E-3 Visa for Australians
E-3 visa regulations went into effect on September
2, 2005. Qualified Australians are now eligible to apply for E-3
visas in order to live and work in the United States. This visa
is only available to Australian citizens only.
The E-3 is a new visa for Australian nationals
to work in specialty occupations in the United States.
It has several advantages over the
H-1B, which is similar in requirements, including the ability for
spouses of E-3 primary recipients to apply for work authorization
after arrival in the United States.
To qualify for an E-3 visa, an applicant
1. That he or she must have a
legitimate offer of
employment in the United States; and
2. That the position he or she is
coming to fill
qualifies as "specialty occupation" employment; and
3. That he or she is an Australian
4. That he or she has the necessary
academic or other
qualifying credentials, i.e. a university degree in a subject
normally required for entry level in the "specialty occupation"
employment offered; and
5. That his or her stay will be temporary;
6. If required, that he
or she has the necessary license or
other official permission to practice in the "specialty
certain engineers, secondary school teachers,
Frequently Asked Questions about E-3
Q: What is an E-3 Visa?
A: The E-3 is a new visa category only
for Australian citizens going to the
States to work temporarily in a
"specialty occupation" job that has been offered
them by a U.S .employer.
Q: Who qualifies for an E-3 visa?
A: The new E-3 visa classification currently
applies only to citizens of Australia as
well as their
spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to
the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The
spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. Please note
that the United States does not recognize De Facto relationships,
and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate
from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Q: I am a permanent resident of Australia but
don't have citizenship. Can I apply for an
A: No. E-3 visas are available only
to Australian citizens.
Q: Do I have to find a job in the United
States first before applying for an E-3 visa?
A: Yes. You need to have a job offer
from the U.S. before you can apply for the E-3 visa.
Q: Can I go to the United States to find
a job and then apply for the E-3 visa from there?
A: No. You cannot apply for an E-3 visa from
within the U.S. through a Change of Status (COS).
You must apply for an E-3 visa at a US Consulate abroad, either
in Australia or in another jurisdiction that will accept processing
of the E-3 Visa. There is no other way.
Q: Can I travel to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver
Program to find a job or attend interviews
and then apply
for the E-3 visa once I return to Australia?
A: Yes, you can travel on the Visa
Waiver Program (VWP) if you meet the requirements. If you do not
meet the VWP requirements, you may be eligible to travel on the
B-1/B-2 Combined Visa for Business or Pleasure. But you must leave
the U.S. before applying for your E-3 visa.
Q: Can I apply for an E-3 visa from outside
A: Yes. You can apply at any U.S. Embassy or
Consulate that processes nonimmigrant
petition-based visas, but you cannot apply from within the U.S.
Q: Can I apply at any U.S. Consulate
A: Yes. You may apply at the nonimmigrant
visa section of the U.S. Embassy in Sydney, or at the Consulates
in Melbourne, or Perth.
Q: What is a specialty occupation?
A: The definition of "specialty occupation"
is one that requires a theoretical
and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge,
and the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific
specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the
occupation in the United States. In determining whether an occupation
qualifies as a "specialty occupation" follow the definition contained
in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) for H-1B
nonimmigrants and applicable standards and criteria determined
by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States
Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Although there is
no definitive list of occupations eligible for the E-3 visa, a
useful general guide for applicants to check if their occupation
might be considered a graduate specialty profession and thus might
be eligible for an E-3 visa, is the Occupational Information Network
website O*NET Online. This is very complex, and the guidance of
an experienced immigration lawyer is essential.
Q: Do I need a license for a specialty
A: An E-3 alien must meet academic
and occupational requirements, including licensure where appropriate,
for admission into the United States in a specialty occupation.
If the job requires licensure or other official permission to
perform the specialty occupation, the applicant must submit proof
of the requisite license or permission before the E-3 visa may
be granted. In certain cases where such a license or other official
permission is not immediately required to perform the duties described
in the visa application, the alien must show that he or she will
obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following
admission to the United States.
Q: Do I need a petition by my employer
to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)?
A: No, the United States-based employer
of an E-3 principal is not required to submit a petition to the
Department of Homeland Security as a prerequisite for visa issuance.
However, the employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application
from the US Department of Labor. This is more complex than appears
onits face and the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer
Q: How long is the visa valid?
A: The validity of the visa should
not exceed the validity period of the Labor Condition Application
(LCA). The Department of State and Department of Homeland Security
have agreed to a 24-month maximum validity period for E-3 visas.
This validity may be renewed upon the filing of a new LCA and
Q: What is the fee for an E-3 visa?
A: Other than the normal nonrefundable
worldwide visa application fee of USD $100, there is no additional
special fee for an E-3 visa.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of
A: Yes, there will be a maximum of
10,500 E-3 visas issued annually (during the fiscal year, which
runs from 1 October to 30 September). We will advise on the website
when the quota has been reached, it has not yet been reached for
the U.S. fiscal year ending 30 September 2007. Spouses and children
of applicants do not count against the quota, neither do applicants
extending their E3 visas whilst still in the U.S. and working
for the same employer.
Q: Do applicants need to demonstrate
a "residence abroad?"
A: E-3 status provides for entry on
a non-permanent basis into the United States. The applicant need
not maintain a residence abroad, but similar to E-1 and E-2 treaty
visa applicants, the E-3 must satisfy the consular officer that
he or she intends to depart upon termination of status.
Q: How do I demonstrate that famiy members
qualify for an E-3D (dependent) visa?
A: You must demonstrate to the consular
officer that the established relationship exists. Usually this
can be accomplished with a marriage certificate or birth certificate.
You must also show that the principal applicant is the recipient
of an E-3 visa. Common law marriages or other types of relationships
that are not legally recognized as the union between a man and
a woman are not recognized for U.S. immigration purposes.
Q: May spouses work?
A: E-3 spouses are entitled to work
in the United States and after arrival in the United States may
apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) through U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Employment is not
authorized without an approved EAD.
Q: How long does it take to get an E-3
A: Visa appointment waiting and processing
times vary from consulate to consulate.
Q: If I get an E-3 visa, how long before
I start my job can I enter the U.S.?
A: You can enter the U.S. on your E-3
visa 10 days before you start your job.
Q: How long can I stay in the U.S. after
I finish my job?
A: You can stay 10 days after you finish
your job. After that, unlawful status begins to acrue.
Q: Can I renew the E-3 visa? Is there
a limit to the amount of times I can renew?
A: E-3 applicants are admitted for a two-year
period renewable indefinitely, provided the alien is
able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work
permanently in the United States.
Q: Can I change employers once I am in
the U.S. and stay on the E-3 visa?
A: Yes, your new employer must lodge
a new Labor Condition Application (LCA), but the gap between jobs
must be 10 days or less.
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