Important Difference Between E-2 Visa and E-2 Change of Status

Erick Widman

The E-2 Treaty Investor Visa/Status is a great option for Global Entrepreneurs. However it is important to keep in mind that there are distinct differences between the E2 Visa and the E2 Change of Status. Before you begin your E-2 journey it is important to consult with an expert business immigration attorney to determine the best option for you.

So, what are the differences between the two?

E2 Change of Status: This change of status application is available when you, as the intending E2 applicant, are inside the United States under a valid non-immigrant status such as a B-2 visitor visa or F1 student visa. You can then file a petition with USCIS to change your status to another non-immigrant status. It’s important to note that when you change status you do not get a visa, rather you get status. The terms and status obligations will be listed in the petition approval notice issued by USCIS. Based on current processing time you can obtain a decision notice on your application within 5-8 months. However, E2 Change of Status applicants have the option to apply for Premium Processing – an upgraded service where you are granted a response by USCIS within 15 days of filing your petition. There is no interview for E2 Change of Status applicants.

E2 Visa: As a E2 Visa applicant you will obtain a visa that is affixed to your passport that allows you to enter the United States under the terms of the visa. In this case – to direct and develop your E2 Business. Each visa has different terms that apply, such as different time periods of authorized stay and whether it can be used for one entry to the United States or multiple entries. This visa is filed at the U.S. consulate and embassy outside of the United States and generally an interview is handled before approval. This option does not allow for Premium Processing or similar services, however depending on your situation you could possibly obtain an expedited or emergency visa appointment.

Depending on your situation, one of the E2 options may be a better fit for you. It is important to consult with your immigration attorney before you begin your process to determine which option is best for you, along with the multiple other business-opportunity options available.

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