For E-2 Visas, do I apply at U.S Consulate or at a US Service Center? What are the Advantages of Each?

E-2 Visa for InvestorsQ. I am in the US as a visitor and wish to buy a US business and apply for an E-2 Visa. Since I am in the US, can I file the E-2 Visa application at a US Service Center in the US rather than at the US Consulate outside the US? I am from Toronto.


A. You can indeed file the E-2 Visa from within the US at your local Service Center. But there is a major downside to this. Even if you are approved for the Visa, should you wish to leave the USA after receiving the E-2, you would have to re-apply at a US Consulate in order to reenter the US. This is because only consulate issue Visas, that is, travel documents. At the Service Center, you get an E-2 but its not really a Visa properly understood. Rather it’s a status document that gives you E-2 status to work in the US. But there are no travel features associated with it.

In order words, for applicants who require to travel while on an E-2 Visa, it is strongly recommended that you apply for the E-2 at a US Consulate rather than at a Service Center.  For more information about E-2 Visas see our website here and our blogs here.

Any information provided here does not constitute legal advice and is intended for general information only. Should you require legal advise, you are encouraged to contact a lawyer directly. All blog postings are public and are not subject to solicitor/client confidentially. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case, and case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any further case undertaken by the lawyer.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the American Bar Association. He is frequently called upon to appear in the media to discuss Canadian and US immigration issues effecting North Americans. He has been interviewed by Canada AM, CTV, Canada News Net, the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star and has given lectures on immigration topics overseas.

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