The E-1 visa, also known as the treaty trader visa or trade visa, is a subcategory of the e-visa and is thus one of the work visas the USA. It allows key individuals in companies, such as managers, to stay in the United States to trade in goods, technology, or services. Since applying for more time and cost saving than, for example, an L visa, the E-1 visa is an alternative worth considering. We will be happy to help you with the application process.
The Treaty Trader Visa is a work visa and is available to companies who substantial trade between the contracting country and the USA. It is company-linked and allows foreign employees to work for a U.S. company.
Once a company has successfully applied for an E-1 visa for an employee, it is deemed to have E-registered and from now on can hire additional employees send them simplified to the USA via this visa category or deploy them there. It does not matter whether employees are to start a long-term assignment or whether they have to travel to the USA for multiple business trips.
This nonimmigrant visa is based on bilateral treaties between the United States and countries trading with it (Treaty Country- treaty country). Currently, there are approximately 50 nations that maintain such relations with the United States. Germany, Austria and Switzerland are also among them.
The Treaty Trader Visa offers a variety of benefits for both companies and employees who are to receive the visa.
Particularly in comparison to the expensive L-visa procedure, E-visas therefore always represent a worth checking alternative!
The nationality restriction may be a disadvantage for certain applicants:
The nationality of the employees must correspond to the nationality of the company. This means, for example, that German companies can only issue E-1 visas to German nationals.
Both the applicant company and the employees must meet certain requirements to be eligible for this US work visa.
In order for employees to be eligible for the US trade visa, the company must meet the following eligibility requirements:
Employees who are to receive the U.S. trade visa must also meet certain requirements:
There is no requirement regarding the minimum period of employment for employees within the group of companies, as is the case with an L visa. Consequently, new personnel can also be sent or deployed in the USA via E-1 status. However, it is also necessary to prove that new employees who are not managers or directors have the necessary specialized knowledge.
E-1 Initial registration applications of the company are submitted to the competent U.S. Consulate General of the contracting country. For German companies, the U.S. Consulate General in Frankfurt am Main is exclusively responsible.
The following steps must be followed when applying for the trade visa:
On the basis of this registration, companies can then - in a very simplified procedure - additional employees may skip the first part of the application process and bring all supporting documents and forms directly to the in-person interview at the US Consulate.
It should be noted that e-visa applications may not include more than more than 90 pages, otherwise they will not be processed by the US Consulate.
Compared to other work visa categories, such as L-1 or H-1B, the E-1 visa is relatively time and cost effective.
For initial registrations, the consulate may require approximately two to three months. In addition, there is the waiting time until the interview date, which depends, among other things, on the respective consulate or the season. Therefore, in this case, the application should be made at least six months before the planned work assignment.
As soon as the company is already "E-registered", i.e. has already successfully applied for at least one E-1 visa for an employee, the previous check can be skipped. Here, the visa is applied for directly in the personal interview appointment.
Approximately one week after the successful interview at the consulate, the passport including visa is sent to the employees by mail.
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 may receive a so-called derived E-1 visa obtained. The duration of validity depends on the citizenship of the family members and is possible for maximum for the same period as the main applicant. Spouses have the option to work for any U.S. employer: either by applying for their own work permit (Employment Authorization Document, EAD), or corresponding note on entry by the border guards.
Family members under E-1 status may also attend public or private educational institutions. Once children reach the U.S. age of majority, they must either change their nonimmigrant status or leave the country.
The following reasons make a successful E-1 application difficult or result in immediate rejection:
As a rule, applicants find out on the day of their interview whether the visa will be granted or not. In certain cases, the visa applicant receives a rejection letter from the consulate after a certain processing time. A rejection must not justified be
Once this has happened, it usually takes several months or even years before a new visa can be (successfully) applied for. Theoretically, the applicant has the following options No waiting time until the next submission. However, experience shows that without blatant improvement of the requirements of the respective visa category (e.g. proof of the intention to return to the home country, financial means, proof of specialized professional knowledge, etc.), a renewed application does not seem to make much sense.
Also a E-1 visa cannot guarantee you entry into the USA. Here, the U.S. border officials have the final say and decide whether you are allowed to enter and for how long you will be granted residency status.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age can obtain a so-called derivative E-2 visa. The duration of validity depends on the citizenship of the family members and is possible for a maximum of the same period as the main applicant. Spouses have the option to work for any U.S. employer: either by applying for their own work permit (Employment Authorization Document, EAD), or corresponding note on entry by the border guards.
Family members under E-2 status may also attend public or private educational institutions. Once children reach the U.S. age of majority, they must either change their nonimmigrant status or leave the country.
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age are also granted a derived E-2 visa for the same period as the main applicant. Spouses may also apply for their own Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which is not tied to a specific job or the principal applicant's company. This is usually valid for two years, but can be extended for another two years.
Family members under E-2 status can also attend public or private educational institutions. As soon as the children reach the age of majority in the United States, they must either change their nonimmigrant status or leave the country.
The following reasons make a successful E-1 application difficult or could lead to immediate rejection:
Accompanying spouses and unmarried children up to the age of 21 years are granted a derived status on application and thus also an E-1 visa. Spouses with an E-1 visa may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from the USCIS after entering the United States, which is not tied to a specific job or the main applicant's company, and thus may work in the U.S. independently of their spouse.
This work permit is issued for two years, with the possibility of an extension for a further two years up to the maximum duration of stay of the E-1 visa holder.
Children of E-1 visa holders may attend educational institutions (schools / universities), but may not engage in paid employment. If the children reach the age of majority in force in the U.S., they must change their nonimmigrant status or leave the country.
As a rule, applicants are informed on the day of their interview whether the visa will be issued or not. In certain cases, the visa applicant will receive a letter of refusal from the U.S. consulate after a certain processing time. A rejection does not have to be justified.
Once this has been done, a new visa can usually only be (successfully) applied for after several months or even years. In theory, there is no waiting period for the applicant until the next submission. However, experience has shown that without a blatant improvement in the requirements of the respective visa category (e.g. proof of the intention to return to the home country, financial means, proof of professional expertise, etc.), a new application does not appear to make much sense.
Unlike most work visas, the application for an E-1 visa does not have to be submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, but can be applied for directly at a U.S. consulate.
Even an E-1 visa cannot guarantee you entry to the United States. In fact the CBP officers have the final say and decide whether you are allowed to enter and for how long you will receive a resident status.
The fees for applying for a visa vary considerably depending on the category and may regularly increase or decrease, also as a result of exchange rate fluctuations. Therefore, every applicant should inform himself about the current fees before applying.
The application for a U.S. visa must be made through the official U.S. authorities, e.g. the U.S. consulates and U.S. embassies. The actual visa application is placed online, but almost every applicant must go to the consulate in person for a visa interview. With some work visas, it is sometimes necessary to send extensive files by mail to the U.S. authorities in the USA prior to the consular application procedure.
We advise and support companies and private individuals in all matters relating to visa applications. Read more about the requirements, duration and costs of a visa application.
A U.S. work visa is always tied to a specific U.S. company. In turn this means that you must have a specific employer in the United States before you can apply for a work visa.
The application process begins with the U.S. company that wants to hire you. The U.S. employer submits the petition either to the USCIS or to the responsible U.S. consulate. Since the application for a temporary work permit is made by the company for a future foreign employee, the U.S. employer is therefore the so-called petitioner, which means the official applicant. The future employee is the entitled person and thus the so-called beneficiary.
Many companies wonder what happens to the company-bound work visa when the visa holder no longer works for the U.S. employer.
In the event that the employment contract is terminated, the U.S. work visa automatically loses its validity. The derived visas of any family members who may have travelled with the employee also lose their validity upon termination of the work relations, as these are linked to the visa of the main visa applicant.
This means that the former visa holder is no longer allowed to enter the country with the work visa after termination of the employment relationship. Even if the work visa is theoretically still valid for a certain period of time, the visa may no longer be used to enter the United States. If the visa holder concerned wishes to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business purposes in the future, he / she must reapply for an ESTA or a corresponding visa, depending on the type of activities carried out on site and the duration of such activities.
Tip: In order to avoid discrepancies or problems with later entries, it is advisable to inform the U.S. consulate about the new work situation. For this purpose, it is sufficient if the responsible company representative (e.g. HR manager, supervisor, board of directors) sends an e-mail to the responsible consulate with the request to invalidate the visa of the former employee. If possible, a copy of the visa should also be attached. The consulate will then put a note in the system so that the CBP officers at the U.S. border are also informed.
In some cases, the visa holder will even be contacted directly by the U.S. consulate in order to send its passport with the work visa for the purpose of invalidation. In other cases, the visa will simply be invalidated by the CBP officer at the boder the next time he or she enters the United States.
Our recommendation: By sending a short message to the responsible U.S. consulate, companies can protect themselves and above all be sure that entry with the previously valid work visa is no longer possible. Do not take any risks and prevent possible abuse with company-bound visas.
Depending on the visa type, the application is made through the U.S. consulates in the home country or additionally through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In Germany, for example, you can apply at the U.S. Consulate in Berlin, Frankfurt/Main or Munich.
IMPORTANT: Since 2001, all applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 have been required to appear in person without exception. This means that all visa applicants of this age must submit their application at a personal interview at the U.S. consulate. No documents are submitted in advance by mail (exception: age groups under 14 and over 79, here the application is submitted by mail). Another exception at present is theVisa Reissuance Program.
All applicants of a Nonimmigrant visa must be in addition to the Online application DS-160a visa profile on the website of the Visa Information Servicecreate for the purpose of making an appointment and paying the visa processing fee.
In the first step you make the payment of the visa fee (please note that the application fee is not refundable if your visa is rejected). The fee can be paid by online bank transfer, SOFORT transfer (electronic funds transfer), debit card or cash at a bank. Usually you will receive an email notification that the payment has been received and your account has been activated so that the appointment can be made.
The interview appointment must be made either online via the visa profile or by calling the U.S. consulate call center at +49 (0)322 2109 3243. If you make the appointment online via your Visa Profile, you will have the opportunity to view the available appointments at the U.S. consulates in Berlin, Frankfurt/Main and Munich in a calendar. You will then receive an "Appointment Confirmation", i.e. an appointment confirmation including proof of payment of the visa application fee. Appointment postponements or cancellations are possible. However, if you postpone your appointment more than twice, you will have to go through the whole process from the beginning and pay the visa fee again. On our website you can find the current visa fees.
Depending on the type of visa, a certain application fee is charged per applicant, which is not refundable even if the visa is rejected.
Please make every effort to schedule an appointment in a timely manner. U.S. officials cannot and will not make allowances for individual travel plans.
Basically, in addition to the common DS-160 application form, applicants must have and the "Appointment Confirmation" you have to submit further documents. What these are also depends on the visa applied for.
Please note that your passport will be retained at the U.S. Consulate on the day of the interview and will be delivered by registered mail to a German address after a processing time of approximately one to two weeks. A personal pickup of the visa or an issuance on the same day are not possible!
Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 will be issued a derived J-2 visa for the same period as the principal applicant and may travel to the United States on that visa.
Employees or business owners must also meet a certain requirement profile to obtain an E-1 visa:
NOTICE: There is no minimum period of employment for employees within the group of companies, as is the case with the L visa. Consequently, new personnel can also be sent or deployed in the USA via E-1/E-2 status. However, it is also necessary to prove that new employees who are not managers or directors have the necessary specialized knowledge.
In contrast to many other work visas, not only the respective applicants (employees and/or company owners) receive an E-1/E-2 visa and thus a work permit for the U.S. in the initial application process - rather, the U.S. company is simultaneously "registered" with the U.S. authorities for (usually) five years as a whole at the U.S. consulate (= E-registration).
What are the advantages of this registration process?
Within the next five years, additional employees (including new hires, if applicable) can be sent to or deployed at the U.S. company in a greatly simplified process.
This eliminates the need to submit an elaborate application in advance for additional E-1/E-2 visa processes within the approved registration period. Employees can present their documents directly at a personal interview appointment at the relevant U.S. consulate. The simplified procedure means considerable cost and time savings for the company. Especially in comparison to the expensive L-visa procedure, the E-status is therefore always an alternative worth considering!
Nationality link of e-registration
The only shortcoming of E-registration: the nationality requirement for personnel. This means that German companies can only issue E-1/E-2 visas to German nationals. The same applies to companies that have a different nationality. For example, a French company would only be allowed to issue E-1/E-2 visas to French employees.
Extension of e-registration
After expiration of the E-1/E-2 registration, an application for renewal can be filed at the U.S. Consulate. If the U.S. company already has more than 25 U.S. employees at that time, a simplified renewal procedure can be used.
To the extent that 25 or fewer U.S. citizens are employed, a complete new application (as in the initial registration process) must be submitted to the appropriate U.S. consulate.
In fact, as long as the U.S. company exists and the E-1 visa requirements are still met, the E-registration can be renewed indefinitely.
First of all, you have to distinguish between the period of validity of the visa and the period of stay granted at the US border (see FAQ What is the difference between visa and status?).
Period of validity of the e-visa
The validity period of an e-visa depends on the nationality. Depending on the nationality, is determined on the basis of the so-called Reciprocity Schedule decided how long the visa will be valid. For example, German citizens usually receive a five-year E-1 or E-2 visa. But the issuance of a one- or two-year E-visa is also possible if the E-registration of the company is limited to less than five years.
Although the company's registration is usually for five years, the registration may be limited to one or two years, especially if it is a smaller company that can demonstrate only small trading volumes. In addition, for smaller companies, the issuance of E-1/E-2 visas may be based on the remaining registration period. However, for medium to large companies with a high number of U.S. personnel, E visas are most often issued for five years, regardless of how long the E registration remains valid.
Length of stay upon entry into the USA
Upon entry into the U.S., the border agent decides how long an e-visa holder is allowed to stay in the U.S.. And the allowed length of stay of the e-visa holder will be indicated on his/her Form I-94 noted. In the rain, an e-visa holder receives a two-year residence permit for the first and all subsequent entries. The extension of the stay in the U.S. is unlimited as long as the registration of the U.S. company is available, the employee has a valid visa and the employee can prove a (German or American) employment contract or assignment contract within the group of companies.
Accompanying spouses and unmarried children up to 21 years of age will be granted derivative status upon application, and thus also an E-1/E-2 visa. Spouses with an E-1/E-2 visa may nfter entering the countryto the USA a General Work Permit (Employment Authorization Document, EAD) apply to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and thus pursue work in the U.S. independently of their spouse.
The work permit is issued for two years, with the possibility of extension for another two years, up to the maximum duration of stay of the E-1/E-2 visa holder.
Children of E-1/E-2 holders may of course attend educational institutions (schools/universities), but may not engage in paid work.
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