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WHAT IS AN E-1 VISA?
The E-1 Treaty Trader Visa allows individuals, or employees of companies, to enter the U.S. to carry out international trade.
The definition of “trade” for an E-1 visa is not strict. It may apply to the trade of goods, services, and even banking. There is no set limit to the amount of trade that must occur.
An E-1 trader or employee is only allowed to work in the activity they were approved for when the visa was issued. However, if their employer has a parent company, it may be possible for them to work for that organization.
An E-1 visa may also cover immediate family (legal spouse and unmarried children under 21). The spouse of the visa holder is permitted to work, but the children are not.
E-1 VISA REQUIREMENTS
The E-1 visa applicant must show they intend to engage in “substantial trade,” which is not strictly defined.
At least 50% of the trade volume carried out must be between the United States and the designated treaty country (“principal trade”).
The trade could be in the form of physical movement of goods, transportation, or non-physical services, including banking and insurance, tourism, technology, or journalism.
The applicant must be a national of one of the treaty countries (this requirement does not apply to family members).
As with other U.S. Visa terms, the applicant should be prepared to provide evidence that they intend to return to their home country at the end of the visa period (see extensions below.)
E-1 VISA PROCESSING TIME, LENGTH OF STAY AND EXTENSIONS
E-1 Visa Processing Time, Length of Stay and Extensions
The E-1 visa processing time varies by consulate and whether you are applying from within or outside the U.S. On average, it takes between two and four weeks to process.
The E-1 visa grants a stay of up to two years and may be followed by an extension of up to two years, provided the visa holder continues to meet the initial E-1 visa conditions. There is no limit to the number of extensions.
E-1 visa holders may travel outside of the U.S. and will get an automatic 2-year extension upon re-entry. However, note that the additional readmission extension is not granted to family members automatically; they should keep track of their length of stay and apply for extensions at the appropriate time to remain in the U.S lawfully.
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