Sanwar Ali comment:
Ever since 1815 when the first E2 Treaty Investor visa and E1 Treaty Trader visa scheme was introduced for UK citizens, the scheme has been there to encourage trade and investment in the US. Huge fee increases and reducing the validity period of E2 and E1 visas for nationals of an increasing number of E2 and E1 Treaty Countries is hardly in keeping with that philosophy.
As part of the Trump “Buy American Hire American” policy it is perhaps not surprising that the E2 visa and E1 visa scheme is being targeted. There is no quota on the number of visas and for applicants for most Countries the visa fees are very reasonable. There has also been a significant increase in the refusal rate.
Dutch nationals are the latest to be hit with US E2 visa validity reductions. The US Department of State (DoS) recently announced the revised reciprocity schedule for the Netherlands, which includes a huge fee increase for E1 and E2 visa applications, rising from $0.00 to $2,228.00.
Meanwhile, the E1 and E2 visa validity period for Dutch nationals was slashed from five years to three years. The Netherlands is the latest country to be hit by changes to US reciprocity tables in recent months.
US visa validity periods cut for many countries
In August 2019, Workpermit.com reported that E1 and E2 visa validity for French nationals had been cut from five years to just 15 months. Even more surprisingly, in January of this year, the DoS announced that L1, E1 and E2 visa validity for Israeli citizens, which only agreed a treaty deal with the US in May 2019, would also be reduced.
L1 visa validity for Israeli citizens was reduced from 60 months to 48 months, while the E1 visa duration was cut from 60 months to 52 months. The E2 visa validity period suffered the greatest reduction, dropping from five years to two years. The US F1 student visa validity period was also slashed for Israeli citizens, from 60 months to 41 months.
L1 visa fees increase for Netherlands
In addition to E1 and E2 visa validity periods being reduced for Dutch citizens, the DoS announced an L1 visa fee increase, rising from $0.00 to $73.00. Meanwhile, US F1 and F2 visa validity periods were also cut for citizens of the Netherlands, dropping from 60 months to 50 months.
The US Department of State determines reciprocity requirements for certain visa types. Additional fees and visa validity periods are decided based on an applicant’s nationality.
According to the DoS website, reciprocity is defined in the following way: “When a foreign government imposes fees on US citizens for certain types of visas, the United States will impose a reciprocal fee on citizens of that country/area of authority for similar types of visas.”
Further to E1, E2, F1, F2 and L1 visa fee and validity changes, fees for the US R1 visa – a non-immigrant program for religious workers – also increased from $0.00 to $73.00
More countries expected to be affected by US visa fee increses
It’s expected that more countries will be affected by fee increases and visa validity reductions across all categories in the coming months. The changes will largely be a result of the Trump administration’s efforts to further restrict immigration to the US.
Under Trump, there has already been a slump in the number of successful US visa applications across several categories, including the H1B, L1, E1, E2, F1 and F2 programs.
In the run up to the US presidential election on November 3, 2020 it’s likely that Trump will further tighten US visa restrictions to fulfil a number of key pledges made as part of his campaign that got him into office. Trump was recently acquitted after facing impeachment.
Workpermit.com can help with E1, E2, L1, H1B and B1 in lieu of H1B, B1 Business Visit Visas, E3 Visas and other types of US Visas
For more information, or to find out if you are eligible for a US work visa, contact WorkPermit.com on 0344 991 9222.