E-1 visa is a great visa for treaty traders who engage in international trade between the U.S. and their home treaty country. The trade that is relevant for an E-1 visa is the international trade between your home treaty country and the U.S. The domestic trade (trade happening in just one country) is not relevant for an E-1.
You have a company in the UK that exports materials to U.S. clients (250,000 USD per year) The company also sells materials to UK clients (1 million USD per year) and exports materials to other countries in the world (150,000 USD per year). What trade is relevant for the E-1 visa purposes?
For the E-1 visa purposes, we can disregard all the domestic trade – the trade between your UK company and UK clients, as this a domestic trade and would not be relevant for the E-1 visa purposes. We would only look at the international trade – trade between your home country and other countries. One of the E-1 visa requirements is that more than 50% of international trade must be between the U.S. and your home country. In the example above, you would meet the E-1 “international trade” requirement as the majority of international (even though not overall trade) is between the U.S. and the treaty country.
The reason why the domestic trade (the trade in your home country, or if the business is in the U.S., then the trade between the U.S. entity and U.S. clients) is not relevant is that the purpose of the E-1 visa is to develop international trade between the U.S. and the treaty countries, and so any trade that is happening in just one country is not relevant for the E-1 visa classification.
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