It may be possible to apply for an E visa in non E visa treaty countries, however, it may take longer to get a decision on your petition and in some cases it may not be the best decision to apply at a Consulate that does not regularly process E visas.
You are an Italian National and you are living in South Africa. You want to apply for an E-2 visa and you are wondering whether you have to go back to the Consulate in Italy or whether you could apply in South Africa, where you currently reside.
You are an Australian national and you are living in the UK (you have both an Australian and UK citizenship). You want to apply for an E-3 visa at the US Consulate in London and you are wondering if they will process the E3 visa petition as the UK nationals are not eligible for an E-3 visa (only nationals of Australia are eligible for an E3 visa).
Applying for an E-2 visa in a non E-2 visa treaty country
- You should reach out to the Consulate and ask if they would process your E2 visa petition. You should emphasize that you currently reside in the country where you want to apply at (so the Consulate does not think that you are forum shopping). Some Consulates that regularly process E-2 visas may have some detailed information even on their website, but for most consulates you would probably need to send an email and ask.
- You should ask in what format they want the E2 petition to be submitted (whether they want it to be mailed or e-mailed), and whether they have specific instructions about how the tabs should be organized (what exact docs you should include in each Tab).
- Sometimes applying at a Consulate where the officers do not regularly process E-2 visa can be advantage and sometimes it can be disadvantage. You should speak with an immigration attorney to come up with a good strategy on where to apply. The main disadvantage would be that the officers are not familiar with the E2 visa requirements and could wrongfully deny the visa or processing of the application could just take much longer. There are Consulates though that even though they are not located in a treaty visa country, they regularly process E2 visas and are very familiar with the requirements.
Applying for an E3 visa outside Australia
- You should reach out to the Consulate and ask if they would process an E3 visa petition. You should emphasize that you currently reside in the country where you want to apply at (so the Consulate does not think that you are forum shopping). Some Consulates that regularly process E-3 visas may have some detailed information even on their website, but for most consulates you would probably need to send an email and ask.
- You should ask what exact documents you will need to submit for the E-3 petition and whether the documents should be emailed (or mailed) to the Consulate in advance of the interview or whether it’s sufficient to bring them to the interview.
- For an E3 visa, it’s generally advisable that you apply for the E3 visa in Australia, as those Consulates are familiar with those applications and E3 visa requirements. Before Covid, many other consulates (such as for example the US consulate in Barbados) were accepting E3 visa applications, but during Covid, many Consulates started only providing their services to their own country nationals.
- The application processing outside Australia may take much longer as the officer may not be that familiar with the E3 visa requirements and may need an additional time to review the documents (either before or after interview). Again, if a particular Consulate is not familiar with the E3 visa requirements, your petition may be wrongfully denied.
To sum up, it is generally advisable to apply for an E-2 or E-3 visa in a country you are a national of, as those Consulates are the most familiar with the particular requirements, but it may be possible to apply in other countries (even if they are not E visa treaty visa countries).
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