E-1 Treaty Traders
A.What is E-1 Treaty Traders?
The E-1 non-immigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country (a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Certain employees of such a person or of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this classification.
a current list of countries with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
- Period of Stay
Qualified treaty traders and employees will be allowed a maximum initial stay of two years. Requests for extension of stay may be granted in increments of up to two years each. There is no maximum limit to the number of extensions an E-1 non-immigrant may be granted. All E-1 non-immigrants, however, must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.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.
- Family of E-1 Treaty Traders and Employees
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 non-immigrant 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 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.
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.
B. General Qualifications of a Treaty Trader
- To qualify for E-1 classification, the treaty trader must:
Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
Carry on substantial trade
Carry on principal trade between the United States and the treaty country which qualified the treaty trader for E-1 classification.
- Trade is the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the United States and the treaty country. Items of trade include but are not limited to:
Technology and its transfer
Some news-gathering activities.
- Note:Substantial trade generally refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items, involving numerous transactions over time. There is no minimum requirement regarding the monetary value or volume of each transaction.
Principal trade between the United States and the treaty country exists when over 50% of the total volume of international trade is between the U.S. and the trader’s treaty country.
C. General Qualifications of the Employee of a Treaty Trader
1. Be the same nationality of the principal alien employer (who must have the nationality of the treaty country)
2. Meet the definition of “employee” under the relevant law
3. Either be engaging in duties of an executive or supervisory character, or if employed in a lesser capacity, have special qualifications.
Note:If the principal alien employer is not an individual, it must be an enterprise or organization at least 50% owned by persons in the United States who have the nationality of the treaty country. These owners must be maintaining non-immigrant treaty trader status. If the owners are not in the United States, they must be, if they were to seek admission to this country, classifiable as non-immigrant treaty traders. See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(3)(ii).
Duties which are of an executive or supervisory character are those which primarily provide the employee ultimate control and responsibility for the organization’s overall operation, or a major component of it.See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(17) for a more complete definition.See 8 CFR 214.2(e)(17) for a more complete definition.
Special qualifications are skills which make the employee’s services essential to the efficient operation of the business. There are several qualities or circumstances which could, depending on the facts, meet this requirement. These include, but are not limited to:
1) The degree of proven expertise in the employee’s area of operations
2) Whether others possess the employee’s specific skills
3) The salary that the special qualifications can command
4) Whether the skills and qualifications are readily available in the United States
Note:Knowledge of a foreign language and culture does not, by itself, meet this requirement.
D. 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
- Terms and conditions of employment have not otherwise changed.
“Substantive change” is defined as a fundamental change in the employer’s basic characteristics, such as, but not limited to, a merger, acquisition, or major event which affects the treaty trader or employee’s previously approved relationship with the organization. The treaty trader or enterprise 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.
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.
E. Documents required to certify that the E-1 beneficiary will return original country of residence
- E-1 beneficiary must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated. Document list:
a) Property outside the United States.
b) Economic relations that are difficult to abandon in the original country of residence. For example, the applicant should provide ideal salary income, company stocks and bank deposits.
c) Unfinished professional relations in the country of origin. For example, the applicant should provide an on-the-job certificate or Certification of Leave issued by the current employer.
d) Important family and social relations in the country of origin. The applicant should prove that some important family members will still live in their country of origin for a long time. The family will be reunited.
e) Letters of invitation from American employers and related employment documents, which can explain the beneficiary’s purpose, plan and duration of stay in the United States. The beneficiary will stay in the United States temporarily.
F. E-1 application procedure
1.If you already residing in the U.S. under a different visa status, you may file for the E-2 visa by changing your current resident status to E-2 status.To achieve this, you will need to file an I-129 petition to request a change of status.
2.Outside the United States, the clients should complete DS-160, schedule an interview, prepare required documentation, attend the visa interview.
- Complete online DS-160 Form
- Pay filing fee
- Schedule an Appointment
- Prepare related materials.
- Attend visa interview, obtain E-1 visa
- If your application is checked or rejected, please contact a professional attorney in time.