An E-2 visa is a great option if you want to start a business in the U.S., you have invested a substantial amount of money in the U.S. or you are in the processing of investing the money, and you plan to hire U.S. workers. Please see the E-2 requirements when you click here.
If you just submitted an E-2 application to USCIS, you may be asking what are the next steps.
- USCIS will adjudicate your E-2 application
At the time of writing this blog post, it currently takes USCIS around 2-4 months to adjudicate an E-2 petition. If you paid for Premium Processing, then USCIS will issue a decision (approval, denial, or Request for Evidence) in 15 days. Please read our blog post on what is Premium Processing when you click here.
If you filed the I-129 form as an extension of E-2 status and it was filed before your I-94 expired, you can continue working for the E-2 company for up to 240 days after your I-94 expires. Please read more about the 240 day extension when you click here.
If you filed the I-129 form as a change of status (for example, you were changing status from B-1 to E-2), then USCIS has to first approve your E-2 petition and only after the petition is approved you can start working for the E-2 company (in this case it may be a good idea to file the case as premium processing, especially if you want to start the E-2 company’s operations and you don’t have employees managing the business).
- My spouse and children filed their I-539 petitions together with my petition and their applications are still pending
Sometimes when our investor clients pay the Premium Processing fee for their E-2 application, they are confused when their dependents’ applications are still pending after the E-2 approval. This is completely normal as USCIS does not adjudicate the I-539 forms together with the I-129 form.
Please note, that when your dependents are either changing of status or extending their status in the U.S., they will be required to attend a biometrics appointment before their change/extension of status applications can be approved. After they attend the biometrics appointments, it may still take USCIS several months to approve their applications.
- What is biometrics appointment? When does USCIS usually schedule a biometrics appointment?
USCIS usually schedules biometrics appointments within a few weeks after the I-539 application is received by USCIS. You will receive a Notice from USCIS that will include a date, time, and location for your biometrics appointment (this will be the Application Service Center (“ASC”) close to where you live).
At the biometrics appointment, USCIS will collect your fingerprints, photograph, and signature.
You should bring the ASC biometrics notice and the documents listed on the ASC notice.
- USCIS will adjudicate your dependents’ I-539 applications
It may take USCIS several months to adjudicate the I-539 applications. As long as the application was filed before the current visa status expired, they can stay in the U.S. while the I-539 petitions are pending.
Please see our blog post on this topic when you click here.
- My and my family’s applications were approved. What is the evidence of our legal status in the U.S.?
If your and your family’s E-2 applications were approved, each I-797A approval notice will contain an I-94 form, and that will be evidence of your legal status in the U.S.
Please note that the electronic I-94 system will not be updated until after you leave the U.S. and re-enter on an E-2 visa.
- My family and I want to travel abroad. Do we need E-2 visa to enter the U.S.?
Yes. One disadvantage of applying for E2 status through USCIS is that once you leave the U.S., you will need to apply for an E-2 visa at a U.S. Consulate. Please note that this is not simply a re-submission of the E-2 file that was submitted to USCIS , but you will have to submit to a Consulate a brand new E-2 application.
Please click here to find out whether it’s better to file an E-2 application at a Consulate or USCIS.
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