Any person wishing to engage in trade with the United States should first apply for an E-1 visa. The E-1 visa, also known as a Treaty Trader visa, is also necessary for foreign employees of firms that trade, even if the employee him- or herself does not do the actual trading.
Before an individual attempts to file for an E-1 visa on their own, it is vital to contact a law firm that specializes in immigration law. They will go over all of the employment and company details as well as treaty status with the country of origin. They will help to file paperwork and will handle any issues that may arise.
Being eligible for a visa of any type has a great many requirements that can be difficult to understand. This is particularly true for E-1 visas because they rely entirely on the nature of work that is being carried out by the individual and/or the company for which the emploee
The person seeking an E-1 Visa must be employed by a company that does at least half of its trade with that person’s home country. Furthermore, the employee must play a vital role in the company’s day-to-day operations. While he or she does not have to be directly involved in trade, he or she must be integral to the operation of the company.
Individuals who are self-employed but working in the United States may hold an E-1 visa if they are doing trade with their home country. That individual may be a co-owner in a business, but must own at least half of the company.
If an employee works for a company that is owned 50 percent or more by that individual’s home country, the sponsor company owners may need to apply for E-1 visas as well. This may be true whether or not the owners live within the United States.
The employee’s home country must have an E-1 treaty trader agreement with the United States. Those countries are listed below.
E-1 Visa Features
The visa allows holders to work in the United States as long as they continue employment with the firm. If that firm’s trade with the visa holder’s country drops below 50 percent, he or she may no longer be eligible to hold the E-1 visa. This is not generally an issue, as viability of the company is a key factor in deciding the initial term of the visa.
The time frame for the E-1 visa varies depending on the agreement between the US and the employee’s home country. Visas are generally valid for two to five years. However, visas may be extended at the time of their expiration. Visas may be extended indefinitely as long as all eligibility requirements are met each time the visa is up for renewal.
Family members of the visa holder, including spouse and unmarried children, are also allowed residency with the E-1 visa. Same-sex partners are allowed residency only as long as partners are legally married. Civil unions and domestic partnerships are not covered by this visa.
Spouses may apply for work permits upon their arrival in the United States. Children may not.
Ease of Obtaining E-1 Visa
The US Government does not limit the number of E-1 visas issues each year. Because of this, visas are somewhat easily acquired as long as the individual is able to prove need. However, proof can be difficult, especially if the employee is unsure of the E-1 status of the company and company owners. Likewise, treaty status can change, which can affect an E-1 visa. This is why an immigration lawyer is important. These lawyers focus all of their efforts on knowing the ins and outs of visas so that no eligible individual is turned away.
Once an E-1 visa is obtained, an immigration lawyer is also necessary for renewal. An eligible employee can be turned away simply for having incorrect documents. A seasoned immigration lawyer makes sure that doesn’t happen.
Only those individuals from participating countries may qualify for an E-1 Visa. These countries include:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
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