E-1 Visa/Status—Treaty Trader Executives and Essential Workers
As the global economy continues to become interconnected, corporations have increasingly come to depend upon their trade relationships with foreign nations. As such, executives and essential employees from countries with trade treaties with the United States routinely travel to the U.S. to conduct business and represent the vital interests of their respective companies.
Basic Requirements for the E-1 Visa/Status:
The E-1 visa status is available to executives or essential employees from nations with trade treaties with the United States (here is a list of those countries, last updated in 2010). However, to be eligible for this visa status, the following three conditions must be met: 1) either the majority interest or control of the company must be owned by citizens of a country that shares a trade treaty with the United States; 2) the executive or essential employee applying for the status must be a citizen of that country; and 3) that company must be presently engaged in significant trade with a company in the United States.
To be considered an essential employee, an individual’s special training and exceptional qualifications must be essential to the business that is investing in the United States.
Duration of Stay:
Under most circumstances, E-1 visas are granted for two years. However, this visa may be extended indefinitely (typically by two year periods) so long as substantial business and trade are viable and ongoing in the United States.
The spouse and children (so long as they are under 21 and not currently married) will be eligible to apply for a derivative immigration status with the principle beneficiary of an E-1 visa. As such, spouses and eligible children may accompany E-1 visa recipients into the United States and remain so long as the visa granted. Once in the United States, spouses will be eligible to obtain employment authorization that will allow them to work. Moreover, individuals who possess E-1 derivative status may attend any educational institution in the U.S.
At the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, our immigration attorneys charge the following in attorney’s fees when filing a typical E-1 visa application in the United States at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (please take a moment to read this disclaimer), in addition to the filing fee that is currently charged by the USCIS:
- $5,000 in attorney’s fees for the immigration petition
- $460 for the filing fee charged by the USCIS for the main petition
- $370 for the USCIS filing fee for the principle beneficiary’s family + $85 for each family member (if applicable)
- $1,440 for the filing fees associated with USCIS premium processing (optional)
- $410 for the filing fee for a spouse’s employment authorization (optional)
If you are not in the U.S.:
E-1 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
Clients will come to us with various questions about E-1 visa eligibility and how to apply for one. Before beginning the application process, you should enlist the help of an experienced Austin immigration attorney from Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, so you know what to expect and how to overcome any obstacles you face along the way.
Below we answer some of the most common questions clients ask us when applying for an E-1 visa.
What countries have trade treaties with the United States giving eligibility for an E-1 visa?
According to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, people from the following countries are allowed to apply for an E-1 visa:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- China (Taiwan)
- Costa Rica
- Korea (South)
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
What kind of documents do I need to apply for an E-1 Visa?
When applying for an E-1 visa, you need to complete applications and provide documentation. Some of the requirements will depend on where you’re applying, so it’s crucial that you consult with an Austin immigration attorney to ensure you’re not missing anything.
You must have the following documents during the application process:
- Form DS-160 (nonimmigrant visa)
- Form DS-156E (nonimmigrant investor)
- ID with a color photo showing your entire face
- Passport with expiration no less than six months past your stay
- Proof of trading activity for at least one year
- Evidence of employment and/or skills
- Evidence of nationality
- Evidence of U.S. remittance (transfer exchange permits, bank loans, etc.)
- Evidence of establishment in the U.S.
- Evidence of a legitimate business, such as news articles and annual reports
- Evidence of trade between the U.S. and country from where you’re applying
How do I apply for an E-1 visa?
There are various steps involved in the application process. You should consult the consulate or embassy website for specific instructions to ensure you don’t miss anything.
Step 1 – Fill out Form DS-160 online and print out the confirmation page. During the online application, you will need to upload a photo of yourself in a specific format explained on the website.
Step 2 – Typically, you don’t have to attend an interview if you’re in a certain age group, but the consulate could require one regardless of how old you are. So you must check the requirements before applying.
|13 years old and younger||Typically not a requirement|
|14 to 79||Required|
|80 years old and older||Typically not a requirement|
Step 3 – Prepare for the interview by gathering all of the documents, forms, and applications you need. You might also have to pay some fees.
Step 4 – A consular officer will determine if you’re eligible for an E-1 visa during your interview. They will also take your fingerprints. Once the interview concludes, your application might have to go through additional processing to determine eligibility.
Step 5 – Wait for approval. If the consulate approves your application, you might have to pay additional fees. They will notify you when your visa is available for pick up or delivery.
Contact an Immigration Attorney in Austin
At the Law Office of William Jang, PLLC, our Austin immigration attorneys have the experience and resources to help you work through the application process for the E-1 visa (please take a moment look over a sample of approved cases). To discuss your application with one of our Austin immigration attorneys, please call our Austin offices at (512) 323-2333 today.