5 Things You Should Know Before Filing for an E3 Visa

If you’re an Australian citizen hoping to enter a specialized occupation in the US, an E3 Visa may be just what’s necessary to make that dream a reality. Our firm has assisted many with E3 applications and have put together five key points you should keep in mind before filing one yourself.

1. Your US employer must sponsor you.

Unlike the H-1B visa, which has an annual cap on sponsorships, there is no such limit for E-3s; provided your US employer has an legitimate business need for you, they can file an E-3 petition on your behalf and sponsor you accordingly.

2. Establish that You Will Receive an Adequate Wage

In order to secure an E-3 visa, a job offer from a US employer with at least a two year duration and including a detailed letter outlining your qualifications and relevant work experience as well as the prevailing wages in your location must also be submitted with your other documents for review.

3. Prove You’ll Return Home After Employment Is Complete.

A key component of the E3 application process is showing proof that you intend to return home once employment in the US has finished, which will be assessed at your interview with a consular officer. Make it clear in your conversation with them that your contract ends and do not hint that any plans to stay permanently could damage your application.

4. Your E3 application may be filed either within the US or at a consulate overseas. Typically, applying in-country tends to be faster as long as you do not change visa status from another classification and are already eligible for E-3 status; however, the process can become complicated since citizenship status in the US is determined by when your passport expires – not when your visa was approved.

5. Your E-3 visa can be extended either within the US or at a consulate abroad.

To extend an E-3 visa, it is necessary to submit a request to USCIS prior to its expiration. This process can take three months and requires extensive paperwork from both you and your US employer such as filing an LCA with USCIS as well as verifying that you still meet all eligibility criteria for the visa.

Alternately, you can change your status internally by submitting a USCIS Form I-129F directly. This method tends to be faster and cheaper than applying at consulates but does not guarantee approval and you can begin working immediately in the US. Neither method may be used if switching work visa classifications outside the US is involved.