The US Department of State has made some recent changes to the validity periods for spouses and children of E-2 visa holders. These changes are outlined in the Foreign Affairs Manual, which is used by consular officers to adjudicate and make decisions about E-2 related matters.
New Validity Periods for Spouses and Children
Under the new rules, spouses and children of E-2 visa holders will only be issued visas for the duration of time that is provided for by the E-2 treaty with their country of citizenship. This means that if the spouse or child is a citizen of a country that has a 90-day E-2 treaty with the US, they will only be issued a 90-day E-2 visa, even if the main applicant has a longer visa.
This change is a significant departure from previous policy, under which spouses and children of E-2 visa holders were generally issued visas for the same duration as the main applicant. The reason for the change is not clear, but it is likely due to concerns about overstay rates among E-2 visa holders.
Impact on E-2 Visa Families
The new E-2 visa validity periods for spouses and children could have a significant impact on E-2 visa families. For example, if the main applicant has a five-year E-2 visa, but the spouse or child has a 90-day E-2 visa, the spouse or child will need to leave the US and reapply for a visa every 90 days. This could be disruptive to families and could make it difficult for spouses and children to easily travel outside the US.
What to Do if You Are Affected by the Changes
If you or your family are affected by the new E-2 visa validity periods, you should consult with an immigration attorney to discuss your options. There may be ways to mitigate the impact of the changes, such as applying for a different type of visa or filing for a green card.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind:
- In the event a spouse or children of an investors have a passport of a country that does not qualify for an E-2, then the State Department will issue a visa for the same duration as that of the primary applicant.
- The new rules do not at all affect how long spouses or children will be allowed to stay in the United States. Remember: visa duration and status are completely different things. Regardless of how long someone’s E-2 visa is valid for, all E-2 visa holders entering the country generally receive status for two years.
- The new rule has no effect on the ability of spouses or children to possibly apply for other visas, which might be advisable based on the client’s particular circumstances.
If you have any questions about the new E-2 visa validity periods, or if you need help with your immigration options, schedule a call with our experienced E-2 immigration attorneys today.
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