An E-1 non-immigrant visa classification allows the national of a treaty recognized country* to be granted temporary entry into the United States for the purpose of engaging in international trade, either in their own individual capacity, or as an employee of a company.
Eligibility Criteria to File for Change of Status
Only certain people are eligible for getting an E-1 non-immigrant status. They include;
- The person requesting the E-1 non-immigrant visa classification is currently residing in the United States and already has a lawful non-immigrant status. In this case, the person can file Form I-129 and request their status to be changed.
- The shortlisted employee requesting the E-1 non-immigrant visa classification is currently in the United States and is in lawful non-immigrant status. In this case, the interested employer can file Form I-129 on the employee’s behalf and request their status to be changed.
Qualification Criteria for Treaty Trader
There are certain pre-requisites for a treaty trader to qualify for the E-1 classification. These include the treaty trader being;
- A declarable national of a United States-recognized treaty country,
- Able to carry out substantial trade,
- Able to carry out principal trade between the qualifying treaty country and the United States.
Obtaining an E-1 Classification from outside the United States
If the person requesting the E-1 classification is not physically present in the United States, the request for the change of status cannot be made through Form I-129. For more information regarding this issue, visit the US Department of State website, or contact us for more information. We will be more than happy to schedule a consultation and brief you regarding the possible plan of action.
Period of Stay of E-1 Status Holders
Initially, qualified E-1 status holders are allowed a 2-year stay within the United States. However, request for extension may be filed, allowing treaty traders and employees to prolong their stay by a further 2 years. Multiple extensions may be requested, and there is no limit as to the number of extensions which can be requested. However, the qualified E-1 status holder must leave the United States after the expiration or termination of their E-1 non-immigrant status.
*An already qualified E-1 status holder with a valid E-1 visa in his or her passport who travelled abroad due to any reason will be able to extend of his or her stay by a further 2 years upon re-entry into the United States.
Family Members of E-1 Status Holders
All E-1 status holders are allowed to be accompanied by their spouses and married children under the age of 21 years. They are not required to share the same nationality as the E-1 treaty trader or employee. They may apply for the dependent visa abroad or if they are already admitted into the US, they may file for the E-1 dependent visa. If they are successful in their request, they will be granted the same period of stay as the treaty trader or employee.