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AILA Urges State Department to Address E-Visa Processing Delays

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E Visa Processing Delays

E Visa Processing Delays: Recently, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) sent a letter to the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to address ongoing issues with E-1 and E-2 visa applications. In addition, AILA offers a number of suggestions in the letter that could be implemented to address issues with E visa applications.

Background on E-1 and E-2 Visas

The nonimmigrant visa categories treaty trader (E-1) and treaty investor (E-2) are named after formal treaties that the United States has signed with dozens of other nations. An E-1 visa can be applied for by a citizen of a nation with a qualifying treaty in order to engage in substantial trade with the United States and the nation with the treaty. In the meantime, a citizen of a treaty nation can use the E-2 visa. To develop and run an enterprise in which the applicant has invested a significant amount of capital. A principal trader or investor or an employee of a trader or investor company. May meet the requirements if they are citizens of a treaty country.

Unlike most work visa categories, which require the prospective employer in the U.S. to file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), most E-1 and E-2 applications are filed straightforwardly with the consulate. Although the application process varies from consulate to consulate. It typically involves submitting the application and waiting for the package to be reviewed before scheduling an in-person visa interview.

Also, there is an E-3 nonimmigrant visa category, which depends on a treaty between the U.S. furthermore, Australia and is basically the same as the H1B category. However, applicants for the E-3 visa have not typically encountered the same difficulties as those for the E-1 and E-2 categories.

Significant E Visa Processing Delays

Numerous U.S. consulates experience significant processing delays for E-visa applications, as noted in the AILA letter. For instance, the U.S. Embassy in Rome typically takes more than a year to process an E visa application. Worse still, initial E-1 and E-2 visa processing has been completely suspended at numerous US consulates. Including those in Barbados, Colombia, and Chile.

AILA Recommendations

AILA argues that these cases should be given priority due to the fact that the E-1 and E-2 visa categories are intended. Among other things, to aid in the expansion of the U.S. economy and the creation of American jobs. In the letter, AILA proposes that the DOS make a U.S.- based group that can survey. And maybe even settle E-1 and E-2 cases filed at U.S. offices. Additionally, AILA urges the DOS to help potential E visa applicants in locating U.S. consulates. That is able to expedite the processing of applications submitted by citizens of third countries.

[January 2023 Visa Bulletin]

Additionally, despite the fact that E-visa applicants are not specifically excluded from eligibility for an interview waiver. Consulates typically do not waive the interview requirement in these cases, according to AILA. At the very least for renewal cases filed through well-established E-1 and E-2 entities, AILA suggests consulates begin waiving interviews.


It goes without saying that applicants for an E visa aren’t the only ones experiencing issues as a result of visa processing delays. We ask the DOS to work quickly to solve the visa appointment backlogs that continue.

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