E-2 Visa Requirements: Where do I file my E-2 Visa?

E-2 Visa Requirements: Filing

Q. We are Canadians and I will be starting a new business in the US in the cleaning industry. I will be buying a facility in Houston Texas. Myself and my family are presently there as visitors and I was told I could file my E-2 Visa application at the Service Center in the US rather than having to go to Toronto to submit it at the US Consulate. Can I do this?


A. The short answer is “Yes”.

If you are in the US, you have the option of submitting your E-2 Visa at a USCIS Service Center that has jurisdiction over your proposed place of business. However, you should be aware that, should you opt for for internal filing rather than filing at a US Consulate, you are technically applying for E-2 Status rather than an E-2 Visa. What this means is that what you get at a Service Center is the right to work at your US business but there are no travel privileges. So if during the course of your E-2 Status, you decide to leave the US and then return to resume work, you would have to re-apply for an E-2 Visa at a US Consulate. Why? Because only Consulates can issue Visas and Visas are or crossing borders.

Where we recommend you file your E-2 Visa…….

…..If you wish to travel outside the USA!

So what this all means is that if you have occasion to travel outside the US during the period you are on E-2 status, it is recommended that you apply for your E-2 Visa at US Consulate rather than at a Service Center.

I have seen many shocked applicants with E-2 Status being refused entry into the US because they filed at a Service Center. Doing it this way could result in a major disruption in one’s ability to return to work and sometimes impact on the operations of the business itself. Therefore despite the apparent convenience of filing for your E-2 Visa at a Service Center, I usually recommend the US Consulate as the better bet

For more information about E-2 Visa Requirements, go here

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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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