An E3 Visa Lawyer Can Help You Determine If Your Job Qualifies As a Specialty Occupation

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The E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant category for Australian citizens who want to work in specialty occupations. The initial period of stay is two years and can be extended in two-year increments.

An E-3 visa makes switching employers possible, but requires a complex procedure involving both an approved Labor Condition Application and I-129 petition for change of employer.

Specialty Occupations

A specialty occupation refers to jobs that require highly specialized training to perform. For instance, operating equipment that only a select few have been trained on can qualify as a specialty occupation, as can those which require high levels of skill training but are difficult to learn for. A lawyer can help determine whether your occupation falls under this classification.

If the job qualifies as a specialty occupation, your employer can file an LCA with the Department of Labor on your behalf to attest that there is a real need for specialty workers and that you will be paid at least the prevailing wage. Before your visa can be issued by DOL, however, and should any employer change occur then another LCA and petition must be submitted prior to changing status.

As there are only 10,500 E-3 visas issued each year, it is crucial that applicants select the appropriate type. Furthermore, you must only be entering the United States solely to work in an occupation requiring specialization. As this nonimmigrant visa cannot lead to permanent resident status for you directly, but your spouse and children can become dependents of your visa – making an experienced attorney invaluable in your application process.

Labor Condition Application

An E3 visa permits Australians to work in specialty occupations in the US without needing a bachelor’s degree and is renewable indefinitely, as well as allowing your spouse and children to join you when living there. It serves as an excellent alternative to the H1B as its annual numerical limit has yet to be met.

Prior to employing you on an E-3 visa, your employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. The LCA serves as evidence that nonimmigrant employment will not negatively affect wages, working conditions, or job opportunities of U.S. workers in similar occupational classification. iCERT online system typically takes less than seven days for approval or rejection of an LCA submission.

Additionally, you must submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. This petition includes information about yourself, the sponsoring company and job for which you are applying. It is critical to complete this form accurately with supporting documents such as letters from previous employers, credential evaluations or employment history documentation; additionally you may have to provide a biographic page listing all dependents.


Employers filing I-129 petitions on behalf of nonimmigrant workers they intend to employ in the United States typically fill out this form, which varies depending on visa category and may include additional pages and supporting documents that must be submitted. Because any errors can result in denials and additional fees, many employers opt to collaborate with an immigration attorney when filing such applications.

The initial part of the form requests information about both the worker and company looking to hire them, including name, address, job duties, etc. The second section requests nonimmigrant status requests as well as actions you want USCIS to take; depending on the visa category selected this may also require submission of a labor condition application and additional supporting documents.

Once your I-129 is completed, it must be sent directly to the service center specified in its instructions for USCIS processing. USCIS will provide a receipt notice with case number so you can track its status on their website.

When applying for an E-3 visa, applicants must provide copies of their passport(s) and an LCA. If their spouse plans on joining them in traveling on an E-3 visa, both must submit separate DS-160s as well as attend a consular interview at an U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.

Consulate Interview

Visa interviews can be an intimidating step in the application process for many applicants. Consular officers have in-depth knowledge of immigration law and have an overwhelming caseload, making preparation essential. You should familiarize yourself with common interview questions to prepare yourself properly; memorizing answers may look rehearsed; instead try answering in an authentic and natural way while being honest in answering them.

The consular officer will also ask about your connections to the United States, such as family, property you own or will inherit, financial prospects and investments that might benefit from being in America. They’ll seek to assess whether these ties outweigh those to your home country of origin.

Visa interviews can be an exciting part of the visa application process for many applicants, marking a crucial step along their journey. Arriving early at a consulate will help ensure you can speak to an officer, along with any receipts for fee payment or documents submitted – spouses and children under 14 do not typically need to attend interviews in most cases.