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The E-1 visa is a non-immigrant classification which allows for a national of a Treaty country to be admitted to the United States solely to engage in international trade on their own behalf for a maximum initial stay of 2 years. Treaty traders and employees may be accompanied or followed by spouses and unmarried children who are under 21 years of age. Their nationalities need not be the same as the treaty trader or employee.
The E-1 trader must meet the following qualifications to qualify for the E-1 visa:
1. Treaty Country - Be a national (citizen holding a valid Passport) of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation.
2. Substantial Trade - Carry on 'substantial trade'.
3. Principal Trade - Carry on 'principal trade' between the United States and the treaty country which qualifies the treaty trader for the E-1 classification.
4. Essential Employee - Employed in a supervisory or executive capacity or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
The following steps are required to apply for the E-1 Treaty Trader visa:
1. Form DS-160 - Complete Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, Form DS-160.
2. Photo -Upload your Photo.
3. Schedule an Interview You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live.
4. Pay Visa Application Fee
5. Form DS-156E - Complete Nonimmigrant Treaty Trader/Treaty Investor Application, Form DS-156E (required for all E-1 and E-2 visa applicants).
6. Additional Documents and Forms at Interview - visa applicants must establish that the trading enterprise or investment enterprise meets the requirements of the law and complies with the many requirements for the E visa category. The Consular officer may provide you with special forms to complete for this purpose.
7. Digital Fingerprint Scans - taken as part of your application process, at the Interview.
8. Spouse - Employment Authorization - Spouses who wish to work in the US may apply for the E-1 visa as dependents, and complete the form I-765 work authorization, with USCIS, after the Spouse has arrived in the US. If approved, there are no specific work restrictions regarding where they may work.