How to prepare for your E2 spouse visa interview
If you are applying for a derivative E2 visa as a spouse, you will be required to attend an interview as part of your application.
Visa interviews are standard requirements for applicants between the ages of 14 and 79, which means any dependant children over the age of 14 will usually also have to attend the interview.
The interview is used to confirm your identity and to confirm you meet the visa requirements as a dependent of the principal E2 visa holder.
The format of the interview and the requirements on applicants will be determined by the Consular post where you have filed your petition, and whether you are applying for your dependant visa at the same time as your spouse is applying for their E2 visa.
Applying at the same time as the primary E2 visa holder
To apply for the E visa, both principal and dependent applicants must each complete and file form DS-160.
If you file your DS-160 at the same time as the principal visa applicant, you will be invited to interview at the same time.
In most cases, the interview will focus on the principal applicant, their company and proposed activity while in the US.
As a dependent spouse, you will not be expected to answer questions relating to the E2 business unless you will be actively involved in the company.
This means the focus of the questioning is most likely to be directed at the principal applicant. The E2 visa has a complex criteria and the adjudicating officer will be looking to assess the eligibility of both the principal applicant (your spouse) and their proposed enterprise against the requirements.
E2 spouses should, however, expect to be asked to evidence your identity and your relationship to the principal applicant (e.g. marriage certificate).
Also be prepared to answer questions about your travel history, your ties to your country of residence (as the E2 visa is temporary) and planned itinerary and arrangements once you are in the US. For example:
- Have you ever visited the US before? If so, when?
- While in the US, will you maintain ties with your home country eg house, business?
- What are your plans for after the E-2 visa expiry?
Applying for the E2 spouse visa after the primary E2 visa holder
Some E2 applicants opt to stagger their petitions. In this way, the principal applicant first proceeds with their E-2 application, submitting their DS-160 and supporting documentation and then attending the visa interview.
If their application approved, their dependent spouse (and any children) then file their applications for the derivative E-2 visa. This will be followed by their interview.
As dependents are not questioned in relation to the E2 visa activity or enterprise, their applications will not be processed by the E visa unit and their visa interview will not delve into the E company. Rather, the interview will focus on confirming the dependents’ identities, their relationship to the principal applicant and the validity of the principal holder’s visa.
E2 spouse visa documentation
Ordinarily, dependants would not need to submit any documents in advance of their interview. The instructions provided by the consulate will advise if this is not the case.
However, you should attend the interview well prepared and with any required documents in the required format to support your application.
You should bring documents to prove your identity and your relationship to the principal visa holder, including:
- Marriage certificate (original)
- Birth certificate for dependant children (original)
- Current, valid passports
- Copy of the primary applicant E-2 visa
- DS 160 confirmation page(s)
- Proof of payment for application fee(s) – remember, E-2 dependents are also required to pay the $105 reciprocal fee at the visa interview.
On the day of the interview, you should arrive at the consulate office around 30 minutes before your interview is due to start, to allow time to pass through security and check in.
While you wait for your interview, your passport will be checked and your biometric information taken. You will then be called in for the interview.
In most cases, the adjudicator will advise you straightaway if your application is successful.
If you are successful, your passport will be retained while the visa is issued. You can expect your passport to be returned in 3-5 working days.
If you are asked by the officer to provide further evidence, there will necessarily be a delay in decision-making while the new evidence is considered. This highlights the importance of being well-prepared with your documents and taking advice to ensure you have thought i advance of all likely questions.
Do E2 spouses need to apply for work authorization for the US
Following a change in US immigration rules, E2 spouses no longer need to apply separately for employment authorization in the US. Spouses who are granted E2 derivative status automatically attain work authorization with their visa. This is referred to as having employment authorization ‘incident to’ their valid E2 status.
In practical terms, this means E2 spouses no longer need to apply for an employment authorization document to get a job or work in the US, although they may wish to do so as proof of their lawful working status by filing Form I-765 with USCIS for a fee.
E2 spouses are not subject the same work restrictions as the principal visa holder. There are very few limitations on the type of work an E-2 spouse can undertake, meaning they can work for the E-2 business, start their own business or take up employment for another organization, with limited exemptions.
NNU Immigration specialize in the US E2 visa. As London-based US immigration attorneys, we work with investors and entrepreneurs from across the globe to make the move into the US market through the E-2 visa route.
We can support the principal applicant, their spouse and dependants, and advise on any queries relating to the E2 spouse visa interview, including compiling supporting documentation. As with all US visa interviews, full and honest disclosure is essential, and preparation makes the difference. We can also help if you have experienced a refused E2 visa application.
Contact us for advice with your E-2 investor visa application.
E2 spouse visa interview FAQs
Is there an interview for a spouse visa?
Yes, you will need to attend an interview as part of your application for a spouse visa.
What questions are asked in a spouse visa interview?
You can expect to be asked about your relationship with your spouse, as well as questions about your plans while in the US and whether you intend to leave the US at the end of your visa and will retain ties to your home country.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.