E2 visa interview questions
If you are looking to financially invest in a business in the United States, and to oversee the running of that business, you will need an E2 visa. The E2 investor visa will allow you to start a brand new life in the States, provided you can prove that you meet all of the requirements. Even though the E2 visa is a temporary nonimmigrant visa, one of its main benefits is that it will allow successful entrepreneurs to extend their stay in the US on an unlimited basis. This means that if your business takes off, you may be allowed to stay in the States indefinitely.
However, applying for an E2 visa can be a complex process, demanding extensive supporting documentation. You will also be asked to arrange an appointment to attend an interview with a consular officer to answer various questions about your application and the information provided in it.
In this guide, we look at the types of E2 visa interview questions that you might be asked as the principal investor, to help you prepare in advance.
What should you expect at an E2 visa interview?
The purpose of the E2 visa interview is multifold. It is not only to verify your identity, but to validate the information provided in your online application to ensure that you satisfy all of the eligibility requirements under the E2 investor route, and to ask any additional questions. Your visa application, and supporting documentation, will already have been reviewed by the E-Visa Unit, but there may still be a number of matters that will need to be verified in person.
The interview will typically be conducted by a single consular official, who may ask you a broad range of questions about all aspects of your application and your proposed stay in the US. There are a number of questions that are asked of almost every applicant, regardless of the type of visa sought. You may also be asked a number of very detailed visa-specific questions.
The consular officer will usually start the conversation with a few simple questions, often based on general information contained within your visa application, building up to more detailed and in-depth questions. If you fail to answer all E2 visa interview questions fully and correctly, or if you simply fail to attend your E2 visa interview without any or any reasonable explanation, it is most likely that your application for an investor visa will be refused.
What general E2 visa interview questions could you be asked?
The type of E2 visa interview questions that you could be asked can vary, depending on where you are based and where you will be attending your interview. For example, ‘E2 visa interview questions London’ could differ to the ‘E2 visa interview questions Paris’ or ‘E2 visa interview questions Sydney’. Much will also depend on your individual application and personal circumstances. However, in all cases, the consular officer responsible for interviewing you is likely to ask a number of general questions about your intentions, including:
- Why are you planning to travel to the US?
- What will you be doing during your US stay?
- Where will you be living in the US?
- How will you be funding your trip?
- How long do you intend to stay?
- Have you visited the US before?
- Do you have any relatives based in the US?
- Do you intend to settle in the US permanently?
In many cases, the answer to these types of generic questions may seem obvious from the nature of your application, after all, you have applied to invest in either a US start-up or an existing US enterprise, and will be actively working for your business during your stay. However, the interviewing officer may want you to explain your US plans in your own words. In this way, they can assess whether or not your stated intentions are genuine.
You will also usually be asked about your initial itinerary and accommodation arrangements on arrival in the US, as well as your long-term plans. The E2 visa is a nonimmigrant visa, and not a direct route to settlement, but it is a ‘dual intent visa’. This means that applicants can apply for permission, and remain in the US, on the basis of concurrently intending to leave the States on expiry of their visa and to remain in the States on a potentially permanent basis.
Put more simply, a dual intent visa will give you the option of both staying and leaving the States, but given that it is not a green card, you must still satisfy the consular officer that you will be retaining ties to your country of residence, at least for the time being.
What specific E2 visa interview questions could you be asked?
When applying for a visa to create a US start-up or to invest in an existing US enterprise, you must be able to satisfy a number of strict eligibility requirements. As you will only be asked to attend an E2 visa interview once your application and supporting documentation has been approved by the E-Visa Unit, you will have already satisfied all of these requirements on paper. This will include proof of business ownership, investment, marginality and qualifying nationality. However, the consular officer may still want to verify some or all of these matters.
It is therefore important that you carefully review your E2 visa application, including your application cover letter and any business plan, together with all other documents submitted in support. In this way, you will be able to answer any specific questions around any aspect of your application. You should also attend the interview with complete copies of this paperwork, mainly for your own reference, so that you can refer back to this if needed.
To be eligible for an E2 visa, you must be a national of a treaty country, coming to the US to solely develop and direct the operations of an existing or new business in which you have invested, or are actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital using lawfully obtained funds. You must also be able to show at least 50% ownership or possession of operational control, such as through a managerial position, and that the US enterprise has the capacity to be more than marginal. Below we highlight some of the common topics that you may be asked about during interview when it comes to these requirements:
- The nature of the US enterprise that you have invested in
- The amount of money that has been invested in that business
- The source of funds used to invest in the US business
- The fact that your investment is committed to an active US business
- The extent to which you will be involved in the running that business
- The nature of the role that you will be undertaking in that business
- The extent of any professional experience in running that type of business
- Whether or not you are capable of developing and directing the US business
- Your personal and financial circumstances in your country of residence
- Your current job role, and salary or professional income, in your country of residence
- Any other sources of income that you may have, including pensions and savings
- Any other business interests that you may be actively involved in
- The financial and personnel projections for the US business
- Your intentions to return to your country of residence after expiration of your E2 status.
What personal E2 visa interview questions should you prepare for?
In addition to the strict eligibility requirements for an E2 visa, other questions that may be asked at interview could focus on your personal circumstances, including if you have a criminal record or a history of any previous immigration violations. This is because certain suitability requirements must also be met before an E2 visa can be issued.
If you have ever been arrested, cautioned and/or convicted of an offence, even if this is classed as spent in your country of residence, you are required to declare this. In cases where an arrest resulted in a criminal conviction, you may require a waiver ineligibility to travel to the US. In other cases, the consular officer may be able to exercise some discretion, depending on your answers to any questions given during your E2 visa interview.
If any family are applying at the same time for a derivative visa, you should also be prepared to answer questions around the nature of your relationship. Ordinarily, any dependants should accompany the principal visa applicant to the E2 visa interview, although they may be asked to attend an interview separately. Children under the age of 14 are not usually required to attend an interview in person, although some documentary proof that they are physically present in the relevant country at the time their application is submitted may be required.
What E2 visa interview documents should you bring with you?
You will be required to attend your E2 visa interview with various documents, although for principal investors these will be for administrative purposes or mainly biographical, including:
- your application confirmation sheet
- a copy of the fee payment receipt
- a printed interview appointment confirmation page
- copies of current and expired passports
- evidence of any previously issued US visas
- evidence of your immigration status for the country in which you reside
- two recent 5 x 5cm colour photographs
- a hard copy of your full application and documentation.
You may also need to provide additional documentation, if not already supplied with your online application. This could include an ACRO certificate if you have ever been convicted, cautioned and/or arrested; any documents relating to being denied entry into and/or deported from the US; a letter from your doctor detailing your existing state of health if you suffer from a medical condition that could have some bearing on your eligibility for a visa; and evidence of ties to your country of residence, such as bank statements or property records.
This list is not exhaustive. You should always visit the website for the relevant Embassy or Consulate to see what documents you are required to bring with you to an E2 visa interview.
How can you maximise your chances of being granted an E2 visa?
Obtaining an E2 visa to allow you to start-up or invest in an existing US enterprise can be a complex process. There are several different eligibility requirements that must be met, where you will need a number of documents in support to satisfy these requirements. You will also need to satisfy the consular officer responsible for interviewing you that you meet all of these requirements and that your intentions are legitimate. This means that you must be fully prepared to answer any questions that are asked of you at interview.
By seeking expert advice from an immigration specialist, this will help to maximise your chances of being granted an E2 visa. Your advisor can help you to navigate the documentary requirements for an E2 visa, and help you to prepare for your E2 visa interview questions, so that you have a clear idea of what you might be asked. Every application is unique, where your legal advisor will also be able to highlight in advance any possible complications, such as any previous convictions or history of immigration violations, and how these issues need to be handled during your interview to give you the best possible chance of being granted a visa.
An application for an E2 visa carries with it significant financial risk for E2 treaty investors, where you must start or buy a stake in a US business before you can even apply. This means that if you are not approved for an E2 visa, someone else will have to oversee its operations, so it is vital that you prepare in advance to maximise your prospects of a successful outcome.
NNU Immigration are dedicated US immigration attorneys based in London. We provide specialist advice and guidance on E2 visa applications, including the E2 supporting documents you should compile and include include in your submission and how to prepare for your interview. For advice and support with your application, contact us.
E2 visa interview questions FAQs
What questions are asked at E2 visa interview?
The type of E2 visa interview questions that you will be asked can vary, depending on the Embassy or Consulate you attend. You may be asked about specific E2 eligibility requirements or other questions relating to your personal circumstances.
What is the success rate of E2 visa?
The approval rate for E2 visas is reported to be high, relative to other nonimmigrant visas, as the US government is keen to encourage investment in the States. However, the requirements are still strict, so expert advice should be sought.
Does E2 visa need interview?
Having submitted an online application and supporting documentation, this will be reviewed by the E-Visa Unit. You will then be asked to attend an Embassy or Consulate interview to verify that information and to answer any other questions.
What happens at E2 visa interview?
An E2 interview will typically be conducted by a single consular official who may ask a broad range of questions about all aspects of the application, from general questions about long-term plans to questions about visa-specific requirements.
This post does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.