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I am in the U.S. on an E-2 visa and I need to travel to Europe. Do the travel restrictions apply to me? Will I be able to enter the U.S. if I leave?

By September 1, 2020March 29th, 2021COVID-19
Creative Commons photo by Wilerson S. Andrade - labeled for reuse.

An E-2 visa is a great option if you want to start a business in the U.S., you have invested or are in the process of investing a substantial amount of money in the U.S., and you plan to hire U.S. workers. Please see the E-2 requirements by clicking here.

Many of our clients who are currently in the U.S. on an E-2 visa and plan to travel to Europe ask us whether they would be able to return to the U.S. in light of the presidential proclamation restricting travel to the U.S. from Schengen area countries, the UK, and Ireland. There is a common misconception that E-2 investors can leave the U.S., travel to a Schengen-area country, the UK, or Ireland, and then return to the U.S.

Can I travel to Europe and return to the U.S. if I have a valid E-2 visa?

No. The presidential proclamation restricting the travel to the U.S. from Schengen countries, the UK, and Ireland applies to non-immigrant visa holders (but there are some exceptions). The proclamation does apply to E-2 visa holders – if you leave the U.S. and try to re-enter the U.S. after being present in a Schengen area country, the UK, or Ireland within 14 days prior to your entry to the U.S., you will be denied entry.

Does this mean that I cannot travel to Europe? What are my options?

There are basically two options to return to the U.S. if you have a valid E-2 visa and you absolutely need to travel to Europe:

  1. You can try to apply for a National Interest Exception at your local U.S. Consulate.

E-2 visa holders may apply for a National Interest Exception at a local U.S. Consulate. If your National Interest Exception application is approved, you will be able to return to the U.S. (note that you must return to the U.S. within 30 days of the application’s approval). For more information about the National Interest Exception, click here.

Please note that Consular Officers have discretion to grant or deny the National Interest Exception. As a result, we do not advise that you leave the U.S. to travel unless doing so is absolutely necessary.

  1. After your stay in the Schengen area, the UK or Ireland, you can fly to a country that is not on the list of restricted countries, stay there for at least 14 days, then fly to the U.S.

We generally do not advise that our clients travel unless absolutely necessary since it is always possible that new travel restrictions will be put in place that prevent them from returning to the U.S. However, after your trip to a Schengen country, the UK, or Ireland, you can travel to a country that is not on the list of restricted countries, stay there at least 14 days, then enter the U.S. Please see more about this topic by clicking here.

Please click here to read our blog post: Travelling to the U.S. from Europe during Corona Virus: Questions and Answers.

Please click here to read our National Interest Exception blog post.

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