Learn About the E2 Visa Processing Time and Related Issues
The E2 Visa processing time can vary depending on which Consulate you are working with, but the average has been about three months. Learn more about the steps to getting an E2 Visa here.
Understanding the E2 Visa Processing Time
If you intend to relocate to the United States, you may be wondering about the E2 visa processing time. The E2 visa also called an E-2 treaty investor visa, allows entrepreneurs from countries with treaties with the United States to live in the U.S. with their immediate family while developing a substantial business.
An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, so it does not lead to a green card or citizenship. However, it is indefinitely renewable. Concerns about the E2 visa processing time may dissuade you from applying. There are two different ways to receive E2 status in the United States, and the length of time involved can change depending on the type of application and the form of processing that you use for the application.
To better understand immigration law and your options, you should consult with a top attorney from E-2VisaWorld who can provide further information. Our multilingual team has experience counseling international companies and individuals in establishing their presence in this country, as well as a special expertise in US immigration law with focus on E-2 Visa applications.
How Long Does E2 Visa Take?
The amount of time an E2 visa takes for approval can vary. It may depend on how long it takes you to gather the information needed to successfully apply. In particular, you must have sufficient financial paperwork to show that you have made a substantial investment in a commercial business in the United States that is active, real, and operating and that you are appropriately positioned to develop and direct the business.
To determine whether you are eligible for E2 investor visa status, you must have a business plan and your investment must be actively used for the company’s capital, not simply sitting in a bank account or a resource fund.
To qualify for an E2 investor visa, you must satisfy the following requirements:
- Be a national of a country with which the U.S. has a commercial treaty
- Invest a substantial amount of capital in a real business in the United States
- Plan to come to the United States specifically to direct and develop the business
If you are an investor from a non-treaty country like Russia and China, you may be able to take a Second Citizenship path through a country with a treaty.
According to the E-2 Visa investment requirements, you must show that you control at least 50% of the business in which you are invested when applying for E2 visas. Without any other factors that delay processing times, E-2 investor visa applications may be processed either in-country or out-of-country in around three months in many cases.
However, those who use the premium application process can expect that their applications’ processing times will be 15 calendar days. But, some people may not be eligible to apply for this service and may encounter additional delays with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or USCIS.
Completing the E2 Visa Application
If you are applying for the first time outside the United States, you must submit your E2 visa application, Form DS-160 to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your country. On average, the U.S. government will review your application in about six to eight weeks, but processing times may vary significantly depending on the country you are applying from. In addition, if officials are concerned that your paperwork is incomplete, they may request further documentation to support the E-2 visa application. In some cases, you may face delays related to identity checks and security procedures, and these can vary on a case-by-case basis.
On the other hand, the E-2 Visa requirements in the U.S. are a bit different. If you are applying to adjust to E2 status within the United States where you are already legally resident under another category, you may file form I-129 with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for them to review and respond. In some cases, they may send you a request for additional evidence. You will have time to prepare the requested documents, but you may expect additional delays of three to six months.
The Difference Between the E2 Visa and an Adjustment of Status
It is important to note that there is a difference between an E2 visa and an adjustment of status. If you receive the visa stamped into your passport, you can travel in and out of the U.S. and return to the country as long as your visa is valid. On the other hand, if you have changed your status, you may need to reapply if you travel extensively rather than making short trips to either Mexico or Canada.
The option to change your status to E-2 is available only if you are already in the United States under a different nonimmigrant status. Changing your status may be faster, but in some cases, it can take up to six months to process your E-2 visa, depending on the caseload of the USCIS.
If you are not in the United States, then you have to go through consular processing. That means applicants have to travel to the designated U.S. consulate or embassy in their home country. A consular officer will interview the applicant to determine whether their case is legitimate. The whole process at the consulate tends to be faster than changing your status without premium processing.
However, while your application for a change of status is pending, the maximum amount of monthly E-2 visas could be reached. That could result in serious delays. Going through E-2 visa processing at the consulate can protect you from this possibility. Therefore, if you want to travel freely and maintain your status, the E-2 visa may be a more appropriate choice, even if it takes longer initially.
The E2 Visa Process Includes an Official Interview
Once the U.S. consulate or embassy is satisfied with the documentation that you have presented, they will seek to schedule a visa interview as the next step in your E-2 visa process. The visa interview can be scheduled within a week of your application being accepted by the Consulate. Of course, this step comes only after:
- A full review of all of your documentation
- All identity and security concerns resolved
- Questions about eligibility satisfactorily answered
The availability of visa appointments may vary depending on the consulate in your country. Besides, emergency circumstances such as pandemics and natural disasters may also introduce additional delays to the consular process.
In general, applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 are required to attend an in-person visa interview. After a successful interview, you may receive your visa in about one week. If you are changing your status from within the U.S., you simply need to wait for USCIS to review your documentation before notifying you that they have approved your change in status.