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E1 VISA FOR TREATY TRADERS

The E-1 Treaty Traders visa classification allows qualifying foreign nationals to enter the U.S. to conduct trade between the U.S. and their home country.  It is appropriate for executives, managers, or specialists in a treaty nation company operating in the U.S., as well as citizens of a treaty trade country involved in international trade. This visa was designed for those in the field of international trade who are hoping to work on trade relations in the United States.

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LEGAL FEE

Our fee structure is unique to us as we strive to tailor our services for each client individually. We adapt price standards that are capable of fluctuating for each client depending on their unique needs. Clients may retain us for one or all of the above steps/services.

Our typical fee for a standard E-1 case is $6,000, not including, governmental fee and third-party extensions.  We are happy to customize a proposal for you during a consultation and walk you through what a standard E-1 case looks like.  Please see below for more information. 

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CASE PROCESSING OVERVIEW

Step 1: Strategy Session for E-1 Visa

This is the most crucial step for your entire E-1 Visa. We will review all of the supporting documents to create a strategy, a customized checklist, and a timeline to serve as the guiding foundation for the entire case preparation.

Step 2: Prepare and Submit E-1 Application to USCIS and Answer Potential Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)

Our attorneys will craft your E-1 arguments and complete all forms, organize supporting documents and assemble the crafted arguments into the proper application formats.

Step 3: Prepare Client for Interview in the US or at the Consulate

It all comes down to this. We help guide the client in his/her preparation for the interview with USCIS by simulating the interview and ensuring the client is well-versed in the application material.  Our services include a comprehensive strategy for answering inquiries posed, practice questions, thorough feedback, and other tools to help clients succeed during the interviews.

Step 4: Respond to Consulate Requests / Administrative Processing / Status Checks / Fraud Alerts

After the interview, we will help formulate possible responses from the USCIS, from additional document requests to revised applications, to fraud alerts.  It is about keeping close tabs with the USCIS. 

Step 5: Arrival is Only The Beginning

Our services do not end when you receive your E-1 Approval, and that this step is just the beginning.  To help accommodate this reality, we provide guidance over:

  • CBP – Airport Arrival
  • Dependent Visas/Work Permits
  • Reentry Permits
  • and more!

Step 6: Continued Corporate Guidance

Securing the initial E-1 approval is not everything. Many businesses failed to secure E-1 extensions and had to leave the United States. We are here to help you stay qualified for all your extension needs. Our Corporate Counsel services include:

  • Contract/Agreement Drafting
  • Due Diligence/Background Check
  • Strategic Business Planning
  • Market Research Analysis
  • LLC & C Corp Incorporation
  • Mediation & Conflict Resolution
  • and more!
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Checklist of Required Evidence

E-1 Proof of Nationality of Investor or Applicant

  • Photocopy of passport biographical page

E-1 Ownership Documents (either A, B or C):

  • Sole Proprietorship:
    • Business registration documents
  • Partnership:
    • Partnership or joint venture agreement
    • Shares/stock certificates indicating total shares issued and outstanding shares
  • Corporation:
    • Shares/stock certificates indicating distribution of ownership, i.e. shares held by each firm and shares held by individual owners
    • Corporate matrix
    • If publicly traded on the principal stock exchange of a treaty country, enclose a sample of recently published stock quotations

E-1 Trade

  • Purchase orders
  • Bills of lading
  • Sales contracts/contracts for services
  • Letters of credit
  • Carrier inventories
  • Trade brochures
  • Insurance papers documenting commodities imported into the U.S.
  • Accounts receivable and accounts payable ledgers
  • Client lists
  • Other documents showing international trade is substantial and that at least 51% of the trade is between U.S. and the treaty country. Documents should also show that trade supports an ongoing business entity in the treaty country.

E-1 Executive/Managerial/Supervisory/Essential Skills

  • Letter from the E-visa enterprise providing specific information on the applicant and the reasons for his/her assignment to the U.S. The letter should explain the employee’s role in the E-visa company (job title and duties), the applicant’s executive or supervisory responsibilities or, if not a supervisor, his/her specialist role, the level of education and knowledge required by the employee’s position, his/her employment experience, progression of promotion or high level training or special qualifications and the reasons why a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident cannot fill the position (if the position is not managerial or supervisory).
  • Letter from responsible official at U.S. Company or office identifying the need for assigned employee.
  • Organizational chart showing current staffing pattern at U.S. Company.
  • Evidence of executive, supervisory or specialized knowledge, education, experience, skills or training, such as certificates, diplomas or transcripts.

Filing Fee

The updated filing fee for E-1 can be found here.

Eligibility for E-1 Visa

Requirements:

      1. Applicant must be a citizen of a treaty country;
      2. Trading firm applicant is representing must have the nationality of the treaty country, such that persons with the treaty country’s nationality must own at least 50 percent of the enterprise;
      3. Substantial international trade, such that there is a sizable and continuous volume of trade;
      4. More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the United States and the treaty country;
      5. Trade involves the international exchange of goods, services, and technology; the title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other;
      6. Applicant must be an essential employee employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. 

Limitations:

      1. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify;
      2. E-1 Visa holders may only engage in employment that is consistent with the terms and conditions of the activities forming the basis for their status.

Terms and Conditions of E-1 Status

A treaty trader or employee may only work in the activity for which he or she was approved at the time the classification was granted.  An E-1 employee, however, may also work for the treaty organization’s parent company or one of its subsidiaries as long as the:

  • Relationship between the organizations is established;
  • Subsidiary employment requires executive, supervisory, or essential skills; and
  • Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.

See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(8)(ii) for details.

USCIS must approve any substantive change in the terms or conditions of E-1 status.  A “substantive change” is defined as a fundamental change in the employer’s basic characteristics that would affect the alien’s eligibility for E classification, such as, but not limited to

  •  a merger;
  • Acquisition;
  • sale of the division where the alien is employed; or
  • other event that affects the treaty trader or employee’s previously approved relationship with the treaty enterprise. 

Where there has been such a substantive change, the treaty trader or enterprise, if it wishes to continue to employ the alien in E-1 status, must notify USCIS by filing a new Form I-129 with fee, and may simultaneously request an extension of stay for the treaty trader or affected employee. The petition must include evidence to show that the treaty trader or affected employee continues to qualify for E-1 classification.  An employer who no longer employs an E-1 nonimmigrant is urged to inform USCIS of this upon termination of the E-1 nonimmigrant’s employment.

A treaty trader is not required to file a new Form I-129 to notify USCIS about non-substantive changes. A treaty trader or E-1 employee enterprise may seek advice from USCIS, however, to determine whether a change is considered substantive. To request advice, the treaty trader or enterprise must file Form I-129 with fee and a complete description of the change.

See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(8) for more information on terms and conditions of E-1 treaty trader status.

A strike or other labor dispute involving a work stoppage at the intended place of employment may affect a Canadian or Mexican treaty trader or employee’s ability to obtain E-1 status. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(22) for details.

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SAMPLE & TEMPLATES

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Attorney Brief:  [coming soon] We will provide an attorney brief sample for the E-1 petition.

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Cover Letter: [coming soon] We will also provide a cover letter sample for the E-1 petition.

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Sample Request for Evidence: [coming soon] Requests for evidence can be used to strengthen the case.

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Forms: Here is a list of the forms that are needed by USCIS

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Sample Checklist: [coming soon] We look at the client’s unique situation and create customized checklists to strengthen their cases.

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USCIS Fee Calculator: This is to help calculate how much the filing fee will be.

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USCIS Mailing Address: This address is where it is mailed to USCIS.

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USCIS Processing Timetable: This will help you figure out how long it will take to process.

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ASC Field Offices: Listed are the addresses of the field offices for the bio-metrics.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the maximum total amount of time permitted in E-1 status?

Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay in, or changes of status to, E-1 classification may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted. All E-1 nonimmigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.

An E-1 nonimmigrant who travels abroad may generally be granted, if determined admissible by a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Officer, an automatic two-year period of readmission when returning to the United States.

Can I gain E-1 Visa status as a self-employed professional?

You can as long as you also employ other people. The principal applicant should be going to the USA to ‘develop and direct’ his/her business. Thus accountants, IT consultants, doctors, lawyers, etc, can obtain E2 and E1 visa status to enable themselves to practice their profession in the USA as long as they eventually create employment for other people as well.

What is the minimum amount of trade needed to qualify?

There is no set minimum level, though obviously the lower the amount of trade or investment the less likely it is that the application will succeed. The amount necessary will also depend on the type of business or trade engaged in.

Can I bring my family to the U.S. under E-1 Visa?

Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee. These family members may seek E-1 nonimmigrant classification as dependents and, if approved, generally will be granted the same period of stay as the employee. If the family members are already in the United States and seeking a change of status to or extension of stay in an E-1 dependent classification, they may apply by filing a single Form I-539 with fee. Spouses of E-1 workers may apply for work authorization by filing Form I-765 with fee.  If approved, there is no specific restriction as to where the E-1 spouse may work. 

As discussed above, the E-1 treaty trader or employee may travel abroad and will generally be granted an automatic two-year period of admission when returning to the United States. Unless the family members are accompanying the E-1 treaty trader or employee at the time the latter seeks admission to the United States, the new readmission period will not apply to the family members. To remain lawfully in the United States, family members must carefully note the period of stay they have been granted in E-1 status and apply for an extension of stay before their own validity expires.

Can E-1 visa dependants work?

E-1 dependents can now obtain general work authorization. This work authorization must be applied for separately, though.

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SCHEDULE A SESSION

Call or email us to set up your 1-hour consultation. Easily pay the $250 consultation fee over the phone or through our email link. If you would like to have a quick chat with our team before setting up the consultation, feel free to use the calendar on the right to book your 10 minute call.

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