E-3 Nonimmigrant Visa Status

e3 visa status

E-3 nonimmigrant visa category is open to citizens of Australia seeking temporary work in specialty occupations in the US. To maintain legal E-3 status, however, they must maintain paid employment.

Applying for an E-3 visa at a US Consulate abroad is usually faster than seeking a change of status in the United States.


E-3 visa classification is designed for Australian nationals entering the US on work assignments in specific specialty occupations. Initial E-3 visas last two years but may be extended twice over. Spouses and children under 21 of E-3 holders may apply for dependent visas; additionally they can receive Employment Authorization Documents that enable them to legally work in the US.

Employers must submit a labor condition application, known as Form ETA 9035, with the Department of Labor to establish that no qualified U.S. worker exists to perform the duties associated with an occupation. They should also include copies of job offers as well as letters providing information regarding specialty occupations including an official description of duties and requirements as well as list of qualifications.

Employers must submit an Affidavit of Support from each employee as evidence that they possess sufficient financial resources to sustain themselves and their family during their stay in the US.

Once an ETA 9035 application is approved, an employee can apply for an E-3 visa at a US consulate abroad. This process is often faster than applying for change of status within the US and does not necessitate leaving the country.


E-3 visa status is available to Australian citizens who wish to enter the US solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. Such occupations require theoretical and practical application of knowledge across professional fields; generally this requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in terms of professional credentials.

Form I-129 must be filed with USCIS for approval before any scholar can begin work, while their sponsoring department or unit must file a labor condition application (LCA) at least three months in advance to list wages and other details about their position offered to the scholar.

Once an LCA has been approved, scholars may submit an I-129 petition with USCIS. They and the sponsoring department must also include a letter from their employer supporting this position and attesting to it being compatible with those listed on the LCA.

Scholars submitting E-3 petitions with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should refrain from traveling outside the U.S. while their petition is being processed. This includes traveling to Canada, Mexico or nearby islands – any trips could necessitate changing visa status which could prove costly in both time and expense.


E-3 visas are employer specific, meaning workers can only work for the company who sponsors them in the United States. Any change of employer, or “transferring”, requires filing a new LCA and petition with USCIS; freelancing with multiple employers would violate E-3 status as well. Applicants for E-3 status can bring spouses and children along as permanent residents.

As soon as an E-3 worker’s employment with UH comes to an end, their department must submit a Form I-129 petition on their behalf and send it directly to USCIS no later than two months before their current E-3 end date; additionally, any requested extension start dates must coincide with their current E-3 end dates to prevent a break in lawful immigration status for that worker.

Departments may submit E-3 extension petitions through the VISA office for employees in their initial two year of E-3 status or who already have an approved change of status (such as F-1 student). A change of status isn’t available to individuals who enter on other temporary nonimmigrant visas such as H-1B; those entering must switch over to F-1 student status so as to take advantage of educational opportunities offered through Optional Practical Training or post completion OPT.


The E-3 visa is exclusively available to Australian citizens who hold specialty occupation jobs in the US. There is no annual quota or cap on how many E-3 visas may be granted as part of Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA). Unlike H-1B visas which must be lodged through USCIS with paper forms sent via post, applicants for an E-3 visa apply through Consular Processing instead; an in-person interview at one of several US Consulates outside of US will take place for assessment by consular officers before receiving approval of their applications for this work visa.

US Consulate Sydney has recently relocated to its new home in North Sydney and is providing routine visa services, such as E-3 interviews. Current wait times average approximately four months for visa interviews – this is much better than pre-pandemic waiting times, yet still presents significant delays for those hoping to relocate and begin new roles in America.

The E-3 visa offers several distinct advantages over other work visas, including fast processing times and unlimited renewals, lower fees than most non-immigrant visas, and the ability to bring one’s spouse and children with them into the United States – something employers seeking top Australian talent will surely value.