You might qualify for an E-1 visa if you are a person from a treaty country and you plan to engage in substantial trade with the US or work for a company that does substantial trade with the US. If you come to US as an E-1 visa holder, your spouse and children may accompany you. Your spouse will have the right to work in the US during that period.
E-1 Visa General Qualifications:
- You must be from a qualifying treaty country,
- You must work for an E-1 qualifying company,
- You must either be an owner or key employee of such company, and
- Most of the company’s trade must be with the US.
To help you decide whether you qualify for an E-1 visa, our DC E-1 visa attorney is available for a phone consultation at 520.248.9139.
E-1 visas are available to citizens of selected countries that US has trade treaties with. For a complete and current list of treaty countries, please refer to the USCIS website.
E-1 Qualifying Company:
At least 50% of the company must be owned by citizens of your treaty country. The company may be owned by you or by others. The owners from the trade country must either live outside the US and be classifiable for the E-1 status, or live inside of the US with E-1 visas.
Your Role with the Company:
If you are not the majority owner of the company, you must be either an Executive, Supervisor, Manager, or Key Employee.
Executives and Supervisors: your main duties must be executive and supervisory with ultimate control and responsibility for the operation of at least a major part of the enterprise. You have a great authority in determining the policy and direction of the enterprise. You might be responsible for supervising a major portion of the enterprise’s operations. Generally, you are not involved in direct supervision of low-level employees. Your skills, experience, salary, and title should be similar to others in the same position.
Essential Employees: your skills do not need to be unique, but they should be indispensable to the success of the company and its operation. When deciding whether an employee as an Essential Employee, the USCIS will consider the following factors: the degree of expertise in the area of operations, degree of experience and training, the salary, time needed to train a worker to perform the job duties, whether US workers possess the same skills and aptitude, etc.
More Than 50% of the Company’s Trade Must Be Between the US and Your Home Country:
The general rule is that more than 50% of the company’s trade must be between the US and the treaty nation citizen’s home country. For example, if you are from France and you are in business of importing French wine to the US, more than 50% of your inventory must have been imported from France.
The definition of “trade” is broad and applies to import/export of tangible goods, as well as exchange of monies and services. Some examples of trade are insurance, international banking, communications, data processing, advertising, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology, and accounting.
“Substantial trade” is not defined by a numerical measure, but by a “continuous flow” of trade items between two countries. Each case is different and a lot is left to the discretion of the consulate officer. However, three things help to measure how substantial the trade is – dollar amount of trade, volume, and frequency. It is important to talk to your DC E-1 visa attorney if you are concerned about meeting the E-1 visa requirements.
- There is no specific sum and the amounts might differ greatly between different consulate requirements. A consular officer has the authority to require different amounts in different cases.
- Volume: the import/export trade must be enough to create a full-time business in US. If the company sells services, the volume of work should justify the E-1 visa holder and at least 1 worker.
- One shipment is not enough. Importation/exportation must be ongoing. There should be a full inventory at all times.
WHEN TO CONSULT WITH THE DC E-1 VISA ATTORNEY?
Every case has its own set of facts and circumstances. We can help you to determine your E-1 visa eligibility, collect all necessary documents, and help you make your case as strong as possible. We will guide you through the process, prepare the entire application, submit it to the proper agencies, and keep you appraised. Contact our office to schedule your consultation with our DC E-1 visa attorney today at 520.248.9139.