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How to qualify for treaty trader (E-1) visa?

Two Mexican citizens established a US company to import fresh produce from Mexico and sell it in the U.S. and Canada. Each member held 50% interest in the US company. Each member invested “substantial” amount of capital and put it “at risk”. The company rented office space and and warehouse, obtained a license for the US Department of Agriculture, a Blue book rating, registered trademark, hired customs broker and incurred marketing and warehouse expenses. The company created job opportunities for US workers – hired a full time sales representative and started interviewing for other positions. During its first season, the company generated very healthy profit and took steps to increase its marketing efforts to increase sales and visibility.

We established that the trade is already in existence, it is “substantial” and principally (more than 50% of total volume of international trade) between the US and Mexico.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one treaty trader (E-1) visa case study. If you would like to obtain a treaty trader (E-1) visa, call our experienced E-1 visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Is US-Canada border still closed for non-essential travel?

The land border between the US and Canada remains closed until October 21, 2020 for “non-essential” travel. The travel restrictions do not apply to travel by air, sea and to freight rail. The “essential travel” includes but is not limited to: (i) U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents, (ii) international students, (iii) people traveling to receive medical treatment, (iv) emergency responders and public health officials, (v) truck drivers moving cargo or other individuals engaged in international trade, (vi) official government and diplomatic travel, and (vii) members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

Most U.S. ports of entry interpret the restrictions that only B1/B2 travel is prohibited, while other ports of entry interpret the restrictions more narrowly and require proof of “essentiality”. The Customs and Border Protection is still performing routine adjudications of TN and L-1 petitions at the land ports of entry, although some land ports are requiring proof that the proposed employment is “essential”.

Canada’s Quarantine Act requires anyone who is permitted to enter Canada to self-isolate for 14 days following entry to Canada (unless they are flag-poling).

Please note that this article does not constitute legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline the law. If you to schedule a consultation, call our experienced immigration attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.

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Does “trade” include only international exchange of goods for purposes of E-1 visa?

E-1 visa requires (a) a treaty, (b) the individual or business possess the nationality of the treaty country, (c) the activities the applicant will engage in constitute “trade”, (d) the trade is substantial and (e) principally between the US and the treaty country, (f) if an employee is the applicant, (s)he is destined to an executive or supervisory position or possesses essential skills to the US operation and (g) intends to depart the US when the E-1 status terminates.

The items of “trade” include but are not limited to goods, services, international banking, insurance monies, transportation, communications, data processing, advertising, accounting, design and engineering, management consulting, tourism, technology and its transfer, and some news-gathering activities.   As you can see, it does not have to be only physical goods.  Here is an example.

My client owns a Canadian franchised custom home building and renovation company that offers its clients the home building and renovation services through the company’s network of franchisees. My client formed a US company to engage in the business of offering and granting franchises in the United States.  The Canadian company provides accounting, legal, broker, marketing and training services to the US company.  There is an actual exchange of services and moneys that create transactions considered “trade”.   E-1 visa was approved quickly.

Please note that this article does not constitute a legal advice.  We simplified the law to outline one aspect of E-1 visa.   If you would like us to discuss if you qualify for E-1 visa and help us get you an E-1 visa, call our experienced E-1 visa attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online

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Expansion of Interview Waiver Eligibility for Non-immigrant Visa Applicants

The Department of State has temporarily expanded the ability of consular officers to waive the in-person interview for visa applicants applying for a non-immigrant visa in the same classification. This is a very good news. For example, I have applications to renew treaty investor visas (E-2) filed in March that are still pending and the consulate has not resumed in person interviews. Especially, for successfully entrepreneurs with solid financials who are employing workforce and otherwise meet the treaty investor visa (E-2) requirement, this makes a perfect sense.

At the time of COVID-19 pandemic, reducing in person interactions and the necessity to travel reduces the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This policy also helps with the backlog of visa applications that have been filed when the consulates were closed.

Previously, only those applicants whose non-immigrant visa expired within 12 months were eligible for an interview waiver. The expiration period has been temporarily extended to 24 months. This policy is in effect until December 31, 2020.

Please note that this articles does not constitute a legal advice.  We provided some information about the latest policy regarding the wavier of in-person interview of non-immigrant visas. If you would like to discuss if you may qualify for any non-immigrant visas, call our experienced immigration attorney attorney at 480-425-2009 or schedule your consultation online.