How does a foreign company apply for E-1 company registration?
A foreign company may register as an E-1 Treaty Trader at a US consular post to facilitate the transfer of the business owner to the United States and as well as sponsorship of foreign employees to work in the US for the business.
A company is eligible for E-1 company registration if it is engaged in trade with the United States and its owners are nationals of a country that has a treaty of commerce and navigation with the US (a “treaty country”). Below are some key requirements a company must fulfil to apply for an E-1 company registration.
Requirement 1 – The foreign company must be owned by nationals of a treaty county.
The foreign company must be owned and controlled at least 50% by individuals holding passports from a treaty country (e.g., United Kingdom). Ownership interests must be traced to the individual level.
Requirement 2 – The foreign company must be engaged in trade with the US.
Qualifying trade is defined as the existing international exchange of items of trade for consideration between the US and the treaty country of the foreign company. Items of trade include: goods, services, international banking, insurance, transportation, tourism, technology, and newsgathering activities.
Requirement 3 – The foreign company’s trade with the US must be substantial.
Substantial trade refers to the continuous flow of sizable international trade items or services, between the US and the treaty country of the foreign company, involving numerous transactions over time. There is no minimum requirement regarding the monetary value of trade or volume of each transaction, however greater weight is given to more numerous exchanges of larger value.
Requirement 4 – The foreign company’s international trade must be principally between the US and the treaty country of the foreign company.
Over 50% of the total volume of international trade (i.e., excluding domestic UK trade) of the foreign company must be between the US and the treaty country. The Embassy/Consulate will look at the one full year preceding filing the application to determine whether the foreign company satisfies this requirement.
What supporting evidence is required in the E-1 visa application?
In order for a foreign company to be granted E-1 registration as a treaty trader, it will be necessary to provide information and documentation evidencing that each of the aforementioned requirements has been met.
Such information and documentation generally includes the following, but depends on the consulate/embassy where the application is filed:
- A description of the qualifying goods or services;
- Spreadsheets listing qualifying transactions, copies of invoices, copies of air bills, and copies of shipping invoices to establish substantial trade with the US; and
- A calculation of the percentage of documented international trade between the US and the treaty country.