The United States’ E2 Visa is Experiencing Approval Drops

The 2020 financial year hasn’t gone well for the US.

The year started on 2019’s October for the US. During that time, just 23,492 visas were issued, showing a 47% drop from the past year (which was at 43,286).

What Caused the Decline?

A suspension of visa services at worldwide consulates seems to be the case.

That suspension comes from the State Department. And it seems to be a measure against COVID-19 challenges.

Still, the services started to kick into effect again July last year through what the US government called a “phased resumption.”

But, the services aren’t back in full. Nor is there a date provided as to when all visa services will return globally.

The Issue In-Depth

The main problem has less to do with pandemic travel restrictions. It’s related to the fact that many consulates aren’t processing E2 visas right now.

Even some of those who returned to processing are closing down again. This might end up creating a large backlog for newer E2 issuances.

What Were Visa Issuances Like?

A quick look at non-immigrant visa issuances at consular posts (which includes E2), shows that 3.6 of 4.4 million visas were issued in the first ½ of the year.

Thus, only 82% were issued during the first half.

The issuance values dropped drastically around April 2020. There hasn’t been a recovery since then to pre-March 2020 levels.

Regardless, monthly approval rates have been rising (very slowly) since July 2020. They even tripled the lows of December, but are yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels.

Most of that has to do with less applications being submitted. In fact, many consular posts have a large backlog of E2 visa interviews under review.

What About Nationality Distribution?

E2 investors haven’t changed much in 2020.

By far, Japanese investors remain the largest group. Next come Canadians, followed by South Koreans, then Germans.

Canadians were the largest sourcing market from the Western Hemisphere. It’s estimated that in 2020, 2500 visas were issued to them.

Germany comes next, with 1487 approved applications. This however represents half the accepted value of 2019.

Amounts Raised

While visa issuance was abysmal in 2020, the program still did raise a sizeable amount of funds.

It’s estimated that the program raised up to $6billion in investment funds (assuming each investor contributed $250,000).

However, rejection rates did experience a hike. They were 10.6% in 2019, compared to 12.2% in 2020.

Both were much lower than 2018’s rejection rates, where 24.7% of applicants had their attempts denied.