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Considerations for Long-Pending E-2 Visa Applications

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The global pandemic has had a significant impact on U.S. visa processing. In 2020, most Consulates completely stopped processing U.S. visas and when visa processing started again there were still extensive delays. Visa processing has returned on an ad-hoc basis that is very Consulate-specific and there are still delays at many Consulates as of March 2022.

Even for applicants who were able to get appointments in 2020 or 2021, sometimes they chose to delay the appointments due to COVID-19 concerns. Applicants who were already in the U.S. may also have chosen to change or extend their status from within the U.S. to avoid international travel. As a result, there are many visa applications that have been pending for up to 2 years, where the applicant is just now attending the interview. This post is meant to address some considerations for applicants with long-pending E-2 visa applications.

My E-2 visa application has been pending since 2020. How should I prepare for the interview?

  • Contact the Consulate in advance: Each U.S. Consulate has their own procedures for E visa applications, so it is a good idea to contact the Consulate a couple months in advance of your interview to ask if they would like you to submit additional documents ahead of time. Some Consulates may instruct you to bring updated documents to the interview, while others may want you to submit the documents ahead of time. For example, the U.S. Embassy in London has asked applicants with long-pending E-2 applications to email any updated documents a few weeks prior to the interview, as they have a paperless system.
  • Prepare supporting documents: If you are applying for an E-2 renewal, you should provide updated tax returns, a current Profit & Loss statement, updated W-2s, 1099s & proof of business activity. If the company had financial issues caused by the pandemic, you could also consider including a business plan that describes the company’s plan to get back on track. If this is your first E-2 application you should be prepared to explain the current status of the business and provide new documents, such as an updated 5 year business plan, an updated lease agreement and proof of any additional investment. If you hired U.S. employees to run the business in your absence you can provide tax returns, W-2s and proof of business activity.
  • Be prepared to discuss the company’s status over the past 2 years: If you submitted an application in 2020 and you are attending the interview in 2022, the officer will want to know how the business has fared since you submitted the application (if the business has been running during that time). Prepare a concise summary that highlights the progress and growth of the business and/or explains your plan to get the business back on track if there were setbacks in 2020 and 2021.
  • Review the Consulate’s procedures: Many Consulates have enhanced safety procedures due to COVID-19. Depending on where you are traveling from, you may also be required to quarantine prior to your interview. You should check the Consulate’s website and reach out to them to ensure that you meet all the travel and quarantine requirements to be able to attend your visa appointment.

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