The United States has an interest in promoting trade between itself and trade treaty nations. These are countries that entered into free trade agreements with the United States that allow for the free flow of goods without the payment of tariffs.

To aid in this goal, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can grant entry and work visas to foreign nationals engaged trade. Known as the E-1 visa program, these visas allow people to work and live in the United States as long as they remain in the trade business.

A Bloomington E-1 visa lawyer could help foreign nationals evaluate their eligibility for these visas. If they meet the necessary requirements, an experienced visa lawyer could help gather the essential information and submit an application for an E-1 visa.

The Legal Basis for the E-1 Visa Program

Immigration into the United States is strictly controlled. Under no circumstance can a foreign national enter the United States without a visa, and unless that visa says so, a person cannot work in the U.S. To obtain employment, foreign nationals need a specific work visa. The E-1 visa is one of many work visas.

Under 8 CFR 214.2(e)(9), foreign nationals may apply for entry and permission to work under the treaty trader exception. According to this statute, a treaty trader is an individual who:

  • Is a citizen of a county that is a party to an active treaty for commerce and navigation with the United States
  • Engages in substantial trade between the United States and their home country
  • Is involved in a business that dedicates more than half its total trade volume between the United States and the home country

The goal of the laws is to increase and simplify trade between the two countries. Even so, these visas are not permanent and expire within two years of the date of issue. Additionally, E-1 visa holders cannot apply for citizenship and must return home upon expiration. However, it is possible to bring a spouse and children under the age of 21 to the country under the terms of the visa. A Bloomington E-1 visa lawyer could help determine if a person may qualify under the USCIS E-1 visa program.

What to Expect When Applying for a Visa in Bloomington

The process for obtaining an E-1 visa depends on a person’s current location and immigration status. For applicants currently living in their home county, they must pursue an application through the U.S. Department of State and the local U.S. consulate.

A person can begin the process by completing DS-160. This requires information concerning a person’s travel history in the United States, why they qualify, and background information about their lives. Additionally, E-1 visa applicants must complete and submit DS-156E. This form provides greater detail about the person’s employment, the nature of that employment, and dollar values concerning the trade between the company and the United States. Once these documents are complete, the applicant will need to submit to an interview at the consulate to answer any outstanding questions and for a final security screening.

People who are already in the United States may also apply for an E-1 visa. However, they must be legally in the U.S. under another visa. Ideally, this visa will permit working for the company on an HB-1 or another temporary work basis. The USCIS requires applicants to complete Form I-219. This form requires much of the same data as the Department of State version. A Bloomington E-1 visa lawyer could help individuals both in the United States and abroad apply for E-1 visas.

A Bloomington E-1 Visa Attorney Could Help

A Bloomington E-1 visa attorney could help you obtain a visa. If you are still in your home county, they can work to help complete the relevant Department of State paperwork. If you are already legally in the U.S., they can help you navigate the USCIS change of status process. Call today to discuss your options.