How should I prepare for my E-2 employee interview?
If you are applying for an E-2 employee visa, an important part of the visa application process is attending your interview at the Consulate. There are two types of E-2 employee visas, and you should be familiar with the requirements for the specific type of E-2 employee visa you are applying for to ensure the greatest chance of success at the interview.
The E-2 supervisory or executive category refers to employees who will perform executive or managerial duties for the E-2 company. Generally, these employees will have a significant amount of responsibility for directing the organization or key departments in the organization or will manage large teams of employees. If you are applying in this category you should be prepared to explain your professional background and how it has equipped you to serve in this type of supervisory or executive role. If the E-2 company has an affiliate or subsidiary abroad where you were employed it can be helpful to mention this, although it is not required to qualify for the visa. If the company is small, you should be prepared to explain that the bulk of your time will be spent on high-level, executive tasks and if you are applying as a supervisory or managerial employee in a small company it is especially helpful to include an organizational chart. In situations where an E-2 employee is being hired to develop a or build out a new department, the organizational chart can include prospective hires to demonstrate that the role will be managerial.
The second category of E-2 employees is for specialized/essential employees. This category is for employees who have specialized or unique skills or knowledge that are essential to the success of the E-2 company. E-2 essential employees must explain whether they will be needed for long-term or short-term assignments. If you are applying as an E-2 essential employee for a long-term placement you should be able to explain why your skills are so specialized that the company needs them continuously. You must also explain why a U.S. worker could not be trained to do the job in the long run. For example, if you developed a critical product for the company and will be involved in the long-term development of that product over time, you could make a strong argument that the company would need your skills on a long-term, continuous basis. If you are being hired by the company to set up a specific function or to assist in the startup phase and train U.S. workers, it is more likely that you would be granted the visa for a shorter amount of time or would have trouble renewing in the future.
Preparing for the Interview
Prior to attending the interview, it is a good idea to answer some practice questions with your attorney, your employer or even a friend. The questions at the interview will likely focus on your knowledge about the E-2 company and what your specific role will be in that company, including your place in the overall staffing structure. You should also be prepared to answer questions about your professional background and explain how your work experiences and education have prepared you for this job. If you are young or just starting out in your career it is especially important that you are well-prepared and able to impress the officer with the depth of your knowledge about the company and the job, as well as your qualifications. You should also be able to explain why a U.S. worker could not perform the job. This is more relevant for an E-2 essential employee application, but the implementation of the Buy American Hire American Executive Order has made it so that all E-2 employees are more likely to be asked this question.
The E-2 interview is a time for the applicant to advocate for him or herself and answer any questions the officer has about the applicant’s eligibility for the visa. Preparation is critical, as is having an attorney to guide you through the process. To find out more about E-2 visas contact Scott Legal P.C.
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