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The E-2 Visa Interview

This post discusses the all important E-2 visa interview.

When you apply for the E-2 visa abroad, you should expect to attend an interview before your application will be approved. This interview is anxiety inducing because you will have a lot on the line. You will have already made a large investment in a US business. And a denial would cost you additional time and money. 

So you want this process to go smoothly. But how do you know what to expect? Well, I can’t tell you exactly what to expect because all posts have distinct procedures that they follow. But, I can give you an idea of what to expect and offer some tips that will help you prepare for this big interview.

Items to Bring to the Interview

First of all, what will you bring with you?

This information will come from the consulate of embassy through which you are applying. But generally, at a minimum you will bring your DS-160 confirmation page, interview confirmation, your passport and a hard copy of the full application package and a credit card to pay the reciprocity fee if that applies in your situation.

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What to Expect Upon Arrival at the Consulate/Embassy

Before you arrive, take a look at your post’s website to see if they have any information on entering the building. You can expect security to be tight. You will go through metal detectors. It is unlikely that you can enter with laptops or any other larger electronic devices. Don’t expect to be able to bring in large bags or backpacks. There is typically a pre-security check and then a pre-interview check where they sort you by the type of application you are making. Depending on the post, this can be a little confusing. If you are in doubt about what you are supposed to do, don’t panic, just ask for assistance.

What to Expect During the E-2 Visa Interview?

Length of the interview

The length of the interview will depend upon the officer and the questions they have about the information that you presented in your application package. In my experience these are generally pretty short because the posts will typically reach out if they need further information. To give you an idea, my last one lasted about 5 minutes and the officer asked only one question about job creation.

What will the officer ask?

I don’t know exactly what they are going to ask you, but expect questions to be relatively basic, such as:

Q: What is the nature of the business?

Q: How much capital are you investing into this business?

Q: What kind of employees are you expecting to hire?

Q: How many employees will you hire?

Q: How did you arrive at your personnel projections?

Q: How did you arrive at your revenue projections?

Q: How are you going to market this business?

Q: What will be your client base?

Q: Do you have any existing customers already or are you in discussions? 

Q: Have you hired any employee or advertised to find employees?

Q: What type of office do you have?

Q: Have you conducted a similar business before?

NOTE: This is a common question. If this is the first time you are setting up a business, don’t worry. Just try to relate your experience and skills to the new business.

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General Interview Related Tips

  1. Be prepared to talk about your business. 

This shouldn’t be that hard, because no one knows your business as well as you do. And you will naturally be able to talk about your plans.

2. Know how you qualify. 

When you apply initially, you will submit a brief in support of your application that explains how you meet all of the requirements. Review this document. Be ready to explain the factors that demonstrate your qualifications.

3. Know your specific investment amount. 

4. Have a firm grasp on the financials of your company particularly as it relates to your past expenditures.

5. Study your table of contents.

The purpose of this is to be able to quickly and easily find information if the officer asks about a particular document.


Common Sense Interview Tips

Here are a few common sense tips that will hopefully help you reduce your anxiety…

  1. Know where you are going.

When I took the bar exam after graduating from law school, I had to travel to a different city. I arrived the night before the exam. I got a good night’s sleep so that I would be fresh. It was super important for me to be at my best because if I didn’t pass this exam, I wouldn’t be able to practice law after putting a ton of time and effort into it.

So, I was ready to go. But, I didn’t know exactly where the exam was being administered. Of course, I had the directions, but I had never actually been there.

As a result, on the morning of the exam, I missed my exit and I was panicking, thinking that I would be late and be unable to sit for the exam for another 6 months. I eventually made it. But I could have saved myself a ton of anxiety if I would have scoped out the location the day before.

So, if you are unfamiliar with the consular post or embassy, check it out the day before the interview. Know where you will park. Calculate how long it will take you to get there. Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes early in case there is traffic or some unexpected slowdown. 

2. Dress Professionally

Also, this is the time to put away the sweat pants or yoga pants and break out the suit or the professional attire. Dress like you are going to the bank to apply for a loan. This is totally a cliche, but if you look good you will feel good and more confident going into the interview.

3. Do Not Interrupt

Finally, do not interrupt the officer. Let them take the lead. This sounds obvious, but when I get nervous, I talk too much. And when I do this, I tend to interrupt people. You will likely be nervous, but that is ok. The nerves will help you perform. But remember to slow down. Listen to what the officer is saying and calmly respond.

Conclusion: The E-2 Visa Interview

By following these tips and the instructions that are given to you by the post, you will be prepared and you will be ready to confidently and calmly talk about your business and your qualifications for the E-2 visa.

Thank you for your time!

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Benjamin Frear, Esq.

Immigration Lawyer For Entrepreneurs and High Growth Companies

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