Your E-2 Visa Process and Phased Resumption of Routine Visa Services
Blog Post No. 3: Author, Stephen Zheng
Our previous blog articles discussed about how E-2 Visa investors can navigate the environment created by the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of routine visa services at US consulates and embassies. With the US Department of State announcing a phased resumption of routine visa services on July 14, prospective and current E-2 Visa investors should update their plans accordingly. The main takeaways from this announcement are that:
US consulates and embassies will reopen for routine visa services on a post-by-post basis. There will be no uniform global reopening on a selected date. Rather, the US Department of State is deferring the responsibility and decision to individual missions.
The State Department has explicitly defined “medical infrastructure, COVID-19 cases, emergency response capabilities, and restrictions on leaving home” as assessment criteria for reopening. While local health conditions in your country are an important factor for the US consulates and embassies to resume regular services, the manpower and budgetary resources within a mission are also an important factor to consider.
Not all visa classifications may be available for processing when a US consulate or embassy announces resuming of routine visa services. There is no guarantee that the particular visa classification you are seeking may be available upon reopening.
Depending on where you may be in the E-2 Visa process, the State Department’s announcement may affect you in different ways. Regardless, with this announcement made, all prospective and current E-2 investors should regularly monitor the websites and social media platforms of the US consulate or embassy in their country for further information.
It is critical for all E-2 investors, whether current, in-process, or prospective, to understand that it has been close to 5 months where US consulates and embassies across the globe have virtually stopped processing routine visa applications. Thus, it is very likely that will be substantial pent-up demand and backlog as US consulates and embassies reopen. Along with the shifting of the US government’s attention and resources to domestic matters, US consulates and embassies will reopen weaker than they were before the pandemic; with more caseload and less resources.
Current E-2 investors seeking an E-2 Visa to re-enter the US to attend and manage their US business should be gathering, preparing, and updating their documentation. This way, these E-2 investors may be best prepared to have their applications submitted at or around the time their local US consulate or embassy reopens.
Current E-2 investors seeking an E-2 Visa to re-enter the US to attend and manage their US business should be gathering, preparing, and updating their documentation. This way, these E-2 investors may be best prepared to have their applications submitted at or around the time their local US consulate or embassy reopens. Following the same logic, in-process E-2 investors should seek to accelerate their process and documentation-gathering if they can.
Prospective E-2 investors, who have not yet begun the E-2 Visa process, stand with the least advantage in regard to the State Department’s planned resumption of routine visa services. Since the E-2 Visa process is extensive and encompasses both business acquisition and development in addition to regular visa paperwork, the process from start to finish may take quite some months for a prospective E-2 investor. Therefore, by the time such a prospective E-2 investor is ready to submit his application, he may find himself facing a significantly large backlog and a significantly long processing time.
Unlike other visa classifications, such as the H-1B, the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa has not been restricted or suspended by federal actions. Further considering the economically vitalizing and job creating purposes of the E-2 Visa, it is difficult to fathom the E-2 Visa being affected at all – and much less in the way that the H-1B Visa has been. And so, to close with comfort, the anticipated immigration and bureaucratic environment should not cast aside a dedicated E-2 investor who seeks to establish an American business and build an American livelihood.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this article does not nor intends to constitute legal advice. All content and information within this article are for general information only.
The author, Stephen Zheng, is the founder and principal of Wealthlet Advisory, LLC, a New York Registered Investment Adviser (CRD No. 282885) dedicated to providing E-2 Treaty Investors with a comprehensive, full-service advisory solution that covers the entire E-2 Visa process (www.wealthlet.com).
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