Global E2 Visa Processing Times for Treaty Investors

Support migrant centric journalism today and donate

By Sanwar Ali:


The E2 visa, the Treaty Investor Visa, is a unique opportunity for entrepreneurs and businessmen from treaty countries to establish their business footprint in the United States. However, obtaining an E2 visa, especially when the company needs to be included under the E2 visa scheme, can sometimes be daunting due to the overall process. This comprehensive guide looks at E2 visa processing times, which vary significantly across countries.

What is an E2 Visa?

Before we delve into the intricacies of processing times, it's important to understand what an E2 visa entails. The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category designed for nationals of a treaty country (a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation) who seek to invest a substantial amount of capital in a US business. Other US visas that may be relevant include B1 visa, B2 visa, L1 visa, H1B visa, and E1 visa.

E2 Visa Processing Times: An Overview

The processing times for an E2 visa application can vary significantly, depending on various factors such as the location of application (US Embassy or US Consulate), whether the business is already included as an E2 business, the applicant's nationality, and the specific visa route chosen by the applicant. Generally, the processing time can range from a couple of weeks to about five months.

Change of Status Processing Times

If an applicant is already in the US on lawful nonimmigrant status, they can apply for an E2 status directly with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This change of status process results in E2 status, not an E2 visa, and the forms required to file for this change of status are the I-539 and I-129. As of February 19, 2022, the USCIS takes approximately 5.5 months to 7.5 months to process Form I-129s for E2 status. However, the candidate can expedite the process by opting for premium processing (Form I-907) and paying a fee of $2500. USCIS then guarantees a decision or a Request for Evidence (RFE) within 15 calendar days. If possible, it is usually better to apply for an E2 visa from outside the US at an Embassy or Consulate.

E2 Visa Consular Processing Times

For applicants outside the US, the E2 visa application is processed by the Department of State through an embassy or consulate. The application forms to be submitted are DS-160 and DS-156E. The processing times differ across countries, and it's advisable to compare these times if the applicant can apply from their country of residence or their country of citizenship.

E2 Visa Success Rate: What Are The Odds?

There's no definitive answer to the success rate of an E2 visa application as it largely depends on the applicant's unique case, their country of origin, and their investment plans. If the applicant is making a large investment, and has a well-structured business plan demonstrating the potential benefits to the US economy, the chances of obtaining the visa are significantly higher. Furthermore, visa success rates have been fairly high in the past. For instance, in 2017, the success rate was 90%, which slightly dipped to 89% in 2018 and 2019, and dropped to 88% in 2020.

E2 Visa Renewal: Securing Continuity

The E2 visa is granted for an initial period of up to five years, but it can be renewed indefinitely, as long as the treaty investor continues to meet the visa requirements. The renewal process is very similar to the initial application, with the main difference being that the applicant must demonstrate continued investment and commercial activity in the US.

E2 Visa Versus E2 Status

While the E2 visa and E2 status grant the same privileges and allow indefinite stay in the US as long as the requirements are met, there's a crucial difference between the two. If an individual leaves the US while on E2 status granted from within the US, they will need to apply for an E2 visa from the applicable US Embassy or Consulate to re-enter the country.

E2 Visa Extension Processing Times

E2 visa holders and their dependents must continue to extend their visas towards the end of their validity period, to maintain their lawful nonimmigrant status in the US. The extension can be done either by leaving the US and reapplying for the visa or by staying in the US and filing Forms I-129 and I-539. The processing times for the extension are similar to those for the initial application, and premium processing can be used for faster results.

E2 Visa for British Citizens

Although the E2 visa is available for citizens of all treaty countries, the process varies based on the applicant's country of origin. For instance, the processing times for British citizens, where the company is not already registered under the E2 category, are slower compared to most other countries. Furthermore, obtaining initial permission for the E2 business takes longer for British citizens.

E2 Visa Processing Times: A Global Comparison

Understanding the processing times for E2 visa applications across different countries can help applicants make informed decisions. For instance, the processing times are faster in the US, but applying from within the US is generally not advisable due to the complexities involved.

The table below provides a comparison of E2 visa processing times across a few selected countries:

CountryAverage Processing Time
United Kingdom4-5 months
Canada2-3 months
Australia1-2 months
Germany2-3 months
Japan1-2 months

Please note if the business has already been approved as an E2 business processing time is likely to be faster.


The E2 visa is worth considering for foreign entrepreneurs seeking to invest in the US and their employees. While the process might seem complex and time-consuming, for nationals of E2 Treaty Investor countries this category may be the only feasible option. helps with US Work Visa: L1, H1B, E2, and O1 Visas

There are various types of US visas that individuals can apply for, depending on their circumstances. Some of the most common employment-based visas include:

  • L1 visa: This visa is for intracompany transferees who work in managerial or executive positions or have specialized knowledge.

  • H1B visa: This visa is for specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise in specialized fields.

  • E2 visa: This visa is for investors who have made a significant investment in a US business and, management or essential skills employees.  Only certain nationalities can apply.

  • O1 visa: This visa is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics. is a specialist visa services firm with over thirty years of experience dealing with visa applications. For more information and advice, please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at sends e-mail)