Effective March 12, 2018, the US Embassy in Paris terminated the “Golden Arrow” program. The Golden Arrow program was created as a way to expedite the E-2 visa process for critical employees of qualifying, pre-approved French-owned corporations. Typically, these companies are large companies with an established and significant presence in both France and the United States. Through the Golden Arrow program, these companies were able to quickly schedule and obtain E-2 visas for executive, managerial and essential skills positions in the United States, as the program allowed the application to bypass company’s lengthy review process and focus only on the employee.
The Embassy justified the move by stating that the program “did not significantly decrease processing times for applicants.” However, in the experience of Green and Spiegel, the Golden Arrow significantly reduced processing time for employees of Golden Arrow companies. Further, without a program like the Golden Arrow program, E-2 registered companies must submit a full E-2 Application every twelve months. These applications are currently experiencing wait times up to ten weeks. For employees of E-2 Registered companies that have submitted a full application within the prior twelve months, the wait time is still 3-5 weeks. At this stage, it is unclear if the Embassy will enact a different policy change to address typically lengthy processing times. Currently, non-“Golden Arrow” applicants can expect to wait up to 10 weeks or more before an interview may be scheduled.
Starting on March 12th, all applicants, including applicants from current Golden Arrow companies, will need to follow the standard and extensive process of submission and review regarding the ownership, income and overall operations of companies that clearly qualify as E-2 Treaty Investors. It remains to be seen whether other US embassies around the world will follow suit and end similar expedited E-2 registration programs. If you are affected by this program or have questions regarding your status or future application, contact the offices of Green & Spiegel U.S. today.