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Joorney Webinar Recap – Exploring the E1 Visa for International Traders

Updated 26.03.24 9 minutes read
Business PlansImmigrationIndustry InsightsJoorney UpdatesPrevious Events

In the recent New Joorney webinar, participants had the opportunity to gain valuable insights into the E1 Visa, also known as the Trader Visa, and its potential benefits for foreign traders interested in living and working in the United States. Led by immigration attorney Angie Rupert, owner of Rupert Law Group, specializing in E2 investor visas and E1 Trader visas, the webinar provided a comprehensive overview of the E1 Visa requirements and eligibility criteria.

Whether you are currently engaged in trading goods and services with the United States or considering venturing into this domain, exploring the potential benefits of the E1 Visa is crucial. Take advantage of this opportunity to learn from industry experts and make informed decisions regarding your international trading endeavors.

This article will share the most useful advice you need to consider regarding E1 Visa and highlights key takeaways from industry cases from Angie’s expertise. Some of the highly anticipated topics covered include:

  • Emphasized the visa’s role in promoting international trade and economic growth
  • Covered eligibility requirements and estimated trade amount needed
  • Real-life case studies showcased successful applications from various nationalities
  • Highlighted similarities and differences between E1 and E2 visas
  • Addressed questions on work opportunities, spousal employment, and benefits for children under 21

Let’s start with E-1 Visas 101. What does it entail? Can you give me the basics?

Answer: Just like the E-2 visa, to qualify for an E-1 visa, you must be from a treaty country. However, it’s important to check the treaty country list because there are some countries eligible for E-1 visas that are not eligible for E-2 visas. For example, Greece is eligible for E-1 but not for E-2. So even if you’re unsure about being from a treaty country, it’s worth checking the list. The first requirement is having a passport from a treaty country, which is crucial.

The E-1 visa is primarily about demonstrating a history of substantial and continued trade between your home country and the United States. Unlike the E-2 visa, which we can discuss further later, the E-1 visa focuses on trade. This can involve either exporting goods from the United States to sell in your home country or importing goods to the United States from your

The nationality aspect. Can you provide some examples of treaty countries that are eligible for an E-1 visa?

Answer: Two of the most common E-1 applicants are Canada and Mexico, for obvious reasons. They are located right next door to the United States. So anyone with a Canadian passport or a Mexican passport is more than eligible. Additionally, most E-2 treaty countries are also eligible for E-1 visas, although not all. Other important E-1 partner countries include Italy, Turkey, Germany, Taiwan, Colombia, Argentina and Japan. These are the countries we encounter most frequently, and they generate a significant number of applications. Canada, Mexico, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, Turkey, and Italy are among the top countries for E-1 visas.

If someone decides to switch to an E-2 visa, would they need to establish a new company? Would the investments they made during their time on the E-1 visa count towards the E-2 visa requirements?

Answer: When it comes to switching to an E-2 visa, establishing a new company is typically required. As for the investments made during the E-1 visa period, they may count towards the E-2 visa requirements if they are in furtherance of the E-2 business and meet the personal funds criteria. The evaluation of whether the previous investments can be considered towards the E-2 investment will depend on the specific circumstances and is assessed on a case-by-case basis.

A lot of people talk about the E-2 visa, which is popular as an investor visa. However, why isn’t the E-1 visa discussed as much?

Answer: It’s interesting because the requirements for the E-1 visa are all based on past trade. There isn’t much that needs to be done in the future other than continuing and expanding the trade over the years.

I think one of the reasons is that the E-1 visa is relatively rare. A few people know about it, and few attorneys handle these cases because they are not as common. Attorneys might not actively promote it, so clients remain unaware. However, for businesses that already have ongoing trade, the E-1 visa can be a great option. You don’t need to establish a US entity, hire US employees, or make additional investments. It’s a streamlined process where we primarily work with documents you likely already have.

We may need to gather a few new documents, but we can guide you through that. The process is generally shorter. In some cases, we may require a mini business plan to describe past trade, current trade, and future trade that will be built. However, even the business plan for the E-1 visa is typically shorter compared to other visa categories.

The E-1 visa provide the flexibility for individuals to work, go to school, and engage in various activities in the US. Can it also be used as an extended B-1 visa?

Answer: Yes, the E-1 visa can be seen as a B-1 visa with additional benefits. One of the significant advantages is that it eliminates the complications often faced at airports regarding work-related activities. You won’t have to worry about whether your activities are considered work or fall into a gray area.

In the short term, this can be highly beneficial, as it allows you to visit the US frequently without any airport hassles. But as your situation evolves, you might find that the US market is becoming increasingly important for your business. In that case, you can easily transition to spending longer periods of time in the US, focusing on developing your trade relationships. You have the flexibility to switch your approach and adapt to your changing needs.

Please note that specific details and requirements may vary depending on your individual circumstances, so it’s always recommended to consult with an immigration attorney for personalized guidance.

You mentioned that the process for the E-1 visa is shorter. Could you provide a brief overview of the overall process and its duration?

Answer: The E-1 visa application consists of three stages, similar to the E-2 visa. The first stage is document gathering, where we rely mostly on existing trade documents.

We need to see a history of trade, such as invoices, bills of lading, logistics documents, and bank statements. The timeline for this stage depends on the investor’s access to these documents. However, if you lack sufficient past documents, it may take longer to establish the trade, but we can guide you through the process.

The second stage involves putting the application together, ensuring all the required documents are in order. This step typically takes us about two weeks. Once the application is ready, we submit it to the consulate or embassy. The interview process for the E-1 visa follows a similar timeline to the E-2 visa, with appointments scheduled at a comparable rate.

The significant time reduction usually occurs in the initial document-gathering stage, especially if you already possess thorough records of your trade activities.

E-1 and E-2 Visa Business Plans

Answer: We do offer business plans specifically tailored for the E-1 visa application. These plans are comprehensive and cover various aspects. We include an executive summary, industry and market analysis, and a dedicated section for the trading component, which entails both the historical and future aspects of the trade and financial projections that align with the business. We also address the applicant’s background, the sales and marketing strategy, and other relevant information. Our business plans are specifically designed to meet the requirements of the E-1 trader visa, and they differ from our plans for other visa categories.

To get started, it is recommended to consult with a lawyer, and I highly recommend Angie as she is extremely experienced in both E-1 and E-2 visas. Once you engage with Angie, she will assess your specific case and inform you if a business plan is necessary to strengthen your application. We will then work closely with Angie throughout the process, ensuring effective communication and adaptation as needed.

As you mentioned, we have a longstanding and successful working relationship. We have collaborated for many years and have achieved great results. In all our years of experience, we have never had an application denied based on marginality, thanks to the thoroughness of our business plans. Our partnership and understanding of each other’s requirements make the process streamlined for our clients. They can rely on our expertise and trust that we know exactly what is needed. It’s a great advantage for the clients and contributes to the overall success of their applications.