E-3 Visa Lawyer – Working in the United States

The E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant work visa that enables nationals of Australia to be employed in specialty occupations by US employers. The initial period of stay for this visa is 2 years and its extension can continue indefinitely without a maximum limit.

Spouses of E-3 visa holders may be permitted to work.

What is an E-3 Visa?

The E-3 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to Australian citizens who wish to work in specialty occupations in the US. It was created as part of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement. Employers looking to hire E-3 visa employees must first file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor to establish that no qualified US workers exist who could fill their position at prevailing wage levels.

An LCA must be submitted alongside a letter from your prospective US employer certifying that you will engage in qualifying work in a specialty occupation and will receive the prevailing wage for that occupation. Unlike H-1B visa applications, E-3 applications do not require prior pre-approval from USCIS before proceeding.

Once approved, an E-3 visa allows you to stay in the United States for two years at a time and may even allow for extensions beyond this as long as all requirements have been fulfilled.

Who Qualifies for an E-3 Visa?

The E-3 visa is open to citizens of Australia who will be temporarily working in specialty occupations in the US for up to two years and can be renewed every two years. Your spouse and children may accompany you on an E-3D dependent visa.

Apply for an E-3 visa either from within or outside the United States. If applying from within, your employer must file a petition with USCIS using Form I-129 on your behalf with supporting evidence including an LCA from the Department of Labor as well as confirmation that your job meets specialty occupational requirements and that prevailing wages apply to your position.

Apply for an E-3 visa even if you’re currently in another nonimmigrant status, including LCA certification, employer letter and proof that specialty occupation requirements have been fulfilled; as well as supporting documentation. Your application must then be brought before an American consulate where your application was filed to undergo an interview for background and employment related questions.

How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on an E-3 Visa?

The E-3 visa provides Australian citizens the opportunity to temporarily work in specialty occupations in the US. Unlike other employment-based visas, however, the US Department of Labor does not require that an E-3 petition be filed with USCIS (the agency that adjudicates work visa petitions). Instead, employers must file an LCA with DOL on behalf of an employee and present evidence from an offer of employment from within the U.S. that indicates this role is considered a specialty occupation and that workers will receive actual or prevailing wages when hired into this role.

E-3 visas can be extended indefinitely and extend for an initial two year period, as well as their dependent spouses and children staying with E3 holders in E-3D status. An annual cap on E3 visas exists at 10,500 but dependents do not count towards that cap.

Processing times for E-3 visas depend on whether or not they are submitted from within the US or at an overseas consulate, with consulate applications typically taking less time than applying within. Changing status inside will usually take longer.

What Are the Requirements for an E-3 Visa?

E-3 visa applicants must fulfill various requirements. Their job must qualify as a specialty occupation under US immigration law and they must hold at least a bachelor’s degree from an American university or equivalent professional experience in their field.

Employers must also file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor to demonstrate that the jobs offered meet minimum wage standards and that there is no strike or lockout affecting work in their industry. A copy of this LCA should then be included with their visa application.

Once an E-3 worker has their documents, they may apply at their country of residence’s US Consulate for E-3 status. E-3 can be acquired before entering or while present on another nonimmigrant status; however, for faster processing time during pandemic outbreaks it’s wiser to apply outside the country at consulate interviews directly instead.

Do You Need an E-3 Visa Lawyer?

The E-3 visa is the ideal visa option for Australian citizens seeking employment in specialty occupations in the US. Designed specifically to assist Australian nationals, its application process is significantly faster and approval easier than other employment-based nonimmigrant visas such as H-1B. Furthermore, this nonimmigrant status allows spouses and children to join its main applicant once approved in America.

For an E-3 visa application, it is necessary to submit Form I-129: Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker along with all required forms and supporting documents. A copy of your biographic pages (bios) in your passport should also be included; ensure it remains valid six months beyond your petition submission date.

An E-3 visa may be obtained based on either education, experience or both. Along with having attained your bachelor’s degree, at least three years of progressive responsibility experience must also have been attained within your field. Furthermore, any jobs requiring professional licenses must demonstrate they will be granted in an acceptable timeframe.