The E-1 visa
is designated for foreign nationals who are coming to the United States to engage in substantial trade. Additionally, the foreign national must be a citizen of a county with which the United States has a free-trade treaty or is a signatory to a Bilateral Investment Treaty.
An E-1 visa allows foreign nationals to come to the U.S. and participate in substantial trade that is principally (more than 50%) between the U.S. and foreign national’s country of citizenship. Traditionally, the term “trade” has been used in connection with the exchange, sale or purchase of tangible goods, but recently, it has been expanded to include services and the transfer of technology.
In order to qualify for an E-1 visa:
- The applicant’s company must be at least 50% owned by foreign nationals from the treaty country;
- The applicant’s company must engage in substantial trade between the United States and the treaty country;
- The applicant must be a citizen of a country that has entered into the requisite treaty with the United States;
- The applicant’s company must trade principally between the United States and the treaty country; and
- The applicant’s company must employ the applicant in a supervisory or executive position or a position that requires skills essential to the operation of the business
Family members of E Visa holders are given special privileges. Spouses of E visa holders are eligible for employment authorization by applying through the USCIS. Children of E visa holders cannot gain work authorization, but may attend school without switching their status.
Periods of stay are granted anywhere between 2 to 5 years with unlimited renewals possible.