Announced on March 5, 2019, the U.S. State Department has reduced visa validity length for Pakistani nationals. According to the State Department, this decision was made after Pakistan failed to “liberalize its visa regime” and fix the discrepancies between their US visa regimes and the visa regimes of other countries. The US was forced to reduce the visa validity to match Pakistan’s practices for similar visa categories. The types of visas that are affected by this change include:

  • I visas: reduced to 3 months
  • H visas: reduced to 12 months
  • L visas: reduced to 12 months
  • R visas: reduced 12 months

Currently, the validity period for B visitor visas and E investor visas have not changed and remain at 5 years.

Visa Validity Period

The amount of time an E-2 visa can be granted for varies by country and depends on the agreement (the legal term is reciprocity) between the applicant’s country and the United States. Some countries, such as Egypt and Bangladesh, have reciprocity periods of as little as 3 months while other countries allow applicants to get an E-2 visa for up to 5 years. Even in cases where the country reciprocity allows the applicant to apply for 5 years, the actual amount of time granted to the applicant is also based on the discretion of the consular officer adjudicating the application. A consular officer may issue less than the maximum period if they would like to monitor the progress of the business and see if the business is on track after a year or two. When the applicant comes back to renew the visa and the consular officer sees that they have hired employees and the business is a success, they are more likely to issue the visa for a 5-year period at that point.

Other changes made during this announcement include fees for I visas have increased to $32, and fees for H, L and R visas have increased to $38.

To find out more about the new rules or other investor visas, contact Scott Legal, P.C.

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Ian E. Scott, Esq. is the Founder of Scott Legal, P.C. He can be reached at 212-223-2964 or by email at info@legalservicesincorporated.com.


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