Patrick: Really excited to have on Emre Ozgu, a managing partner at Barst LLP, the oldest law firm that’s exclusively focused on US immigration law. So in our conversation today, we’re going to be talking about a pretty big recent update on US immigration news. Emre is going to go over that, as well as what the E2 visa is, what the EB2 National Interest Waiver green card is, what the process for both those categories are, and go over most common questions.
Also, if you have questions, just type it in the comment box. And then towards the end, I’m going to talk about some of the franchise-specific examples. As well as industries that might be well suited for someone looking to apply for the E2 visa and/or the EB2 NIW. So, Emre, let’s just kick it off. Like, can you tell us a little bit about US immigration, and in 2021, and I hope we’ve kind of on the tail end of this pandemic, and hopefully give us some good news?
Emre: There finally it’s incremental, it’s slow, but the good news is coming out. It’s been a tough 18 months, almost 24…almost 2 years, and, really, the COVID situation. And not necessarily the COVID situation in the United States but the COVID situation in a lot of countries. Where U.S. consulates and embassies has really created sort of a gridlock. And created all types of barriers to people who’ll be applying for visas, and being able to travel internationally, and enter the United States. Well, slowly, we’ve been getting good news on that.
And just, within the last few days, they’ve made the announcement official that they were going to, sort of, make the COVID-related travel restrictions uniform and reduce it down to vaccination and negative testing and not require people from different geographic areas to apply for waivers to get around the bans to their entry. And as soon as that announcement was made, you’re seeing consulates and embassies around the world opening up visa appointments because there really are no COVID-related barriers standing in the way of allowing people to travel to the United States outside of the vaccination, which is good news.
It’s been tough for people here or outside of the United States not to be able to have access to the consulates and embassies. And so this is all very welcome news and, hopefully, will translate in the near future into people being able to get visa appointments at a much earlier date. I mean, you got some consulates that were issuing visa appointments for 2023. Right. So it’s been positive on that front.
And then, here, locally, like, domestically, we’re also just seeing things improve. The quality of service that we get, the turnaround time, and the processing times for some of the applications have started to drift back towards pre-COVID durations. We’re not there yet, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s improving. So it’s good. It feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel. We see the light. We’re almost there. It’ll be interesting to see what happens after the holidays. The holidays are traditionally a slow time anyway. A lot of the posts and consulates are shut down or there’s very, very limited visa appointments made available anyway.
I’m curious to see what January looks like. I’m hoping that 2022 is a return to some sort of sense of normalcy. With respect to people being able to apply for visas. Get their appointments, have the visas issued, the passports returned, and being able to travel. It’s been challenging, to say the least, for nearly two years.
Patrick: And it seems like it’s all over the place. Like, from our clients, Mexico, Chileans, they were able to get their visa appointments relatively quickly, at least for the E2 investor visa USA, but then we have clients in Canada, Brazil that were waiting to get their E2 visa, and they had appointment and just kept getting further delayed and further delayed. It looks like, finally, now, it’s sticking.
Patrick: And so they’re going to interviews in November. They haven’t changed…
Emre: Or they have to have their appointments canceled. Yeah, that phenomenon is soul-crushing. When a person gets an appointment scheduled and then, like, a week before, they were canceling it, which was fairly common. So it was really hard to advise someone with confidence, “You know what, you should pick up, leave, go outside of the country to apply to this investor visa USA appointment. They’re gonna honor it.
You’re gonna get your visa. And you’re gonna be able to return within a reasonable amount of time. And once the cancellation started, it really became difficult to say that