WHAT IS THE PROCESS FOR APPLYING FOR AN E-1/E-2 VISA IF I AM OUTSIDE THE US?
- Application Preparation: Before submission, you need to prepare a strong application to meet all of the legal requirements for E-1/E-2 eligibility. Your application must show proof of trade, business ownership, employment qualifications, and intent to depart the US. This process can take several weeks or months, depending on your individual circumstances.
- Application Submission: Once you’ve compiled all the necessary documents, you’ll need to submit your application on online Form DS-160 and pay the DS-160 fee. Then, follow your embassy-specific instructions about processing the E-1/E-2 visa–all embassies and consulates have different instructions and processes.
- Visa Interview: You will have a visa interview at the US embassy or consulate. The availability of interview slots vary widely (from a few days to many months). During the interview, the consular officer will review your application; ask you questions about your trade, business, and qualifications; and make a determination about your eligibility for the E-1/E-2 visa. Sometimes you will get a decision on the spot, and you’ll be given instructions about how to pick up your passport once the visa is put into it. Or, you may not get a decision and you will get paperwork letting you know that you need to provide something more to the embassy. Or, your case may go into administrative processing. Or, you may get paperwork showing that the visa was denied and for what reason.
- Administrative Processing: In some cases, the US embassy/consulate will tell you that your case is under “administrative processing.” Generally, you will not be told why your case is under administrative processing, nor will you be told how long this step will take. It could take months, even years.
- Visa Issuance: If your visa application is approved, the U.S. embassy or consulate will affix the visa to your passport. You’ll need to wait for the processing of your passport with the visa sticker, which can take a few days to a couple of weeks.
Processing Time: Overall, the entire process from application submission to visa issuance could take several weeks to a few months. However, processing times change, and the processing time at the time you submit your application may not continue to be the processing time as the case is being processed.