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The idea of coming to the United States to earn a living has been a part of the American dream for almost 250 years. People have traditionally left their home countries seeking better economic opportunities. However, modern immigration laws limit who is able to enter into the United States to work and for what purpose.

One common way for people to gain the right to work as a non-citizen is to apply for an E-1 visa. An E-1 visa holder may enter and remain in the United States for the express purpose of working as a “treaty trader”. Treaty traders work in international commerce for the joint benefit of their home countries and the United States. People are able to apply for entry into the United States under the program or apply for a change of status if they are already legally in the country under another visa.

A Wheaton E-1 visa lawyer may be able to help individuals and companies to navigate the this program. Attorneys could help you determine if an employee qualifies under U.S. law and complete the necessary paperwork to help people obtain E-1 visa certification.

The Purposes of and Requirements for Obtaining an E-1 Visa

An E-1 visa is a way for a foreign national to legally enter the United States. However, unlike simple visas that could allow for tourism or allow people to visit residents, holders of E-1 visas have permission to engage in commerce.

Specifically, 8 CFR 214.2(e)(9) allows entry for “treaty traders”. According to the statute, these are people who:

  1. Are citizens of countries that have an active treaty for commerce and navigation with the United States
  2. Engage in substantial trade between their home country and the United States
  3. Over half their total trade volume flows between their home country and the United States

As a result, the purpose of an E-1 visa is to allow for a greater volume of trade between the United States and a trade treaty participant. These visa holders are allowed to remain in the United States for a maximum of two years and must return home upon the expiration of that visa. There is no path to citizenship through this program, although visa holders may ask to bring a spouse and any children under the age of 21 into the United States. A Wheaton lawyer could provide more information about the purpose and function of the E-1 visa program.

Taking Steps to Help People Obtain an E-1 Visa

Many applicants for an E-1 visa are already in the United States on a related work visa. If this is the case, they may apply for an official change of status by filing Form I-129.

To complete this form, applicants must provide detailed information about almost every aspect of their life. This includes current residence, current employment, and their reasoning for requesting a change of immigration status. Furthermore, supplementary information may be necessary concerning the nature of the applicant’s work and why it qualifies them for an E-1 visa.

A Wheaton E-1 visa lawyer could help people already in the United States to apply for a change in their immigration status. This includes completing the necessary paperwork, interfacing with an employer, and tracking the application through the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Proper completion of this process is essential to allow a person to remain in the United States as an error on a change of status form could trigger deportation proceedings.

Let a Wheaton E-1 Visa Attorney Help

The United States economy relies on the free flow of goods and information with its free-trade partners. To facilitate this trade, the USCIS created the E-1 visa program that allows “treaty traders” to do their jobs and live in the United States. To qualify for this program, people must be a citizen of a treaty signatory and perform more than half their trade between their home country and the United States.

A Wheaton E-1 visa lawyer could help traders apply for changes in their immigration status. This includes working to complete the necessary paperwork, gathering vital information, and working with your employer to gain their help in asking for a change in their status. Contact an attorney today to learn more about trade immigration options.

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