Company Engages in Substantial Trade with US
According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, trade in U.S. goods and services with Canada totaled an estimated $673.1 billion in 2017. U.S./Canada trade stimulates both nations’ economies by creating job opportunities and building industries. As such, the U.S. has a clear incentive to grow international trade with Canada (and with other countries) and has created the E-1 Visa program to support trade activity.
The E-1 category is available to foreign nationals of treaty countries who wish to enter the U.S. to direct and develop international trade. The main requirements for eligibility are:
- A treaty must exist between the U.S. and the country of nationality of the foreign company. Canada is a treaty country and you can find a full list of treaty countries at the following link: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/fees/treaty.html
- The principal applicant and the company must have the same treaty country nationality. Example, the CEO of New Co. is an Australian citizen and wants to get an E-1 Visa. The CEO owns 20% of New Co. and the remaining 80% is owned by a Canadian. In that example, the principal applicant’s nationality is Australian, and the company’s nationality is Canadian. Despite the fact that both Australia and Canada are treaty countries, they are not the same treaty country so the CEO would not be eligible for an E-1.
- The company must be engaged in trade. Trade can be referred to as the exchange of goods and/or services.
- The trade must be substantial. This is the element that generally attracts the most focus. How much trade must a company engage in for the trade to be deemed substantial? It’s determined on a case-by-case basis. The volume of trade, number of transactions, and continued course of trade are all considered in the analysis.
- Lastly, the international trade conducted by the company must be principally with the U.S.
The E-1 Visa is a great option for owners and executives, but also for employees. Employees of registered “E” companies can secure E status if they have executive or supervisory duties, or if they possess essential skills. Spouses and minor children of those in E status may secure dependent status, and spouses may also secure employment authorization.