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Do I need an office space to get an E-1 visa?

By May 4, 2023E-1 Visa
An office team working in office space

E-1 visa is a great visa for treaty traders who engage in substantial international trade between the U.S. and their home country. The E-1 visa can be granted for up to 5 years, depending on your country of nationality.

One of the common questions we get about the E-1 visa is whether you need an office space to qualify for the E-1 visa.

The answer is that you generally don’t need an office space. If your E-1 business is located in the U.S., then you already may have an office/warehouse space and you could submit the office space/warehouse space lease agreements with your E-1 petition. If your business is located outside the U.S. but you will be opening an office in the U.S. where you will work, then again you can submit the lease agreement with the application.

While having a physical office space is not required for an E-1 visa, in some cases, the government may want to see it as it would make sense for the business to have an office/warehouse space.

Example 1

You will be making products in the U.S. and then exporting them to your home country Italy. In this case, the government may want to see the office/warehouse/manufacture facility agreements to see where the products will be made or stored, so you may want to pro-actively submit them with your petition.

Example 2

Your U.S. Company is a service-based company and will be providing consulting services to clients in Italy. You have 3 employees already in the U.S. If you don’t have a commercial office space, then you should be ready to explain to the officer where the employees will be working from. If they will be working from home and it makes sense for the business, then you can explain it in the application/if asked at the interview and point to the global trend of working from home.

Please see our blog post that discusses some Major differences between the E-1 and E-2 visa here.

Please see our blog post on What business is good for an E-1 visa here.

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