Don’t Sit on the E-1 Work Visa!

Eligibility When the E-2 Visa Is Not An Option

The E-1 Treaty visa is a fantastic work visa option that is often overlooked and not discussed as a viable work visa option!

We recently had a client who was disappointed that their country, Bolivia, was not E-2 treaty eligible.  They had a unique service they wanted to bring to the U.S. market and invest in the United States by opening a company.  However, when we looked closer at the client’s services to be exchanged with the United States and double checked the treaty laws, we were too happy to inform our Bolivian national that they were eligible under the E-1 treaty work visa program. Below we highlight important tips and takeaways from this story. We limit our discussion of E-1 visas to the trading of services here. 

The ‘Big Take Away’ & Important Tips For E-1 Work Visa Eligibility In The United States: 

·         The E treaty visa is divided into two parts: E-1(international exchange/trade) and; E-2 (investment into the U.S). It’s important to not assume that if one’s country is not E-2 investor treaty eligible, then it is entirely exempt from this bi-lateral treaty. The E-1 treaty ‘eligible country list’ does not parallel the E-2 treaty eligible countries. Here Bolivian nationals, while not eligible for E-2 visas, are fully eligible for the E-1 trade visa.

·         The E-1 Treaty visa and E-2 Treaty visa can accomplish two popular goals of our clients through either visa mechanisms: The two popular goals of our clients are: first, managing workflow, business goals and objectives abroad in the United States; and second, the ability to acquire a U.S. work visa to deploy their employee(s) to the United States.

An E-1 visa allows a country such as Canada, to operate a business in the United States and trade services such as accounting, consulting or engineering between the two countries. A Canadian worker may obtain an E-1 work visa to go to the United States to manage the operations goals and objectives such as workflow, growth and increased revenue.

Similarly, an E-2 Treaty investor can also open and operate a company in the United States and send an E-2 visa worker from Canada to manage the company’s goals and objectives, including return on investment, while establishing a presence in the United States.

The criteria for E-1 visa requires a determination by the U.S. government that:

(i)                 a treaty exists;

(ii)              the individual or business possesses the nationality of the treaty country;

(iii)            the activities the E-1 will engage in constitute trade within the meaning of the Code;

(iv)             (iv) the trade is substantial;

(v)               (v) the trade is principally between the U.S. and the treaty country of the applicant’s nationality;

(vi)             (vi) applicant, if an employee, is destined to an executive/supervisory position or possesses skills essential to the firms’ operations in the U.S.; and

(vii)          the applicant intends to the depart the U.S. when the E-1 status terminates.

E-1 and E-2 Treaty visas are complex and require experienced immigration legal representation to be successful. We have over 25 years representing our U.S. immigration clients.

To schedule a consultation, you may email us at or call / text (703)966-0907. B&E Capital – Vassell Law Group,PC | | | Members of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for over 20 years.

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