Determining the E2 Visa Processing Time
In this post, I share tips for finding the E2 visa processing time.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – this should be a straightforward topic, right? But trust me, figuring out the processing time for the post through which you plan to file your E2 visa application can be surprisingly tricky.
Whenever I talk to prospective clients, they always ask two questions – how much do I have to invest, and how long will this take? Today, we’re focusing on the second question. The length of the process will depend on a few different factors, including how quickly you can establish your business and gather all the required documents. But there’s one factor that’s not within your control – how long it takes the US consular post to make a decision on your application.
Each consular post deals with unique staffing and caseload issues that dictate the speed at which they can process cases. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, some posts had the resources to handle their backlog of applications, while others struggled to keep up with the demand for E2 visa interviews.
Tips for Finding the E2 Visa Processing Time: DOS Websites
Now that we covered the background, how can you find the E2 visa processing time that applies to the post through which you are planning to apply? In the past, the State Department posted estimated wait times for the E2 visa. This was nice, but unfortunately these projections weren’t always accurate. And they were eventually removed.
If you check the State Department website today, you will see projections for a bunch of different types of visas, but you won’t see E2 visa wait times. But don’t worry – I’m hoping this is just temporary, so check back whenever you’re thinking about applying to see if there are any projections available.
Another way to check the E2 visa processing time is to visit the website of the post through which you will apply. Some posts will provide information on processing times, and if they don’t, they’ll often list an email address. You can use that email address to respectfully ask how long it will take to schedule an interview after submitting the application. But keep in mind that many posts are overwhelmed and may not have the resources to immediately respond.
Relying on Experiences of Other E2 Visa Applicants
If you can’t obtain this information from the post, you can try to rely on the experience of others to gauge how long the process will take.
If you have an E2 visa lawyer, they may be able to tell you how long it has taken their other clients who have recently applied. Or, they may be able to obtain this information from colleagues. For example, I file a lot of cases through London and Toronto. If you ask me about the E2 visa processing time in London or Toronto, I can tell you how long it has taken recent clients. And when I don’t have any recent experience with a particular post, I can reach out to amazing and generous colleagues across the globe who can share their experiences.
If you don’t have an E2 visa lawyer, you can join groups on Facebook or other platforms where you can find people who have recently applied and are willing to share their experiences.
Reviewing E2 Visa Statistics
If all other options have been exhausted, you can gain a general understanding of the waiting period by analyzing the nonimmigrant visa statistics provided by the State Department. For instance, if the embassy or consulate where you submitted your application granted hundreds of E2 visas in the previous month, it’s indicative of their efforts to process cases and schedule interviews swiftly. Conversely, if no E2 visas were granted, it may suggest that the embassy or consulate isn’t receiving many applications or has de-prioritized E2 visa applications. If that’s the case, prepare for a potentially lengthy wait for an interview.
Premium Processing for E2 Visas?
What about premium processing? Many prospective clients will say that they have heard or read that there is a way to pay more money to have your application processed faster. Unfortunately, for those applying for the E2 visa, this is not currently an option. However, for people who are already in the US on a valid visa, they can apply for a change of status through USCIS. This type of application can be expedited for an additional fee. However, if you apply through USCIS, you will not have a visa. You will just have E2 status that disappears as soon as you leave the US (with some minor exceptions for travel within North America). For this reason, I discourage my clients from taking this path in most circumstances.
In conclusion, determining the E2 visa processing time can be a challenging task. While you can start by searching on official government websites, if that approach proves unfruitful, you may want to turn to alternative sources, such as feedback from your attorney’s previous clients or online forums where individuals who have completed the process share their experiences.
I hope this information has been useful.
Thanks for your time!
Ben Frear, Esq.
Immigration Lawyer for Entrepreneurs