E-1 Treaty Trader Visas
E-1 Treaty Trader Visas are available to people who will enter the US solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the US and the foreign country of which the person is a national. The US and the trader's home country must have a ratified treaty of ““friendship, commerce, and navigation,”” or have some other diplomatic agreement that allows for treaty trader status. At least 50% of the ownership of the trading firm must be in the hands of nationals of the visa applicant's home country. To be eligible for an E-1 visa the person should be an owner, manager, executive, or hold an ““essential”” position within the company. The applicant must also be a national of the treaty country. Some of the most important requirements for an E-1 visa include the following:
_ The trading company must be ““trading.”” ““Trading”” can include the exchange, purchase, or sale of goods or services, as long as the goal of the trade is the development of international commercial trade between the US and the treaty country.
_ The trading must involve an actual exchange of qualifying commodities (including goods, services, or money) and the consideration must be traceable or identifiable.A transfer of title must pass from the trader of one nationality to the trader of the other.
_ Trade between the foreign company and the US must already exist. The visa applicant should be prepared to document existing and past contractual trade relationships.
_ The trading company must be engaged in ““substantial”” trade with the US. The visa applicant must show numerous transactions over time and a significant monetary value of business. There is no statutory minimum amount of trade, but the visa applicant should at least be able to show the volume of trade is enough to support the business as well as the visa applicant and his or her family. Consulates are cautioned, however, not to deny visas to small business people so long as there is continuing trade between the US and the treaty country.
_ Over 50 percent of the total volume of the company’’s trade must be between the US and the treaty country.
Applications for E-1 visas are made directly to the US consulate and not through the INS, unless the applicant is in the US in another visa status and seeks to change to an E-1 visa. Each consulate has its own version of an E visa questionnaire form and most require extensive documentation accompanying the application. The length of time the visa will be issued is determined by agreements between the US and the Treaty country. Visas may not be issued for more than five years, but they may be renewed continuously without a limit on stay in E-1 status. Spouses and children of E-1s are entitled to visas as well. E-1 family members will not be deported because they accept employment, but they will be considered out of status and ineligible to change status in the US.Without section 245(i) they will not be able to adjust status in the US.