5 Things to Know Before Your E3 Visa Starts

how early can you arrive before e3 visa starts

If you are an Australian citizen planning on working in a specialty occupation in the US, the E3 visa may be an ideal solution for you. It was specifically created for Australian citizens and can be renewed indefinitely; additionally, your spouse and children can accompany you under it, unlike with other work visas like H1B. Unfortunately, however, applying for the E3 visa can be somewhat complex so here are five key points you need to keep in mind before beginning this process:

Before applying for an E-3 visa, your employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor. This LCA verifies that your job duties fall into an occupation that qualifies as specialty occupation and that wages offered meet or surpass those needed to fill your role. Once approved by DOL, an application can be submitted at an US Consulate to apply for E-3 status visas.

Your E-3 visa’s duration depends on how long you have been in the US at the time you apply to extend it, since your eligibility is tied to your employment contract and contract period. If you switch employers, their new employer must submit a separate LCA and petition for an E-3 visa as soon as possible – otherwise reapply at an American Consulate will be necessary. You are permitted to travel outside the US while on an E-3 visa as long as it contains valid LCA documentation from previous employment and your passport allows reentry back into America.

If you plan on staying longer than your initial authorized period, an E-3 visa at a US consulate must be applied for again, since this status does not lead to permanent residence or Green Cards. As part of this application process you will be required to present documents supporting your eligibility as well as attending an interview to prove this fact.

Keep in mind that the USCIS has limited resources and processes a high volume of applications; this may cause processing delays for your E-3 visa application. To minimize delays, it’s a good idea to plan ahead. Prepare all necessary documents prior to attending your visa interview and schedule it at a consulate with shorter wait times (the Sydney consulate often boasts shorter waiting times than other consulates). As this will expedite the application process for your visa, bring with you a valid passport and copy of an approved LCA when attending your interview. EADs (if applicable) should also be presented alongside other supporting documentation. For E-3 visa applicants, the USCIS Vermont Service Center has published a useful list of required documents; however, their exact requirements can differ depending on your unique situation.