An E-2 visa is a visa that can be issued to nationals of certain countries who want to start a business in the U.S. that will ultimately hire U.S. workers. The business can be a small one that requires a small investment (eg. consulting company, gas station, pool cleaning) or a large business that requires significantly more capital (eg. car manufacturing plant, hotel).
A full set of the E-2 visa requirements can be obtained by clicking here.
When applying for an E-2 visa you can apply at a U.S. consulate abroad or if you are in the U.S. you can apply by filing a change of status application in the United States. Generally speaking, it is preferred to file E-2 visa applications at U.S. Consulates but there are some exceptions.
A full assessment of where you should apply for an E-2 visa can be obtained by clicking here.
When applying for an E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate, there are a few common steps and features which are listed below.
- Most Consulates have detailed instructions regarding exactly how they would like the submission sent to them. For example, a Consulate may want the documents broken out by certain tabs and may ask for very specific information that may differ between Consulates. Consulates are becoming increasingly particular about these instructions and will often return your submission if you do not follow them. Some Consulates that do not process many E-2 visas may not have much on their website and if this is the case we often email the Consulate in advance to ask exactly what they require.
- Almost all Consulates require that documents are submitted before the applicant goes to the interview. For example, at the U.S. Consulate in London an applicant must submit the documents to the Consulate and the Consulate will contact the applicant to set up an interview once they review the documents. The U.S. Consulate in Toronto requires that the documents be sent to the Consulate when the interview is scheduled and the applicant must schedule the interview at least 10 days from the submission date.
- Most consulates now have electronic submissions and no longer require that paper copies be mailed to the Consulate. The U.S. consulates in London, Paris, Toronto, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Sydney and many others all require electronic submissions now. The Consular websites will specify details like the file size and, whether the pdf documents should be split by section as well as the process for setting up an interview. It is important to carefully read the instructions to avoid delays. For example, while Frankfurt asks for an electronic submission, you are also required to mail in a hard copy.
- Consulates may ask for additional information before you arrive at your interview.
- The wait time for an interview ranges from a week to several months. Often Consulates will post the average wait time on their websites. To schedule your interview, you will access an online global system to set up the interview and pay the E-2 visa fee.
- Consulate interviews usually take around 10 minutes and the examiner will usually tell you at the interview whether your visa has been approved. You can find out more about the interview process by clicking here. There are rare cases where the examiner will not make a decision on the file and may request additional information at the interview in order to make the decision.
- If your visa is approved, the Consular officer will take your passport and it usually takes around 5 days to get the visa put in your passport. If your visa is denied, the Consular officer will give you a document that describes why the visa was denied. You can find out more about what to do if your visa is denied by clicking here.
- When your visa is approved, there are important things you should note regarding address change and the length of time you can stay in the U.S.. To find out more about these requirements after your E-2 visa has been approved click here.
- Consular E-2 visa decisions are final and cannot be appealed. That being said, if your case is denied, you could attempt to remedy the issue and reapply.
To find out more about our immigration and business services, contact Scott Legal, P.C.
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