Who is it for: E-3 visas are only applicable for citizens of Australia. They were created as part of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) in 2005. Much like holders of H-1B visas, E-3 holders must be coming to the United States to work in a specialty occupation.
- To qualify for an E-3 visa, applicants must prove:
- They are a citizen of Australia
- They have job offer in America
- Through their skills, training and experience, they are qualified to work in a specialty occupation.
- A specialty occupation must include attaining a bachelor’s degree or higher as a minimum condition of entry into the United States. In some instances, three years of professional work experience may be used as a substitute for one year of college or university level work experience.
It is important to note that Australians who wanted to work in specialty occupations in the United States were subject to the quota limits of 65,000 visas annually for H-1B visas. With the creation of E-3 visas, this is no longer the case, and there is a separate special quota of 10,500 E-3 visas, making it much easier and quicker overall for Australians to enter the United States as specialty occupation workers. Typically, about 2,000 to 3,000 E-3 visas are issued each year.
Immigrant or Non-immigrant visa: Nonimmigrant visa
Check Your Eligibility
Duration: The initial period of stay under an E-3 visa is two years. Additional two-year extensions are available with no maximum number of extensions.
Details: If there is a change in the employment for an E-3 holder, a new employer must file a new LCA and a new E-3 application. There must also be no more than a gap of 10 days or less between the two jobs.
Spouses and unmarried children of E-3 visa holders are also eligible to apply for an E-3 visa as dependents. Spouses can apply to work in the United States, but children cannot. If a spouse wants to be granted a work authorization, they should file an Application for Work Authorization, Form I-765. Spouses and children do not need to be Australian citizens to obtain E-3 visas.
To apply: If a worker is applying for an E-3 visa after they are already in the United States on an H-1B visa, they will need to file a new Form I-129. They will need to include a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the United States Department of Labor. Additionally, they will also need to include documentation that shows they are qualified for the position on which the E-3 visa application is based as well as a letter from an employer verifying that you have been offered a position at that firm and that it is a specialty occupation.
If applying through an embassy or consulate, once the new Form I-129 is approved, an applicant’s employer will receive a Notice of Action/Approval Form I-797 and they will forward it to the applicant. This should be submitted along with the actual visa application.
Check Your Eligibility
Upon approval, the E-3 visa will grant access as far as a port of entry into the United States. At a port of entry, the worker will get a Form I-94 which grants visa holders permission to enter the country and spells out details of an E-3 holder’s stay.
For more information: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services maintains an E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals for Australia page on their website.