Business, Immigration, Investment

The long & winding road to our E2 visa - The love affair with America begins


When we initially got our B1/B2 visa at the US embassy in Perth, we were advised that we could hop over the border to renew our 6 month I-94, but our first foray into Canada blew that theory out of the water.

A visit to my Aunt Jean came courtesy of a return ferry trip to Vancouver Island, which also gave us our first taste of Canadian Border Security versus their US counterparts. The former was so laid back and chilled – they were definitely more interested in drinking their Tim Horton’s coffee whilst it was still warm, but we did get a friendly smile and a 6month stamp in our passports, but on our return to the home of the brave and the land of the free, we discovered there was no new stamp, no new I-94, no welcome back, just all business and hurry up coz it is 11pm and dark, damp and cold.

Astoria was the first pit stop on the mainland and where we stumbled across a couple of blokes called Lewis and Clark.  The fact that we had never heard of them or their incredible 1804 trek across the continental USA mapping the landscape, rivers, fauna and flora, made us feel quite ignorant, but in our defence New Zealand is far removed from the US physically, let alone historically.

The guide at the Lewis and Clark National Park recommended that instead of paying the $25 entrance fee, we buy a yearly U.S. National Parks Pass for $80 which would give us admission to all the national parks and museums across America – great advice that saved us hundreds of dollars over the next 12 months.

A few days later we found ourselves in an Irish Bar in Tacoma and were enjoying a cold beer when a beautiful ’48 Ford Convertible pulled up. Classic cars are always a good conversation starter, and within fifty-eight seconds, we had met the car owners and their passengers. Pete and Danny were in the Coast Guard and after spending the next few days in their company, we discovered our love of American Military, and have since spent years stalking them from pillar to post, to the point we almost consider ourselves honorary Coasties. ?

We headed inland from Seattle to Walla Walla where I was totally captivated by the story of the Whitman Mission – which was an important stop along the Oregon Trail.  Dr Whitman and his wife were missionaries whose only child drowned when just a toddler and they had subsequently adopted a family of seven orphans who had lost their parents on the Oregon Trail. A measles epidemic decimated the local Indian tribe and the Whitmans’ medicine was ineffective, so despite years of peace, there was a terrible massacre and the Whitman’s, their two adopted boys and nine others were slaughtered. Forty-seven people including their five adopted sisters were kidnapped and later ransomed by the Indians.

With the sun threatening to shine, we were feeling the need for exercise, so we changed State again and headed up Bitterroot Mountain, Montana, to ride our bicycles along the “Route of the Hiawatha Rail Trail,” which was once the St Paul Railroad. The Bike Trail winds upwards to over 4000ft, through ten tunnels and over seven high steel trestles and in the early 1900’s, was the most scenic stretch of railroad in the United States. The scenery didn’t disappoint, the trestle bridges were impressive, the tunnels pitch black to the point of striking us blind, and the deer that wandered out were welcome diversions from the bitter cold and worn out bodies of us breathless bicyclists.

Calgary was calling, my relatives there needed some kiwi cousin time, so we were in the queue nice and early at the Canadian Border, ready to be waved through by yet another uninterested Border Guard, but no such luck this time - we were pulled aside and 3T (The Travel Trailer) had the indignity of a full-gloved cavity search. We sat outside on the cold wooden seat and waited with a mixture of anticipation and anxiety, as you never know what they will find offensive, but luckily the only item they were unhappy with, apart from my apple, was the pepper spray, which they advised Nick to voluntarily relinquish and save himself a penalty.

Once on the road we found the GPS was of no use, as our North American map did not include Canada, so after a few hours driving, more than a couple of missed turns, and coming to the realisation that the distance is in kilometres not miles - we found we were in Golden, BC., a whole province West of where we were headed!  Lesson learnt - check your map downloads contain what you think they do!


Claire Coleman is the new guest columnist at InvestUSA360 and is happy to now share on a series of posts all the trials and tribulations they have discovered on their journey to living life as legal aliens under the E2 visa. Stay tuned for the next chapter! 


If you are considering applying for an E2 Visa we recommend that you speak to an Immigration attorney. Our recommendation for knowledgeable and esteemed experts to guide you are the attorneys at

If you are already in the USA on an E2 Visa  please feel free to contact Zoe Adams with E2 Visa Reform to meet like minded individuals who are lobbying to have changes made to the rules around this visa or email

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