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The E2 visa interview – What you need to know

The E2 visa interview – What you need to know

After submitting the required E2 documents, you will need to go to an E2 visa interview.  (There is a way to get E2 status within the United States without an interview, but we typically don’t recommend that for a variety of reasons.  We’ll cover the change of status option in another post.) This interview will be in a US consulate or embassy in your home country.  You will need to attend in person, and so will all of the E2 dependents over the age of 14.

The E2 visa interview can be a bit nerve wracking, and it is crucial to the success of your bid for an E2 visa.  As a result, we thoroughly prepare each and every client for the interview to eliminate as much of the unknown as possible.

The interview date

Depending on your home country, the application process and the interview appointment process can be a bit different.  You may submit the documents and schedule the interview at the same time.  You may need to submit documents first then wait for the consulate to contact you in order to schedule an appointment.  If you are unsure which way your home country handles this, please contact us.  We’re happy to walk you through this part of the E2 interview.

The day of the E2 visa interview

You should bring the following documents to your interview

  • A printed version of the original packet you sent to the consulate/embassy
  • Additional documents that may be important but couldn’t be submitted because of page restrictions or because you didn’t have the evidence at the time the documents were submitted
  • A passport picture taken in the last six months (it should be different than your passport picture)
  • Your passport
  • A DS-160 confirmation
  • Visa fee payment confirmation
  • Appointment confirmation

You should NOT bring the following to your interview

  • Any person without an interview appointment. They won’t be let into the building.
  • A cell phone

You will arrive at the consulate or embassy about 15 minutes before the scheduled interview time. When you arrive at the consulate or embassy, someone will ask for your interview time and reason for the interview.  This is when you will show the appointment confirmation.  You will need to go through security, and you will be shown the location of the interview room.  In some cases, you will “check in” with someone once you get to the interview room.  Just be polite an answer all questions asked of you.

All interview rooms are slightly different, but generally you will sit and wait while others walk up to windows that look similar to bank teller windows for their interviews.  Your name will be called at some point (they are typically on time) and you will take your application and confirmation pages with you to the window.

The E2 visa interview

As you approach the officer will likely be looking at a computer screen.  This will likely be the DS-160 you filled out or the application.  Most of our clients report that the officers are very friendly. You will need to give your fingerprints on an electronic pad.

After fingerprints, the officer will start asking questions.  They can ask about anything, but they will typically ask about the business.  Most of the questions will come from the business plan, so it is crucial to review the business plan very carefully. These are some of the most frequently asked questions:

  1. How did you meet your business partners (if you have business partners)?
  2. How did you get the idea for this business?
  3. How many people do you plan on hiring? What will you pay them?
  4. Why do you think you’ll be successful at this business?
  5. Where do you think the business will be in five years?
  6. How much have you invested in this business?

Your interview will last anywhere from 2-10 minutes in most cases.  These interviews are relatively short, so don’t be surprised if you are in and out of the entire process very quickly.

If you have dependents over the age of 14, they will also be called to the window for interviews.  Typically, their interviews consist of only a couple of questions.  These questions tend to be about the relationship with you, the E2 investor or employee.  They typically won’t be asked about the business plan or specific details about the business.

There are three things that can happen at the conclusion of the E2 visa interview:

  1. You can be approved. If this happens, the officer will ask for your passport.  He/she will take it in order to put a US visa in it.  You should have the passport with the affixed US visa in 3-5 business days.  The consulate/embassy will usually email you when the passport is ready to pick up, or it can be sent directly to your residence.  (Usually, these delivery details are worked out when you set up the interview appointment.)
  2. You can be denied. If this happens, you will typically get a sheet of paper and the officer will circle the reasons why you were denied.  From here, you can “cure” those problems and go back for another interview at any time.
  3. Your application can be put into “administrative review.” This is a process where additional review is needed in order for your visa to be approved or denied.  This is honestly the worst situation you can be in, since there are no time limits for review and there is really no way to check up on the status of the review.  This can go from one week to six months or even longer.  During this process, you won’t know why your application was put into “administrative review,” nor will your attorney.  It’s really a waiting game, unfortunately.

After one of these three things happen, you will be on your way.  You can leave the building, go back to your car (where you left your cell phone) and immediately text your lawyer regarding the results.  Usually, it will be a success! (The approval rates for E2 visas are relatively high.)

After you receive the visas several days later, you are free to enter the US and start working for your business!  Any other questions?  Please feel free to contact us. Rupert Law Group focuses on E2 visas, and we are happy to help you.