E-3 Visa for Professionals from Australia

What is the E-3 work visa for Australians?

The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia based on a treaty with United States. In order to qualify for this visa, Australian nationals must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation.

In order to qualify as a specialty occupation, the position must require theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in a professional field. It must also require at least the attainment of a bachelor's degree, or its international equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

What are the requirements to obtain an E-3 visa?

To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate the following:

  1. You are a national of Australia;

  2. You have a legitimate offer of employment in the US;

  3. You possess the necessary academic training or other qualifying credentials;

  4. You will fill a position that qualifies as a “specialty occupation” as described above.

When you are applying for an E-3 Visa from within the US, the form I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker is used to apply for a change of status to obtain the E-3 non-immigrant temporary worker classification.

What documents should I include with my petition for E-3 visa status?

When submitting the Form I-129, you must include the following documents:

  1. A Labor Condition Application (LCA). This cannot be the same LCA used in a previous H-1B application. Until the Department of Labor (DOL) develops a new LCA for an E-3 visa, the standard ETA-9035 should be used. Ask that it be annotated as an E-3 LCA.

  2. Proof of academic training or other credentials demonstrating that you have the qualifications for the position being offered.

  3. Documentation of the job offer letter or other documentation from the employer that establishes that you are being offered a position in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage.

If the position requires a certain type of license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation, it must be obtained before you begin employment.

What is the process for applying for an E-3 Visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate?

If you have a job offer from a company in the United States, as well as meet all the other requirement criteria for an E-3 visa, you do not need to submit a petition to USCIS prior to applying at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Once you have all the documents prepared to establish that you meet the requirements for the E-3 visa, you may make an appointment with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for an interview.

You must present all the supplemental documents at the time of the interview to establish your eligibility. In this case, the only action required of the U.S. employer is to supply you with an offer of employment, as well as file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor by filing Form ETA 9035. There is no fee to submit the ETA 9035.

What is the process to obtain a E-3 visa at the Embassy after an I-129 petition has been filed with USCIS?

If your petition is approved, the next step is for USCIS to forward a Notice of Approval to the employer. The employer will then forward the I-797, Notice of Approval to you. A Form I-797 approval notice is NOT a U.S. visa. Visas must be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. After the Form I-129 is approved by USCIS, you can then apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. Usually, you will apply in your country of residence abroad. Please visit the Department of State’s Temporary Workers webpage for visa information.

What is the filing fee for an E-3 Visa?

The only filing fee associated with filing for an E-3 visa is if the employer filed Form I-129 to petition USCIS for approval. The filing fee for this form is $325. Please contact our immigration attorneys in Los Angeles to assist in the best process for your E-3 visa.

Can I apply for E-3 work authorized status within the U.S.?

If you entered the United States on a different non-immigrant status such as F-1 Visa (student) or B-2 Visa (visitor), you can change your status to E-3 within the United States by filing a change of status application with USCIS. Please note that if you entered the United States on a visa waiver (ESTA visa) you will not be able to change your status within the United States to E-3. Please also note that you may not begin employment until the change of status application has been approved by USCIS.

What is the length an Australian professional can be on E-3 visa status for?

E-3 visa applicants may be admitted for up to a two-year period, which is renewable indefinitely, provided the alien is able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States. While there are some exceptions, there is no limit to the number of E-3 visas that an applicant may hold over the course of their life.

Can I change employers while on an E-3 visa?

Your new employer must file a new LCA and a new E-3 visa application each time you change your employment position. The gap between the jobs must be 10 days or less in order to qualify. Note: Form I-129 is used to apply for an extension of stay or change of employment.

Can family members of an E-3 visa holder come to the U.S. with them?

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of an E-3 visa holder are entitled to the same E-3 classification. In addition, while the spouse of an E-3 holder is entitled to work authorization, the children are not. As the spouse of an E-3 non-immigrant who wants to apply for work authorization, you would file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

If you or a loved one has questions about immigration, contact our immigration attorneys in Los Angeles now for a free consultation.