On August 21, our firm wrote about the revised reciprocity schedule for E visa classifications for France. More specifically, it was announced that the validity period of E-1 and E-2 visas issued to French foreign nationals would be reduced to 15 months, down significantly from a maximum validity period of five years (or 60 months).
When the policy was first shared with the public, the change was slated to take effect on August 29, 2019. However, the roll-out date has since been pushed back. The change in the reciprocity schedule will instead be implemented on September 26, 2019.
U.S. Practice Director, Jonathan Grode, will be in Paris at the end of September and will endeavor to meet with the Visa Chief and E-2 officer as he has done in the past. Additionally, in his role as President of the of the French-American Chamber of Commerce Philadelphia Chapter, Jonathan has been in touch with the French consular corps and hopes to gain further insight.
It is our sincere hope that this change will only last for a short period of time – adjustments to the visa reciprocity table are not uncommon, and we remain optimistic that this is a temporary rather than permanent adjustment. Importantly, adjudicative standards have not changed. While the shorter validity period is problematic and unfortunate, the level of scrutiny and the requirements for E-1 and E-2 visas has not changed. This means that new registrations and renewals should be adjudicated under existing standards.
The firm is offering free planning sessions with all current French clients in light of this change. We will continue to monitor this situation as it unfolds. If you have questions regarding the E visa classification or the impact of this policy, please contact us.