E-1 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the E-1 visa?

The E-1 visa allows individuals from treaty countries to enter the United States for the purpose of engaging in substantial trade in goods or services.

Who is eligible for an E-1 visa?

Citizens of countries that have a treaty of commerce and navigation or bilateral investment treaty with the United States are eligible to apply for the E-1 visa.

What is considered "substantial trade"?

“Substantial trade” typically refers to a continuous flow of sizable international trade involving numerous transactions over a period of time.

What types of trade qualify for an E-1 visa?

Both the exchange of goods and services can qualify as trade for the purpose of obtaining an E-1 visa.

How can I demonstrate substantial trade for an E-1 visa?

Providing detailed records of past trade transactions, contracts, invoices, and proof of the ongoing and significant nature of trade between your home country and the U.S. is crucial.

Can a service-based business qualify for an E-1 visa?

Yes, service-based businesses can qualify if they engage in substantial trade in services between the treaty country and the U.S.

How long can I stay in the U.S. on an E-1 visa?

E-1 visa holders can generally stay in the U.S. for up to two years initially, with extensions allowed in two-year increments. There is no limit to the number of extensions an E-1 nonimmigrant may be granted.

Can my family members accompany me on an E-1 visa?

Yes, spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age can accompany the E-1 visa holder. They can also work in the U.S. immediately upon entry since the regulations provide that work authorization is incident to E-1 visa status. Meaning it’s no longer necessary to apply for a work authorization from USCIS.

Can I change employers while on an E-1 visa?

E-1 visa holders can only work for the employer or business entity that is the basis for their E-1 status.

Can I apply for permanent residency (a green card) while on an E-1 visa?

E-1 visa holders are considered non-immigrants and must maintain their non-immigrant status. E-1 visas carry with them an intent to return to the home at the end of the authorized stay. Consult your immigration attorney for guidance on the requirements for permanent residence.

Can I travel outside the U.S. while on an E-1 visa?

E-1 visa holders can travel in and out of the U.S. during the validity of their visa. A valid E-1 visa and appropriate documentation are required for every entry.

Can I bring employees from my home country to work in the U.S. under my E-1 business?

Yes, certain employees of the treaty trader or treaty entity may be eligible for E-1 visa status if they have the same nationality as the principal trader and meet specific criteria.

Can a startup business qualify for an E-1 visa?

Generally, a startup business may not qualify for an E-1 visa as it needs to demonstrate a history of substantial trade.

Can I apply for an E-1 visa while in the U.S. or changing my status from another visa category?

Eligible applicants can apply for a change of status to E-1 if they are already in the United States, provided that they did not enter the U.S. through the ESTA program. One can also apply for an E-1 visa at the U.S. consulate in the applicant’s home country.
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I've had the pleasure of working with DLG on various petitions over the past few years. US immigration could be quite complex and overwhelming making knowledgeable, trustworthy help critical to successfully navigate through the process. The team at DLG (Dana, Leyla, Jennifer, Melisa) are extremely knowledgeable, thorough, patient, transparent and responsive. Definitely recommend them!!
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Appreciate the Davidson Law Group for helping me secure approval for my H1b visa. The paralegal working with me was very responsive in answering the questions I had (usually always responded to my messages the day of my inquiry) and the answers were always detailed and professional. Would recommend working with the law group!
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To the entire Davidson Law Group team, thank you so much for all the support during the past three years of my immigration journey in the US. They were especially supportive and responsive to all my queries about the different visas and were always prompt and kind. I especially appreciated it when Leyla got back to me beyond working hours on a Friday with, "Congratulations, your H1B has been picked." It definitely made my and my close ones' weekend a tad better. I would recommend them for sure just because I appreciated their humane approach to all of their cases. Kudos to all of you.
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Dana Davidson - Full Bio

Dana T. Davidson holds degrees from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and State University of New York at Stony Brook and has been practicing immigration law since 2003 in New York and nationwide. She represents corporations, individuals, and families in a broad range of immigration matters. Attorney Davidson has offices in New York City and Glen Cove.
 

Education

  • Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
  • Juris Doctor – 1988
  • Honors: Moot Court Board, Member, Judge
  • State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York
  • Bachelor of Arts – 1982
  • Major: Political Science
  • Concentration: Business


Pro-Bono Activities

  • Safe Passage Project, Volunteer Attorney, 2013-Present
  • Educating the Educators, Founder, 2012-Present
  • Momentum Project, Board Member, 1991-1994 Bar Admission
  • New York, Eastern District
  • New York, Southern District
  • Washington, D.C.

Speaking Engagements
 
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Berlin, Germany, Speaker on “Public Charge” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2018, Johannesburg, South Africa, Speaker: “Practice Management in the New Age” panel
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2018, Madrid, Spain, Speaker: “El Traje de Luces: Self-Sponsored Petitions – EB-1A and NIW”  AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2017, Brussels, Belgium, Speaker: “Continuing Blanket L Challenges”
  • Safe Passage Project, March 2017, Speaker: “Representing Unaccompanied Minors: Special Immigrant Juvenile Status and the Effects of President Trump’s Executive Orders on Immigration”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Fall Conference 2016, Speaker: “It’s Not About Money: I-864”
  • AILA RDC-EMEA Spring Conference 2016, Vienna, Austria, Speaker: “K-Visa: Differences Between K-1 and I-130 Processing”
  • New York Institute of Technology’s Center for Entrepreneurship, January 2016, Entrepreneur/Executive-in-Residence
  • AILA Fall Conference 2015, London, UK, Speaker: Impact of joint sponsors on family-based cases
  • Goldman-Sachs 10,000 Small Business Education Program, October 2014, “What is required to grow a business?”
  • Dowling College, May 2013, Keynote Speaker at the first annual Latino Summit at Dowling College
  • International Taxation Conference, 2010