San Antonio E1 Visa Lawyer
What is a E1 Visa?
The Import Export Visa
The E1 Visa is a US Visa for people in the import/export business. To qualify for the E1 investor visa, you must continually import/export goods or services between the US and your country of nationality. Also, your country of nationality must be on the E1 Visa Country List (countries that have signed a trade treaty with the US). It is recommended that E1 applicants import/export more than $100,000 USD worth of goods/services a year. For more information about the E1 investor visa, contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration lawyers.
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San Antonio E1 Visa Attorney
The major benefits the E1 Visa offers are:
1. Live in the USA
You and your immediate family will be able to legally live in the USA. Your immediate family includes your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21.
2. Work in the USA
You will be authorized to legally work in the USA. Your spouse will also be eligible to get a work permit. Your spouse’s work permit allows your spouse to legally work for any employer in the USA.
3. Public Education
Your children will have access to schools in the USA and be able to attend classes from Pre-K to high school.
Your children that have already graduated from high school will be able to attend universities in the US without a Student Visa.
5. Social Security Number
You and your spouse will be able to get a Social Security Number.
6. Driver’s License
You and spouse will be eligible to apply for US Drivers Licenses.
The E1 Visa has 4 general requirements:
1. Import / Export
Your business must carry out international trade between the USA and your country of nationality.
For example, if you are Mexican (Mexico is on the E1 Country List) and want the E1, you must:
• Buy Mexican goods/services and sell them in the US,
• Buy US goods/services and sell them in Mexico, or
• A combination of two points of above
2. Recommended Value of Import/Export
We recommend that your business import/export a minimum of $100,000 USD worth of goods/services between the US and your country of nationality. This is roughly equal to about $8,000 a month or $25,000 a quarter (every 3 months).
3. Continuous International Trade
The flow of goods/services that your business carries out between the US and your country of nationality must be continuous. Continuous means that the international trade must occur with regular frequency, as opposed to a one-time occurrence. In other words, it is better to do $25,000 USD of trade every 3 months, than to do $100,000 USD only once. The key is that there be numerous transactions over time.
4. E1 Visa Country List
To get an E1 Visa, your country of nationality must appear on the E1 Visa Country List. To be on this list, your country must have signed a trade treaty with the US.
The E1 Visa application is a one-step process. The E1 Visa application is presented at a US Consulate outside of the US, usually in the applicant’s country of nationality. Then the US Consulate interviews the E1 applicant.
The E1 Visa application process is:
Step 1 – E1 Visa Document Checklist
Once you hire our law firm, our immigration attorney will prepare a very specific checklist of the documents needed to prepare your E1 Visa application.
Step 2 – E1 Visa Application
Once we have received your documents, the immigration lawyer will prepare your E1 Visa application.
Step 3 – E1 Interview at US Consulate
The final step of the application process is the E1 Visa Interview. This interview is done at a US Embassy/Consulate outside of the US, usually in the applicant’s country of nationality. Prior to this interview, our immigration attorney will prepare you for the E1 interview. The interview preparation includes a detailed discussion of the types of questions that you can expect during the E1 Interview.
When the US Consulate determines that you meet the E1 requirements, your visa is issued shortly after the interview.
Generally, the E1 investor visa can be issued for up to 5 years at a time. It can also be renewed in increments of up to 5 years. More importantly, there is no limit to the number of times the E1 Visa can be renewed. This means that you can live in the US the rest of your life with this visa. To renew the visa, you must continue to import/export between the US and your country of nationality. In other words, you must continue to stimulate the US economy by continuing to carry out international trade (import/export).
1. What is the E1 Visa?
The E1 Visa is a US visa that allows people to come to the US to carry out substantial international trade, i.e., import/export between the US and their country of nationality. Only citizens of countries on the E1 Visa Country List qualify for the E1 Visa. All goods and services that are imported/exported between the US and the applicant’s country of nationality count towards E1 eligibility. Examples of services that count towards the E1 visa include technology, data hosting, data processing, communications, and advertising. Additionally, traditional services such as accounting, transportation, engineering and consulting are also used to qualify for the E1 Visa.
2. Who can qualify for E1 Visa?
To qualify for an E1 Visa you should start by meeting 4 general requirements: (1) you carryout international trade between your country of nationality and the US; (2) it is recommended that you import/export no less than $100,000 USD a year between the two countries; (3) that you import/export with regular continuity; and (4) your country of nationality must be on the E1 Visa Country List. Furthermore, the business must share the same nationality as the E1 applicant. In other words, citizens of the applicant’s country of nationality must own at least 50% of the business. Additionally, the E1 Visas are not just for the business owner. The E1 is also for the employees of the business owner who have the same nationality as the business owner and are coming to the US to work as executives, managers or in a position that requires specialized skills.
3. Can I apply for an extension of stay on the E1 visa?
Yes, with the E1 Visa you may apply to extend your stay right here in the USA. In other words, when your E1 status is about to expire, you can avoid applying for the E1 visa in your home country by having our immigration attorney request that your E1 status be extended while you are present in the USA. This process is done by mail and does not require an interview.
4. Can I apply to change my status when on E1 visa?
Yes, you may change your status while on the E1. For example, it is not uncommon for people on the E1 Visa to change their status to the H1B or the L1A. If you plan to change your E1 status, it is important that you plan a suitable timeline for this process with our immigration attorney.
5. Can I continue my education on E1 visa?
Yes, the E1 visa allows you to study in the US, as long as you limit your studies to part time enrollment so that you may continue to focus on your E1 employment.
6. Can my spouse and kids also get the E1 visa?
Yes, when you get the E1 visa, your spouse and kids who are under 21 years old and unmarried, also qualify for the E1 visa.
7. Will my wife and kids be authorized to work in the US with E1 visa?
Your spouse yes, but your kids no. Spouses may apply for an Employment Authorization once they have the E1 visa in hand. The Employment Authorization document will allow the spouse to work for any employer in the US. Kids, on the other hand, are not authorized to work in the US with the E1 Visa.
8. How long does it take to process the E1 visa?
Once your E1 visa application is ready, it takes anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks on the average to process an E1. The timeline changes depending on how busy your US Consulate is. Also, the US Consulates in some countries process the E1 Visa faster than others.
9. While I am on the E1 Visa, can I apply for a Green Card?
Yes, you can apply for a Green Card while you are on the E1 Visa. Some of the most common E1 to Green Card options include (1) Green Card via a close relative who is a US Citizen or Permanent Residents, (2) Green Card via an employer who applies for your Green Card via the Labor Certification process, (3) Green Card via an employer who applies for your Green Card via the Multinational Executive/Manager process.
10. Should the importing/exporting exist before the E1 Visa is issued?
Generally yes, you must have a history of importing/exporting before the E1 Visa is issued. However, there are exceptions. For example, if you can prove that you ready to immediately start importing/exporting as soon as your E1 Visa is issued, then you can get the visa before you carry out the international trade.
11. What is the minimum international trade that can qualify me for the E1 Visa?
The flow of goods/services that your business carries out between the US and your country of nationality must be continuous. Continuous means there be numerous transactions over time. The E1 law is designed to be flexible so there is no minimum dollar value or minimum frequency. However, the business must be big enough to generate sufficient income to support the E1 Visa holder (and his family, if any) in the US.
For more information Contact Our San Antonio E1 Visa Lawyer
If you would like to set up a consultation with an immigration lawyer to discuss the time, costs and other requirements associated with an E1 Visa application, please call (210) 858-9681.