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E 1 Visa – What is Trade?

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This video discusses what type of business constitutes trade  for this E 1 visa. If you’d like a free consultation to discuss this topic further please call 310 496 4292 today.

E 1 Visa – What Constitutes Trade for E1 Visa Purposes

Welcome to the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram. We are delighted that you have joined us for Part 3 in our video presentation series on the E1 Treaty Trader visa. Ok – lets get started.

What Is Trade? Well, under the E 1 visa treaty regulations trade must consist of three key elements:

 – There must be an exchange of goods or services between the US and the foreign company.

 – The flow of goods and services must be international. In other words, a foreign company cannot set up in the US and serve only American clients. Instead, the flow of business must reach back to the foreign company’s country.

 – The trade must involve qualifying activities.

Ok – let’s tackle these elements in turn to see how they come together to constitute   trade.

Exchange – lets run through some examples.

Example 1:  John Smith owns a carpet store in Canada. John has found that in China Town, Los Angeles there’s a great carpet wholesaler by the name my Lee Chou who can get him the best prices. So John places an order for $10,000 worth of carpets and exports them to his Canadian store. John would like to live in the US so that he can facilitate and negotiate ongoing deals with other US suppliers and grow his Canadian business. John is currently importing $600,000 worth of carpets per year from suppliers in the US. This is would be the type of exchange or trade the E1 visa was intended for.

Example 2: Mary Jones owns a medical billing call center in the Philippines that has 100 “seats” / receptionists. Mary Jones wants to grow her call center but feels she needs to relocate to the US under the E1 visa so that she can negotiate more contracts and provide closer support to her clients. In this second example, Mary is providing a service for US companies to benefit her Philippino company.

Example 3: Michael Walker is a Commercial landlord in London, England and does quite well for himself. Michael loves to visit New York every spring to do some personal shopping and update his New York apartment. Michael might spend $250,000 a year in art and renovations to his apartment.

In this case, although Michael is clearly spending a lot of money in the US, none of these expenditures benefit his commercial business in London, and thus there is no trade. If Michael were buying New York furniture to accessorize his upscale commercial units in London then this might constitute trade depending on the overall business model.

Ok – to conclude this point, the message is we need to see two companies benefitting each other as they trade goods or services for money that enable each company to function. The E 1 visa holder(s) will be residing in the US to manage the exchange in the future. Next, we have International Flow.

International Flow – This one is quite easy and is covered well in the previous examples, essentially US Immigration is looking for the foreign company doing business in their home country to exchange services with a US company.

Thus, if a UK company sets up a branch in the US and now the US branch is doing business directly with an American client then there ceases to be international trade. What has happened is that the foreign company has simply ported its goods or services to the US and is in essence building up a business in the US.

Example 4:  John Smith having been exporting carpets back to Canada from Los Angeles for many years decided to open up a retail carpet store in Las Vegas given the amount of hotel and office space in this area. John would like to continue to buy his carpet from the same Los Angeles wholesalers.  In this situation, unless John is also still exporting at least 50% of his carpets back to Canada as before he will cease to be in E-1 visa compliance.

Type of Activity – As outlined in these examples the type of activity that the E1 visa is looking to facilitate is business-to-business exchanges of good and services internationally. The E1 visa applicant must be in business to do business with US companies. Here are some examples of E 1 visa activities: –

Import / Export

Call Centers

International Banking





Can I Qualify for an E 1 Visa to Initiate US Trade? – You can only apply for your E-1 visa once you have landed some trading contracts. Thus, you might visit the US under the Visa Waiver Program or B1 Visitor’s Visa to meet with some potential clients, since you would only be visiting for a short trip this would be permissible. Once the contracts were executed and trading was now underway you could then apply for the E1 visa.

Ok – In the next presentation we’ll discuss what “Substantial Trade” means for E1 visa purposes. Thank you for joining us and we hope you enjoyed this E 1 Visa presentation.

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram

US Immigration Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram
Chris M. Ingram LL.M., ESQ – Immigration Attorney
Admitted in New York.
Practice Specializing in US Immigration Law
401 Wilshire Boulevard, 12th Floor,
[Cross Streets 4th and Wilshire]
Santa Monica,
California 90401
Tel: 310 496 4292

Everyday the Law Offices of Chris M. Ingram provides a comprehensive range of US Immigration expertise. We also provide a free consultation for our prospective clients.

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Specializing in the E2 Visa, EB1 Green Card, L-1A Visa and O1 Visa and K1 Visa Marriage-Based Immigration. Attorney Chris M. Ingram is dedicated to providing the very best in US Immigration legal representation. Enjoy our website.

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