What Is the E-1 Visa Program?
The E-1 Treaty Traders Visa allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on his or her own behalf. Employees of companies based in treaty countries are also eligible for an E-1 visa. This visa must generally be renewed every two years, but there is no limit to how many times one can renew. The treaty trader must be a citizen of a “treaty country.” A treaty country is a country with which the U.S. has a treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation or a Bilateral Investment Treaty. The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) defines trade as the import and/or export of goods or services between the United States and the treaty country from which the treaty trader has come.
Who Is Eligible to Participate in the E-1 Visa Program?
In addition to the treaty trader, other visa recipients may include the treaty trader’s spouse and minor, unmarried children. In addition, E-1 visas are also available to employees of the business as long as they are of the same nationality as the treaty trader and are destined for a role in the U.S. business that is either executive/supervisory or requires specialized skills that are essential to the efficient operation of the enterprise.
What Are the E-1 Visa Requirements?
To qualify for an E-1 Visa, the treaty trader must:
- Be a national of a country with which the U.S. maintains a treaty of commerce or some other qualifying international agreement.
- Carry on substantial trade. USCIS defines substantial trade as an amount of trade sufficient to ensure a continuous flow of international trade between the U.S. and the treaty country. In other words, numerous transactions over a period of time such as a year. Importantly, for smaller businesses, in order to be substantial, the treaty trader must be able to generate enough income to support himself or herself and their family.
- Carry on principal trade between the U.S. and the treaty country from which the treaty trader is a national. USCIS defines principal trade when more than 50% of the volume of imports and exports is between the U.S. and the treaty trader’s home country. This means that the treaty trader may conduct international trade with other countries as well just so long as over 50% of the trade is with the home country.
Qualified treaty traders and their employees (if any) 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 limit to the number of extensions an E-1 treaty trader may be granted. All E-1 treaty traders must maintain an intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated.
What Products and Services Can Be Traded?
Goods and services to be imported or exported can include almost anything. For example:
|Consumer products||Financial services|
|Agricultural products||Online services|
|Software & IT||Healthcare products & services|
|Autos & auto parts||Tourism|
How to Write a Business Plan to Meet the Requirements?
Yogi Berra, the famous American baseball player is known to have said, “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” This is where the treaty trader must answer all of the tough questions about markets, customers, products, type of trading business, which side of the trade, startup costs, monthly expenses, capital requirement, staffing plans, revenue and profit expectations in the early years and other important aspects of launching a new business.
The business plan must describe the business in detail and explain why the treaty trader has the talent, skill, and experience to make the business successful. The business plan must provide a roadmap that demonstrates that the treaty trader actually knows what he/she is doing. The business plan must explain that the treaty trader has experience in the business or in a related field. Here are some helpful tips:
- Do not attempt to write this business plan yourself. You will very likely need professional assistance.
- Hire an immigration attorney to handle your entire application from beginning to end.
- Not only must the plan be written in English; it must be written in “Business English.”
How Can Cayenne Help the Treaty Trader Prepare a Business Plan for the E-1 Visa Program?
Here are the steps Cayenne Consulting will take to ensure that the treaty trader has the best chance to have the visa application approved:
- We will confirm that you are eligible to participate in the program because of your citizenship and your experience.
- We will fully understand the business you intend to start or acquire so that we can explain the business model and why you will be successful in operating the business.
- We will create a detailed, thoughtful, and reasonable financial forecast that is believable and achievable and that is presented to comply with USCIS requirements.
- We will provide the necessary market research that will document that there is a compelling and sustainable market opportunity for your company’s trading activities.
- We will work with your immigration attorney to ensure that the business plan is consistent with the other documents that the attorney presents in your case.
- We will ensure that the business plan portrays you as an international trader who will contribute to the business community in which you intend to become involved.
Meet Cayenne’s E-1 Treaty Trader Visa Business Plan Consultant
Jimmy's experience includes over 40 years in international, commercial, and investment banking. He also spent nearly a decade as the principal shareholder and CEO of a rapidly growing manufacturing...
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