We have been hearing from our German E visa clients that the new E visa officer in Frankfurt is getting a lot tougher.
E visas include the E-2 investor visa, for people who invest money to
open their own business, and the E-1 trader visa, for people who
conduct a substantial amount of trade between the U.S. and their home
One German client seeking a new E-2 visa was scolded by the E visa
officer and was told to come back after he invested more money and
created more jobs (despite giving evidence that his investment was
sufficient for the type of business he was opening and despite giving
professionally prepared financial projections showing that the business
would not be marginal).
Another German client was approved for an E-2 visa, but the E visa
officer told the client that they had researched competing businesses
in the town where his business would be located to see whether his
business concept was viable.
A third Germany client was approved for an E-2 visa, but she said it
was a scary experience. The following are excerpts from her description
of her E-2 interview in Frankfurt:
I have got the 5 year visa and the 2 years [I-94 card] when entering
the USA. But I can tell you, it was hard work with the visa officers in
I don’t know how detailed you know about the whole procedure, but I will let you know:
First of all, there are no parking lots any more for applicants on the
grounds of the consulate [this has changed since last year] – there
were a lot of them still in December.
Before you can enter the building you stand in a long line outside the
building to get a number – you have to show the passport, the
appointment notice, the receipt that the Rosko bill confirming the fee
was paid and the DS-156.
When you have got your number you have to pass the security check. [It
is] way more harsh than at the airport, no electronic devices, no cell
phones or laptops, not even a light with battery on your key chain (a
man was sent back to leave that at the kiosk somewhere around the
Then you walk to another building and when entering there you are given
a piece of paper stating in what order your paperwork has to be
arranged: passport, receipt, D 156, envelope with stamp and address.
Then you wait in a big hall with lots of chairs and people with all
kind of nationalities (not too many Germans) – all the counters from
number 1 to 22 along the wall – you see smiling and not smiling people
leaving these people behind their glass wall – until your number is
called for the first time (counter 1-7 on the right hand side).
The lady that called my number for the first time that day (she was
German) was very unfriendly. She said she would need a resume with 4
copies and something else I forgot and she wanted to send me away
already. I told her, that I had a FREV (E-2) appointment and had sent
in a big package with all the information and business plans etc. [for
the application]. She said, there is nothing like that in the computer,
she would know if there was some paperwork from me – there is nothing.
Luckily, I had a copy of everything, which your office gave to me. I
gave that to her and the said, “Don't put anything over the counter
unless you are told to….” Then she walked away and came back after a
while, took the copy, walked away again and told me later to take a
seat until my number will be called again.
Two hours later my number was called again. I had already figured out
which counter might be most likely my counter (Nr. 14). There were also
more than two FREV (E-2) appointments a day and I had the impression,
that there was another counter for E visas, because at these 2 counters
the officers had to read first a whole big application for at least
half an hour, then
called the number and the conversation with the applicants lasted at least another half an hour.
The application of the lady ahead of me had been denied ($35,000
already invested) and I thought to myself, “ok, he has had his denial,
now he can approve mine.”
The officer questioned me about a previous B visa application that had
been denied for more than 20 minutes. He obviously had a comment in his
computer from the officer from the last application. I don't know what
it was, but it must have been something seriously bad – I felt like a
suspect. After telling him my whole story of life regarding plan plans
in the U.S. and that I didn't know when I applied for a B visa that I
would eventually decide to open a business in the U.S. and give up my
business in Germany, we finally came to talk about the E-2 visa
application (he then had the original and the copy).
Finally he started getting more relaxed. He liked the idea for the
business and the name. He wanted to know whether the store was now in
its final shape to open immediately. I told him yes and that the goods
are already in Tampa…..and then he finally said: your application is
approved….It took 6 days, until the passport with the visa has been