VISA?

A long list of requirements must be established to qualify for an E-1. An experienced attorney will have a vast knowledge of these requirements and can help you to gather what is necessary for an effective application. Below is a list of some of the items that are required.

You must explicitly demonstrate that you play a vital role (managerial, executive, owner) in the business that you will be working in trades with the US. This proof can be accomplished with sufficient evidence of employment, an explanation of your current role within the business, special qualifications you may have obtained, and more.

The trade will need to be specified between the country of origin and the US. This can be proven by showing that 50% or more of the volume of international trade will be with the US.

The trade will be substantial both in the number of transactions that occur and in the volume or dollar amount to which these transactions will equate.

The work conducted must be considered trade, meaning that a meaningful international exchange will occur, including qualifying commodities such as goods, services, or money. Furthermore, there must be proof of existing trade between the business the trader works with or the trader themselves and the US.

Citizens of a trade treaty country must own at least 50% of the company they are employed by.

You must provide sufficient evidence that you plan to leave the US upon your E-1 visa’s termination.

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WHAT DOCUMENTATION IS REQUIRED TO APPLY?

Below is a list of some of the most common items required when applying for an E-1 Visa. This list can vary based on each individual’s circumstances, and by working with an experienced attorney, they can assist you in gathering the documents necessary based on your specific case.

Information regarding the nature of the business that you work with must be provided. Things like the company’s scope, what type of business is conducted, who the owners and key players are in the business, and more.

Providing evidence of existing substantial trade, such as business plans, balance sheets, existing and prior contracts, current and past inventory reports, and current and past invoices.

Provide proof of your intention to return to your country of origin upon your E-1 visa’s termination. This can be accomplished by providing a property deed or a declaration letter which your attorney can work with you to create.

A US Company Support Statement thoroughly explains why trade is necessary and why your services/goods are essential to continue a profitable business.

In addition to this general list are things like a receipt proving that the fees for the application have been paid, a valid passport, a valid photo, and more are generally required.

WHAT DOES THE PROCESS INVOLVE?

You can work with your attorney to determine which of the above documents are relevant to your application. They will also work with you to complete the necessary paperwork and can file it on your behalf. You will then schedule an interview with a consular officer or US Embassy official, which your attorney can help you to prepare for in terms of what to expect. You will likely be asked various questions about your business, your personal background, your plans to travel back and forth to conduct business, and your plans to exit the US upon the termination of your visa. The time it takes for this process from start to finish can vary, but you can expect about a month of lead time before you get your E-1 visa, if approved.

Your initial E-1 visa is valid for two years, and you can file unlimited extensions provided you still meet the requirements and are eligible as an international trader.

Employees or family members of eligible E-1 visa holders can also apply to live and work legally in the US. If approved, employees or families (classified as dependents of the trader) are generally granted the same period of stay as the original E-1 visa holder. They can also file for extensions as necessary to remain in the US longer than two years.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY?

Why hire an attorney? The process to obtain an E-1 Visa can be overwhelming with the amount of information required of you to provide, the documents that need to be gathered, and the interview that is held. Mistakes can easily be made that can cost you time and money during the application process.

Learning how to differentiate between what is necessary based on your specific situation is also a vital role of your attorney, as no two cases are the same, and what is required of you may not be necessary for the next person based on the type of trade or industry that you are working within.

Relying on a trusted and experienced E-1 visa lawyer can mean the difference between you obtaining an E-1 Visa in a timely fashion, and being denied, which can lead to unfortunate setbacks in timelines for you and your business. Contact our office today at 407-499-5680 to discuss your specific details. We can put together a plan that will work for you and help you obtain your E-1 visa promptly. We look forward to your call.

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