E2 Visa Processing Time: Everything You Need to Know

E2 Visa Processing Time - Everything You Need to Know


The E2 visa is a powerful tool for investors and entrepreneurs too. With an E2 visa, you can start a business in the United States and run your business. For many investors, a primary consideration is how long it takes to process their visa.


In this guide, I’m going to discuss the E2 visa processing time. If you have any questions, or need help with your E2 visa, please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com I’m happy to help.




1. Introduction to E2 Visa

2. Difference Between E2 Visa and E2 Status

3. E2 Visa Processing Time (Visa Processing)

4. E2 Visa Processing Time (Change of Status)

5. Conclusion


1. Introduction to E2 Visa


The E2 visa is an investment-based non-immigrant visa for investors and entrepreneurs. The basic idea of the E2 visa is that it allows you to invest a “substantial” amount of money in a U.S. business. Based on your investment you are able to live in the United States and operate your business.


The E2 visa is based on a treaty, so in order to qualify for an E2 visa, you must possess the nationality of a country that has an E2 treaty with the United States.


The E2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, meaning that it is temporary and does not lead to a green card. However, the E2 visa can be renewed without limit, as long as the E2 business continues to satisfy the E2 visa requirements.


To get an E2 visa, there are 8 main requirements:


1. You must be from a country that has an E2 treaty with the U.S.

2. You must have the “intent to depart” the United States once your E2 status ends

3. You must invest a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business (I typically recommend at least $100k)

4. Your investment funds must have been obtained lawfully

5. The U.S. business must be an active, for-profit business

6. The U.S. business cannot be a marginal enterprise

7. The invest funds must be put at risk (they cannot just be deposited in the businesses operating account. They should actually be committed and spent)

8. You must be coming to the U.S. to direct and develop the E2 business


2. Difference Between E2 Visa and E2 Status


Before we discuss the E2 visa processing time, it is very important to know that there are 2 different ways to go about the E2 process:


  1. Get an E2 Visa
  2. Apply for a Change of Status to get E2 Status


There are multiple differences between getting your E2 visa or doing a change of status to E2. See below for a discussion regarding the differences.


Getting an E2 Visa:


By getting approved for an E2 visa, you get a physical visa affixed to your passport. With an E2 visa, you can freely travel in and out of the United States as long as your visa is valid. Upon each entry to the United States you are permitted to stay continuously for up to 2 years with E2 status.


In order to get an E2 visa, you apply directly to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy. Depending on your situation, you will most likely be submitting your E2 application to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy of your home country.


To apply for an E2 visa, you submit a Form DS-160. You also submit all the supporting documentation proving that you satisfy the E2 visa requirements.


Once your application is reviewed and accepted by the Consulate or Embassy, you then schedule an appointment for a visa interview. At the interview, the consular officer may ask various questions regarding your investment, source of funds, etc.


After a successful interview, you should receive your E2 visa within a week.


Applying for a Change of Status to E2 Status:


If you’re already in the United States in some other valid non-immigrant status, you may be eligible to do what is called a change of status. A change of status is the process of going from one non-immigrant status to another non-immigrant status. By doing a change of status, you do not get an E2 visa, instead you get E2 status.


With E2 status, you have all the same rights to work for and operate your business in the United States. The main difference has to do with travel. With E2 status, if you leave the United States, you lose your E2 status. In order to travel in and out of the U.S. and keep your status you will need an E2 visa.


To do an E2 change of status, your immigration lawyer will file a Form I-129 with USCIS. Along with your Form I-129, your immigration lawyer will file all the supporting documents showing that you satisfy the E2 visa requirements.


The entire change of status process takes place in the United States through USCIS. You do not need to leave the United States or do an interview.


Now that we talked about the difference between an E2 visa and E2 status, let’s talk about the E2 visa processing time for each of these options.


3. E2 Visa Processing Time (Visa Processing)


Here is a breakdown of the E2 processing time if you are applying for an E2 visa:


Step 1. Submitting your E2 visa application to the U.S. Consulate or Embassy


Once you submit your E2 visa application with the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, it takes on average about 6 to 8 weeks for them to review your documentation. The length of time it takes to review your application varies depending on the particular consulate or embassy. Once reviewed they can either accept the documentation and move forward  to scheduling a visa interview, or they may ask for additional documentation to clarify something.


Step 2. Visa Interview


Once your application is accepted, the next step is to schedule a visa interview. Typically an interview can be scheduled within 1 week of your application being reviewed and accepted. This varies depending on the particular consulate.


Step 3. Getting the Visa


After a successful visa interview, you should be issued your E2 visa within about 1 week.


Total E2 visa processing time (visa processing):

  • About 3 months with no delays



4. E2 Visa Processing Time (Change of Status)



Here is a breakdown of the E2 processing time if you are doing an E2 change of status:


Form I-129 Processing


Once you submit your Form I-129, it takes about 2 to 3 months for USCIS to review and issue a response. If USCIS approves your I-129, your change of status begin from the date specified on your approval notice.


However, USCIS may issue a request for additional evidence (RFE). If an RFE is issued, USCIS will give you time to prepare the necessary documentation and send it back. USCIS will then take additional time to review and respond based on your additional information. An RFE can cause an additional delay of 3 to 6 months.


Premium Processing


One of the benefits of doing a change of status through USCIS is that USCIS offers a premium processing service for an additional fee (currently $1,225). If you elect to do premium processing, USCIS must review your petition and issue a response within 15 days.


Keep in mind, premium processing only requires USCIS to issue the initial response within 15 days. So if the initial response is a Request for Evidence, USCIS is no longer required to issue a response within the 15 day timeline.


Total E2 visa processing time (change of status):


  • Regular processing: About 2 to 3 months (with no RFEs)


  • Premium Processing: 15 days (with no RFEs)



5. Conclusion


The E2 visa is a great option for investors and entrepreneurs to start a business in the U.S. and work for that business. The E2 visa processing time will depend on whether you do a change of status or whether you apply for an E2 visa.


If you are applying for an E2 visa, the E2 visa processing time takes about 3 months on average.


If you are doing a change of status, the processing time depending on if you elect to do premium processing or if you do regular processing. With regular processing, if no RFEs are issued, it should take about 2 to 3 months. With premium processing, if no RFEs are issues, it should take 15 days or less. Keep in mind, RFEs can delay the process.


If you have any questions about anything discussed in this guide, or if you need help getting your E2 visa, please feel free to contact me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I’d be happy to help you.







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Michael Ashoori Headshot

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.