E-2 visa

The US Embassy in France had told MP Roland Lescure but never confirmed publicly. The State Department has still not issued a press release, nor answered our questions, but this morning updated its website by changing the validity period of four visas. The new rules are therefore official.

Whereas it was previously 5 years, the E visa goes to two years (25 months exactly). It's better than the 15 months initially announced in August. In negotiations with the French government that increased from 15 to 25 months, the State Department also undertook to simplify the renewal procedures. But no precision has yet been provided in this sense and the procedure remains for the moment identical.

The other change concerns French companies that have a US subsidiary and want to send a French employee there. This is the L visa, which goes to 17 months instead of the 5 years that could be granted previously. But beware: this does not necessarily mean that the duration of the work permit will be reduced. "For visas L, H and O, this is called the "petition", authorization issued by the US administration which fixes the duration, explains Hervé Linder, a lawyer based in New York. For an L visa, this period is usually 3 years (but can be up to 7 years). Clearly, this "petition" is to be distinguished from the visa itself, which is the document stuck in your passport by the US Embassy and used to cross the border. So, your "petition" can still be granted for 3 years and you can stay 3 years in the US and work there. But if you want to travel abroad beyond the 17 months of your visa, you will have to renew it in France. "The process is simpler than the petition initial, just make an appointment with the US consulate to renew the vignette ", note Hervé Linder.

Two other visas are also changing. The F visa (students) is now valid for a maximum of 20 months (or less depending on the actual duration of the studies envisaged), instead of the maximum 60 months before. Finally, the R (religious) visa goes from 5 years to 15 months.

Only absent from this list, the H visa, whose duration was to go from 3 years to 20 months. But this is only part of the delivery: this change should, according to Roland Lescure, come into effect next January. The validity period of other visas does not change.

These changes only concern visas issued from today. Visas already issued thus retain their initial duration.


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