E2 Visa Processing Time
E2 Change of Status Processing Times
Where you are when you apply for the E2 will determine how long the E2 processing time will be. For applicants who are in the United States on lawful nonimmigrant status, they can apply directly with USCIS. This will be a change of status process and will result in E2 status rather than an E2 visa. The forms needed to file for a change of status to E2 status will be the I-539 and I-129. As of Feb. 19, 2022, USCIS is processing Form I-129s for E2 status in 5.5 months to 7.5 months. Up to date processing times can be checked at https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. Remember though, the process can be expedited if the candidate applies for premium processing (Form I-907) and pays the fee of $2500. USCIS guarantees that either a decision or an RFE will be sent within 15 calendar days.
E2 Status vs. E2 Visa
It should be noted that although E2 status and the E2 visa will work the same and allow you to stay within the US for an indefinite amount of time as long as you still meet the requirements, E2 status will not let you re-enter the US. If you leave the US on E2 status, you will have to apply for the E2 visa from the applicable US consulate to re-enter the US. This process is described below.
E2 Visa Consular Processing Times
If you are applying for the E2 visa from outside of the United States, your application will be processed by the department of state with either an embassy or consulate. To apply from outside of the US, you will submit the DS-160 and DS-156E. Because you can apply for the E2 from either where you currently reside OR from your country of citizenship, it is worthwhile to compare processing times for different countries. For example, if you are living in Nigeria but are a citizen of Ethiopia, it would be quicker to file the E2 visa from Nigeria because as of Feb. 19, 2022, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia interview waiting time is 185 calendar days, while Lagos Nigeria waiting time is 34 calendar days.
Generally, E2 visa processing takes from a month at its quickest, to about 6 months at its slowest. However, some consulates are currently not doing any interviews, so it is important to check on this before applying. You can check an embassy or consulate’s operational status by finding them here https://www.usembassy.gov/.
E2 Extension Processing Times
An important factor to remember is that E2 holders and their dependents must extend their visas every two years to remain in lawful nonimmigrant status in the United States. However, there are no limits to the number of extensions an E2 holder can get.
When applying to extend your E2 visa, you can either leave the US and re-apply for the visa as discussed above, or you can stay in the US and file the Forms I-129 and I-539 each time. You should always file to extend the visa before your I-94 expires. This will give you 240 days that you are authorized to work while the decision for the extension is pending. If you do not file to extend the E2 before the I-94 expires, you can only stay and work for 40 days while the decision is pending. Processing times for an extension of the E2 visa are the same as those for the initial application listed above, and premium processing can be used.
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My name is Michael Ashoori and I'm a U.S. immigration lawyer and the founder of Ashoori Law. As an immigration lawyer, I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States. If you have any questions, feel free to schedule a free consultation by clicking this link.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.