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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Michael Niren

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 Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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