Companies in other countries often do business with U.S. organizations. If those countries have treaties with the U.S., nationals of those countries may be eligible for special visas called E-1 Treaty Traders. An E-1 allows certain nationals from treaty countries to enter the U.S. to trade, whether it be for banking, trade of goods, exchange of services or other industries.
At least 50% of the trade of the applicant’s country must occur with the U.S. Additionally, the amount of trade between your company and the business or individual in the treaty country must be substantial and continuous. If you are a U.S. business owner who wants to improve the success of your company by bringing a foreign national into the country to trade or invest for you, you will want to learn as much as you can about the intricate rules for E-1 visas.
In general, the international trader applying for an E-1 must be an executive or senior employee in the treaty country and have special skills or investments to contribute to your business. The employee must also be the same nationality as the treaty country, and the principal employer of the applicant must be the same nationality as the treaty country.
An E-1 applicant may also be an individual who works for a company or organization that has at least 50% ownership in the U.S. The U.S. owners must also be of the same nationality as the treaty country. Applicants will have to supply documentation to demonstrate these and other qualifications and submit to an interview and investigation before receiving approval for E-1 status.
The terms of an E-1 visa
When someone holds an E-1 classification, he or she may remain in the country for two years. As long as the treaty trader continues to perform only the activities he or she agreed to during the immigration process, the employee may request as many two-year extensions as necessary. As long as the terms of the trader’s work in your company have not changed, he or she may even work for a subsidiary or parent entity of your company.
At any time, the situation in your U.S. business may change. For example, you may go through a merger, sale, strike or other significant change that affects the treaty trader’s E-1 status. In order for the treaty trader to remain in the U.S., the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services must determine whether these changes alter his or her eligibility. In either case, the E-1 holder must agree to vacate the U.S. immediately upon the expiration of their status.