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What is an E-Visa and Who Can Get One?

On behalf of Sayer Regan & Thayer of Sayer Regan & Thayer, LLP posted on Thursday, July 21, 2022.

The E-Visa process is a complicated and time consuming process, which is why you should have a lawyer behind you who is skilled in immigration law. E- visas are a category of visas that includes both treaty traders and investors who are coming to the United States under a treaty of navigation and commerce between this country and the country where they are a national or a citizen. Also included in this category are Australian specialty occupation workers.

E-Visa Eligibility

Prior to entering the United States, treaty investors or traders, as well as Australian specialty occupation workers, have to apply for an E-1, E-2, or E-3 visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy, according to the USCIS. Additionally, a U.S. company can request a change of status to E-1, E-2, or E-3 for a non-immigrant who is already here in the United States. The main e-visas are as follows:

• Treaty traders (E-1) trade goods, including those in services and technology, between the United States and country of origin.
• Treaty investors (E-2) invest money in and direct the operations of enterprises they invest in.
• Australian specialty occupation workers (E-3) engage in services within a specialty occupation.

For a full list of the countries that the United States offers treaties with, check out the U.S. Department of State's Treaty Countries.

Eligibility for E-1

To qualify, you must:

• Be a national of a country with whom the U.S. has a treaty of commerce and navigation.
• Engage in substantial trade
• Engage in principal trade between the United States and the treaty country that qualified you for E-1 classification.

Substantial trade basically refers to the continuous flow of international trade items of large size, involving many transactions over time.

Eligibility for E-2

To qualify, you must:

• Be a national of a country with whom the United States maintains a treaty of navigation and commerce.
• Invest in a large amount of capital in an enterprise within the United States.
• Wish to enter the United States to develop and direct that investment enterprise.

Eligibility for E-3

To qualify, you must:

• Be an Australian national.
• Have been offered employment in the United States.
• Possess the necessary credentials (academic or other)
• Fill a position meeting the “specialty occupation” description.

In order to qualify for either an E-1 or E-2 classification, you must:

• Be the same nationality as your main employer (who must possess the nationality of the treaty country)
• Meet the definition of “employee”
• Engage in duties of an executive or supervisory position or possess special qualifications.

How Can You File For an E-Visa?

You or your employer will have to:

• Follow the instructions listed on Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
• Complete and sign Form I-129
• Pay the filing fees
• Provide evidence and supporting documentation
• Create a USCIS online account to check the status (optional)

If you plan to apply from within the United States:

E-3 visas: File these documents with Form I-129:

• Labor Condition Application (LCA)
• Proof of academic or other credentials
• A job offer from your employer that says you will be working in a specialty occupation

If you plan to apply from outside the United States:

E-3 visas:

When your Form I-129 is approved, your employer will be given Form I-797, Notice of Action/Approval, and they will then forward it to you.

Apply for a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in your country of residence. You may find the Department of State’s Temporary Workers site helpful as it pertains to visa information and how to apply.

After Filing Your Application…

When your Form I-129 is received, the USCIS will process it and send you:

• A receipt notice saying we got your petition
• A biometric services notice
• An interview request
• A notice of our decision

Once the petition is approved, you will then be able to apply for an E-1, E-2, or E-3 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

As you can see, the process is a lengthy one, and it’s one that’s very time dependent. Like with all applications with all types of visas, you shouldn’t handle this task on your own. An attorney skilled in immigration law handles these types of cases every day and can ensure a smooth process for you, helping you meet filing deadlines and advising you of your next steps.

Contact Sayer Regan & Thayer

Here at Sayer Regan & Thayer, we offer assistance with both temporary and permanent visas, including E-1 Treaty Trader Visas and E-2 Treaty Investor Visas. Please contact us for your free, no-obligation consultation.

These materials have been prepared by SRT for informational purposes only and are not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

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