E-1 “Treaty Trader” Visa Applications for Italian Nationals
E-1 Visas for Italian Principals
The E1 “Treaty Trader” program permits Italian Nationals to be lawfully present in the United States for the PRINCIPAL purpose of directing and developing “substantial trade” between Italy and the United States.
Can an E-1 Business Bring Italian Employees to the United States?
Yes, a properly registered E-1 business with Italian ownership can hire Italian Nationals and bring them to the United States. These employees need to fit into one of two categories:
- Managers/Executives; or
- Staff with specialist skills
What is “Substantial Trade” for E-1 Visa Purposes?
While there is no statutory definition of the meaning of “substantial trade” for E-1 visa purposes the U.S. government does provide written guidance to their consular officers to assist those consular officers determine whether trade is “substantial” or not.
This written guidance directs consular officers to “primarily focus on the volume of trade conducted” between the U.S. and Italy and to also consider the monetary value of each transaction as well. Preference is given to cases involving more numerous transactions of higher value.
The final analysis as to what constitutes “Substantial Trade” is case specific. Our firm has been involved with cases involving the frequent export of clothing and food from Italy to the United States where higher-volume lower value transactions have constituted “substantial trade”. At the same time a lower volume of higher value goods, such as Italian manufactured machinery, has also been held to constitute “substantial trade”.
What are the Downsides of an E-1 Visa?
While there are a number of advantages and disadvantages of the E1 Treaty Trader program over the E2 Treaty Investor program there is one very significant downside to the E1 program:
E-1 treaty traders are be admitted to the United States “solely to carry on substantial trade, including trade in services or trade in technology, principally between the United States and the foreign state of which he is a national.” If an E-1 business changes its trading patterns so that it no longer principally maintains “substantial trade” with the U.S. then E-1 status will come to an end.
In one example, an E-1 business in the U.S. trading with Italy continued trading with Italy but expanded trade with other nations. The increasing trade with the other nations was deemed to violate the requirement that the “substantial trade” be primarily with Italy. In these circumstances the business was no longer E-1 eligible and its Italian employees were “out of status”.
While E-2 visas are subject to the doctrine of “substantial change” a change in or expansion of the trading patterns of an existing E-2 business might not invalidate the E-2 status of employees.
Do I have to leave the United States to Apply for an E1 Visa?
An E-1 visa can only be obtained from a US consulate outside the United States. You can apply for “change of status” to E-1 status from within the United States but you cannot obtain an E-1 visa from within the United States.
What is Davies & Associate’s Record with E-1 Visa Applications?
As of November, 2014 no E-1 visa case filed by our firm has ever been denied.
Where will my E-2 Visa Application be Processed?
While “change of status” to E-1 status is processed in the United States, E-1 visa applications are processed in consulates outside the United States.
Every U.S. consulate maintains differing procedures for the submission, processing and adjudication of E-1 visas. It is therefore critical to work with a law firm that not only maintains a U.S. presence but also has a solid understanding and knowledge of the U.S. consulate in Rome. Davies & Associates facilitates this through the firm’s direct presence in Rome.
How Critical is a Business Plan for an E-1 Visa?
Unlike an E-2 visa an E-1 visa is NOT an investor visa. That said, you do need to demonstrate that you meet the substantial requirements for an E-1 visa. Your business plan is your opportunity to explain how your immediate and long-term business objectives meet the requirements of the E1 “treaty trader” visa program.
U.S. Naturalization for E-1 Visa Holders
There are several ways for an Italian National in E-1 status to apply for U.S. Nationality. These ways include but are not limited to applying as:
- An international executive (“EB1(c)”)
- An outstanding individual (“EB1(a)”)
- Work based (“EB2/EB3”)
- Investor visa program (“EB5”)
Our U.S. offices frequently provide clients with advice on these and other processes for obtaining U.S. nationality.
Applying for Italian Nationality:
The only Route to an E-1 Visa?
Nationals of non-E1 treaty countries, such as Brazil, are unable to obtain E-1 visas. For applicants from these countries the ability to obtain Italian Nationality can sometimes be the only route to an E-1 visa. A surprisingly large number of Brazilian Nationals do qualify for Italian Nationality.
Through our relationship with Cavalier & Cavalier in Rome our firm can also assist eligible U.S., Brazilian and other Nationals obtain Italian Nationality.
5 stars and a high five! Thank you Verdie and Etta for assisting us with our change of status application. They were very professional and accommodating with all our questions and concerns throughout the process. Despite the time constraint, we pulled it off and we could not have done this without you guys! Keep up the good work!
Getting my E2 Visa was a very in-depth process that took just over a year from when I committed to it, but 8 months from when I found a business I wanted to purchase. The only reason I'm giving 4 and not 5 stars is because the timeframe was a lot longer than expected from the initial information. Aside from the timing, Verdie and his team led me through the Visa process, providing all the guidance I needed to be successful, including advising me on the RIGHT type of Visa to suit my goals. Within the process I purchased a business and the greater Davies team included lawyer Rinat who helped me put the deal together. One of the biggest parts was my Business Plan which created from my info by Ana Ortiz, who did an incredible job. The process is certainly tedious and Verdie & Christina were always there to answer my questions, provide suggestions and advice and ensure I had all the documents I needed to support my application. I appreciated their patience with my questions and their advice and in the end, the application was so thorough the interview process was quick and easy. I highly recommend Davies & Associates and look forward to working with them again when it's time to renew my Visa.
I had talked with Alex Jovy, he was very quick to respond, had a lot of useful information which I was not aware of. Took time out of his day to discuss my situation and was very helpful. They go into a lot of detail which other companies do not. Overall a great service!
I received an world-class help in how to immigrate to the USA succesfully! Alex was very open to answer my questions and is definitely a professional in what he does! Strongly recommend this firm.
We were in a hurry and Verdie and the team were highly responsive and supportive, even when we threw in some curve balls along the way. We had our visas approved without any issues and felt confident and well prepared for document submissions and the interview. I'd certainly recommend this team for an E2 visa process.
Contact Davies & Associates Offices in Italy
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Via Bonifacio Lupi, 29, 50129 Firenze FI, Italy
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Piazza Gentile Da Fabriano 3 Rome, Italy 00196
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Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, n. 15 Milan, Italy 20122
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Piazza Gen. C.A. Dalla Chiesa n. 3 43121, Parma, Italy
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