On March 8, 2016, we noted changes to E visa processing at the US Consulate in Vancouver. One question left open was the duration of visa validity for companies whose registration was close to expiring. During last week’s visit to the US Consulate in Vancouver, we got the answer we were hoping for.
Per the recent announcement, registration as an E visa company can only occur through the US Consulate in Toronto. Once the company is registered, however, subsequent visa applications for essential employees and renewal requests for the principal applicant can be submitted to the US Consulate in Vancouver. As long as company registration is valid, visas for essential employees, other investors, and dependents may be issued by the US Consulate in Vancouver and valid for up to five years. For example, if a company’s registration is scheduled to expire in ten days, the principal investor could request renewal of her E-2 visa in Vancouver and obtain a visa valid for five years provided that the registration is valid on the day of the visa interview.
Thus, it may be possible for E visa applicants to avoid trips to Toronto for almost ten years. The first application will need to go through the US Consulate in Toronto to obtain company registration. Immediately upon company registration, the essential employees, other investors, and dependents can obtain their E visas from the US consulate in Vancouver. With well-prepared applications, these visas should be valid for five years. Then, each E visa holder will need to renew his or her visa before, but close to the date of expiry of company registration. Since the renewed visas should be valid for another five years, visa holders may be able to avoid a trip to Toronto for nearly ten years.