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The Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic on E Visas

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Covid-19 E Visa Trends

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused drastic delays in the processing and issuance of E-1 trader visas and E-2 investor visas. Worldwide delays are causing frustration and uncertainty for clients, as U.S. consulates and embassies scale back on the services they provide. Prior to the global pandemic, 48,712 E visas were issued between March 2019 and February 2020. Conversely, 22,995 E visas were issued between March 2020 and February of this year, a drop of more than 52%.

The majority of posts are experiencing severe backlogs and uncertainty over when routine services and processing times will resume.  This article examines how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted some of the top U.S. posts abroad, in terms of E visa issuances. The observed countries include the United Kingdome, Canada, Germany, France, and Mexico.

London, England

London’s issuance of E visas has not faired well, they’ve experienced the most significant decline when compared to the countries that follow. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, between March 2019 and February 2020, London issued 3,081 E visas. This number fell drastically to 432 E visas issued, a drop of 86%. The sharp decline can be attributed to London’s complete suspension of E visa issuances between April and July of 2020.

Although visa processing has since resumed, clients can continue to expect delays as consulates and embassies attempt to address backlogs.

Toronto, Canada

Covid-19 has also caused a significant decline in the amount of E visas issued in Toronto, Canada. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Toronto issued 3,897 E visas. During the pandemic, E visa issuance dropped to 943, a decrease of approximately 76%.

The U.S. Embassy’s website states that they are offering limited services for non-immigrant visas and have halted processing of immigrant and fiancé visas entirely. Furthermore, they have indicated that they will not be processing applications normally and cannot give accurate processing times for most.

Frankfurt, Germany

A similar pattern has been observed in Frankfurt Germany, where 3,402 E visas were issued prior to Covid-19, while 432 were issued during the pandemic. U.S. embassies and consulates in Germany have resumed certain immigrant and non-immigrant visa services, however they have limited appointments for work visas, which includes the E visa.

The U.S. embassy’s website advises that applicants are welcome to apply at any of their 3 visa processing locations – Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich; however, availability is limited, and processing times are increased due to substantial backlog.

Paris, France

In Paris, France, 2,624 E visas were issued before the pandemic, and 1093 during the pandemic. The U.S. Embassy’s website estimates current wait times for non-immigrant visa appointments to be 316 calendar days.

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico

Ciudad Juarez, issued 1,799 E visas prior to Covid-19 and 352 during the pandemic. According to the U.S. embassy’s website, E-2 visas are only being processed in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City, and the U.S. Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez. E-1 visas are only being processed in the General Consulates of Tijuana and Monterrey

Although there are delays and backlogs, consulates are processing visas and we are seeing progress. If you need assistance with your E Visa, Scott Legal is here to help!

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