Do you and your company want to trade goods and/or services with the U.S.? Does your company want you to travel to the U.S. to conduct trade and business with U.S. companies and corporations?
If you answered “Yes” to the questions above, the E-1 visa might be the right choice for you! Before proceeding further in this chapter, however, it would be best for the reader to ensure that his or her country qualifies and is on the list of countries designated by the U.S. as one whose citizens are eligible for an E-1 visa (see Appendix 4). In other words, there are several countries’ nationals who are not eligible, mainly because their country does not currently have an E visa trade treaty with the U.S.
Now that you’ve checked the above-mentioned list and verified that your country is on it, let’s start with some good news. International traders from Treaty countries may be able to apply for an E-1 visa to enter the U.S. to participate in substantial trade transactions! Over two trillion dollars’ (U.S.) worth of foreign goods and services were traded last year (U.S. Census Bureau,2016), and America, “the land of opportunity,” continues to inspire more and more international traders to do business with American companies and corporations. If you are one of those who have an interest in doing business and trade in America, this chapter will explain what you need to do to get the appropriate visa.
WHAT DOES A TREATY TRADER VISA APPLICANT NEED TO SHOW?
Proof that the applicant is a national of a Treaty country;
That he or she does not have the intent of permanently living in the U.S. (this can be
documented by proof of a foreign residence that the applicant has no interest in abandoning, as well as ties to the foreign country, such as family members, a job, bank accounts, social relationships, etc.);
Documentation that the nationality of the trading firm for which the applicant is traveling
to the U.S. is a Treaty country—this includes documenting ownership information.
o Lists of investors with current status and nationality;
o Company stock certificates;
o Certificate of ownership issued by the commercial section of a foreign embassy;
o Reports from a certified public accountant (CPA).
Evidence of "substantial" international trade between the U.S. and the country of the applicant; i.e., must be a considerable and ongoing volume of commerce between the foreign company and the United States company.
The following documents are considered by Immigration in making a determination whether trade exists between the countries:
o Bills of lading;
o Customs receipts;
o Letter of credit;
o Trade brochures;
o Purchase orders and/or insurance papers documenting commodities imported;
o Carrier inventories and/or sales contracts.
More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the U.S. and
the country of the applicant's nationality:
o Trade should be for international exchange of goods, services, and/or technology and title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
Proof that the applicant is a supervisor or executive of the firm or have highly specialized
skills, which are vital to running the company. Proof such as:
o Certificates, diplomas or transcripts; Letters from employers describing job titles, duties, operators' manuals, and the required level of education and knowledge.
Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
CAN MY SPOUSE AND CHILDREN ACCOMPANY ME TO THE U.S. ON AN E-1 VISA?
Yes, your spouse and children under the age of twenty-one can accompany you as dependents.
CAN MY SPOUSE AND/OR CHILDREN LEGALLY WORK/STUDY IN THE UNITED STATES WHILE STAYING WITH ME IN THE U.S. ON AN E-1 VISA?
Yes, your spouse and children can work in the U.S. upon receipt of employment authorization. Your children can also study in the U.S.
HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE U.S. WITH AN E-1 VISA?
The initial period of entry granted by Immigration is generally for two (2) years. If an extension is filed and granted, it is usually in 2-year increments. There are no limits to the extensions for an E-1 visa.
If you are a national of a country that qualifies for the E-1 Treaty Trader program, you can establish your business in the United States and can continue doing so for many years, especially because you are allowed to indefinitely extend your visa. Remember, the E-1 visa requires anon-immigrant intent, which means you should not have intended to permanently live in the United States. Your spouse and children under the age of twenty-one can accompany you, and they are eligible to work after they obtain employment authorization from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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