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My E-1 visa was granted: things to keep in mind

By December 23, 2021E-1 Visa, Immigration
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E-1 visa is a great visa option for people who engage in international trade between the U.S. and their home country and the trade is substantial. There are several things you should keep in mind after your E-1 visa petition got approved to make sure you always maintain your status. We will go over some of them in this blog post.

I. If you move, you have to change your address by filing from AR-11

If you are in the U.S. on an E-1 visa (or any non-immigrant visa status), you have to update your address by filing form AR-11 every time you move. This is extremely important and you should do it within 10 days after you move. Please see our blog post that discusses the importance of filing the AR-11 form here.

II. Your I-94 governs your stay in the U.S.

Regardless of the end date of the visa petition the expiration date on the most recent Form I-94 marks the end of your lawful admission to the U.S.  E-1 visa applicants are granted 2 years on E-1 status each time they enter the country and after that, you must either apply for an extension in the U.S. or reenter the U.S. using the valid Visa. Please see our blog post on I-94 and E status when you click here.

III. If your spouse wants to work in the U.S., he/she will need to apply for a work authorization

If your spouse gets an E-1 visa and is in the U.S. on an E-1 status, he/she will need a work authorization to be able to work in the U.S. The current processing time is around 6-7 months, so it’s good to apply for it as soon he/she enters the U.S. on an E1 visa for the first time.

IV. Ownership in the E-1 entity

If you were granted an E-1 treaty trader visa, then you have to keep at least 50% ownership in the entity at all times. If the company was registered as an E-1 entity, then nationals of a treaty country always have to keep at least 50% ownership. Please see our blog post on registering an E-1 company here .

V. Your children only qualify for an E status until they turn 21

It’s important to keep in mind that your children only qualify for an E-1 status as long as they remain unmarried and they are under the age of 21. Sometimes CBP may erroneously issue them an I-94 with an expiration date that is after their 21st birthday, but this is an error and if they stay past the 21st birthday, they would be overstaying and violating their status. Please see our blog post on this when you click here.

VI. You have to remain a national of a Treaty country

You have to remain a national of a Treaty country to maintain your E-1 status. Additionally, if you become a green card holder, you may continue owning/working for the E-1 company, but this would impact the status of any employees you have in the U.S. on an E-1 employee visa. Please see our blog post on what happens if you Adjust status from E-2 to a green card here.

VII. The trade should continue to be substantial and principally between the U.S. and your home country

After your E-1 visa is granted, the trade should continue to be substantial and more than 50% of international trade between the U.S. and your home country. This is extremely important especially for renewing your E1 visa. Please see our blog post on E-1 renewals here.

VIII. You are only allowed to work for the E-1 company

Generally, the E-1 treaty trader is only allowed to work for the E-1 entity. This means, that you cannot for example accept a job offer for a part time employment for some completely different company (e.g. to work as a manager in a local supermarket).

IX. You don’t have to live in the U.S. once you get an E-1 visa

It is not mandatory that you live in the U.S. once your E-1 visa is granted. This means, that you could live in a your home country and only visit the U.S. for couple days/weeks/months per year on an E-1 visa and that would be fine. Please see our blog post on Whether you need to live in the U.S. if you have an E-1 visa here.

X. Once you get your E-1 treaty trader visa or once your E-1 company is registered, you can hire E-1 employees

Once you get your E-1 treaty trader visa, or after you register your E-1 company, you can bring E-1 employees to the U.S. There are 2 categories of employees you could bring from your home country: (i) executive/managerial employee, (ii) specialized skills employee.

These are some of the things you should keep in mind after your E-1 visa is granted. If you have any questions about maintaining your E1 status, you should speak with an immigration attorney.

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