FAQs About Getting The E-2 Investor Visa
How Long Does The Process Take To Get An E-2 Visa?
There are two tracks to apply: One is standard processing, the other is premium processing. It also depends if you’re already in the U.S. and you’re seeking to change status from an existing visa to an E-2, or if you’re applying through a U.S. embassy abroad. Usually, this process takes anywhere between three weeks and three months.
USCIS in the U.S. has a program called “Premium Processing” whereby you pay an additional $1,225 and they give you an answer within two weeks. That doesn’t mean they will approve it within two weeks; it just means they’ll give you an answer. That answer could be a request for additional evidence but generally premium processing is faster and you’re looking at processing times around 3 weeks to 1 month as opposed to 3 months which would be the standard processing.
Is Getting An E-2 Visa An Expensive Process? Can Most People Generally Afford It?
This is a fairly pretty expensive process. You have to consider legal fees, which could be anywhere from $4,000-$5,000. Additionally there are actual immigration fees and whether or not you do the premium processing or not, which is around $1,500. It’s about on par with what you’d expect to spend for an H1B, which is a specialty occupation visa. However, it’s a little higher than other forms of visas like an F1 student visa or a J1 or other types of visas.
Could Anyone Ever Realistically Go Through This Process Alone? What Are The True Benefits Of Having An Attorney Through The Process?
You could technically go through this process alone. There is certainly no requirement in the statute or the immigration nationality act manuals that say you have to have an attorney to submit the application. However, it’s helpful to work with an attorney because they have experience in navigating these programs and processes. They are up to date on changes in the law and requirements that have to be met. Sometimes, immigration will go through phases where they are more demanding when it comes to certain financial documents as opposed to others. Therefore, it’s helpful to have an attorney to assist you to make sure you have all the necessary documentation and to avoid any delays.
Also, if you are going through Counselor processing, meaning if you are going through a U.S. embassy abroad, a lot of different U.S. embassies abroad have their own kind of idiosyncrasies and their own procedures. Therefore, it’s helpful to have an attorney who has worked with that embassy or that post before because they are familiar with the specific procedures. In order to avoid any delays, make sure that you are submitting all the evidence that will be required for a quick approval.
What Are The Main Differences Between The E-2 Visa And Some Of The Other Visa Programs For Investors?
For investors, the only true other program for investors would be the EB-5, which is the permanent residence based investment program. However, that’s a much more demanding process because there, you do have a specific amount of funds that you do need to commit; depending on the area you’re investing in, that investment would have to range between $500,000 and $1 million. You would also have to create or maintain 10 full time jobs. There is also a lot more documentation involved and the wait is also much longer to go through the EB-5 process than the E-2. In the end, however, you do get a better benefit, because you are a permanent resident.
Most people doing EB-5 first go through a conditional residency. They are first granted a 2-year residency based on their investment and then at the end of the 2-years, if their investment is still performing, then they are given the permanent residence without any restrictions. However, that’s a different process. One is a non-immigration visa, that is just temporary in nature even though it can be extended as long as you want, but the other is permanent. The other grants permanent resident, which is more of a long term immigration benefit.
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