E1 and E2 Visa 2023 Summer Trends
As is always the case in the world of E2 visas and E1 visas – the trends are always changing. For those of you thinking about getting an E1 visa or E2 visa, this post will give you some information about the trends for these visas in summer of 2023. Overall, the news is positive.
Faster processing times We’re seeing that visa processing times in most U.S. consulates around the world are almost back to 2019 (pre-COVID) time frames. This means in many countries, once an applicant submits documentation to the consulate for the E-2 visa or E-1 visa, he or she can expect to have an interview within six to ten weeks. This is great news for international investors!
Unfortunately some consulates continue to be backlogged, and some are still not processing E2 visas. The reasons for this are unclear. That said, we have had success with visa processing in Toronto, Canada for those who are not able to go to their home consulates due to backlogs.
Increased number of E2 and E1 visas In addition we’re seeing a lot more E2 visas and E1 visas being processed. The top three consulates processing the most E2 visas in May of 2023 include the following:
U.S. consulates in Tokyo and Toronto are perennial all-stars – they are always processing high volumes of E2 visas. However, Seoul is a bit of a surprise but great to hear. We’re also seeing many E2 visas and E1 visas processed in other countries. Some of the major consulates and embassies that are experiencing much higher volume in May of 2023 than only one year ago in May of 2022 include the following:
- Mexico City;
- Tel Aviv;
- Madrid; and
- All of the consulates in Australia – Melbourne, Perth and Sydney
Of course, there are many more consulates processing E2 visas and E1 visas – this list includes the consulates that are interviewing the most E2 visa and E1 visa applicants.
Changes for E2 visa family members Historically the spouse and unmarried minor children of an E2 visa applicant or E1 visa applicant would always be given the “visa reciprocity” of the main applicant’s passport. For example, if the applicant is from Canada and all of the family members are Chinese citizens, the family members would be approved with the visa time frame and the visa fees of the Canadian treaty agreement. (Canadians applying for the E2 visa typically get the visa for five years; and they will need to pay a “reciprocity fee” to the U.S. government of $40.)
Beginning this summer, that has changed for some families. In the prior example (the E2 visa applicant is a Canadian citizen, the spouse and the kids are Chinese citizens) all will still be processed as Canadians as far as the Visa reciprocity (five years’ validity and $40 visa reciprocity fee. However for those who are citizens of a different treaty country the family members will be processed with their own country’s visa reciprocity time frame and fees.
As an example – The E2 applicant is a Canadian citizen, and her spouse and unmarried minor children are French citizens. When they go together to the interview in Toronto, the spouse and children will be processed under the French reciprocity agreement. This means that the spouse and kids will be approved for 25 months and will pay no additional fee. The main E2 applicant will be approved for five years and will pay a fee of $40.
To recap the changes:
- If you and your spouse and children all have the same country passport, there is no change.
- If your spouse and your children have non-treaty country passports, there is no change.
- If your spouse and children have different passports from a treaty country, they will be approved for the reciprocity of that treaty country – not the main applicant’s reciprocity scheme.
Of course, there is one exception: If the main E2 visa or E1 visa applicant’s reciprocity is for less time than the family members, everyone will be processed with less time. So let’s change up the example a bit: the main applicant is a French citizen and the spouse and children are Canadian citizens. The main applicant will be approved under the French reciprocity agreement – meaning, he will be approved for 25 months. The spouse and kids will also get 25 months of validity, even though their home country’s agreement is for five years. In other words, the family members will never be approved for LONGER than the main applicant; but, they may be approved for a SHORTER time frame than the applicant.
This change brings about a few questions that we don’t yet have answers to. For example:
- What about dual citizens? Which visa reciprocity schedules apply?
- Can the family members “choose” which passport to use?
- What documents are needed for renewal in the case that the main applicant hasn’t renewed yet, but the spouse and kids need to get another visa?
We’re waiting for more guidance from the Department of State regarding the answers to these questions, and as soon as we know we will update here.
Overall, 2023 has brought positive trends for the E-2 visa and the E-1 visa. We are seeing reduced processing times and increased volume in various consulates and embassies worldwide. While some changes have been implemented for E-2 Visa and E-1 visa family members, we will continue to monitor developments and provide updated information. If you have any questions about your E-2 Visa or E1 visa application, or if you are considering an E2 or E1 visa, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It would be a pleasure to help you and your family.
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