E-3 Visa Transfer to New Employer

E-3 visa holders enjoy an additional benefit by being able to transfer their visa without having to file another petition at USCIS or visit an Embassy or Consulate abroad.


E-3 visas are issued to Australian professionals coming to the U.S. to work in occupations requiring theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge. Once granted an E-3 classification by USCIS/Immigration or at a U.S. Consulate Consular Office, applicants must work only within their intended capacity as detailed on their original I-129 petition or at Consular offices during visa interviews.

If you are an E-3 worker in the US and want to switch employers, certain conditions exist that allow this. Your new employer must submit an I-129 petition on your behalf that fulfills all relevant requirements such as posting and public access; once approved, you will begin working for your new employer.

Under the current pandemic, however, if you were applying for an E-3 visa prior to coming to the United States and were unsuccessful in getting one granted it is unlikely that you will be able to change employers during your stay here due to the conditions governing its award being dependent upon prevailing wage for your position and therefore require a new Labor Condition Application and review from the Department of Labor.

Requirements for a Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Transferring an E-3 visa can be made more seamless by filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. An LCA acts similarly to PERM labor certification requirements for employment-based immigrant visas such as the EB-2 and EB-3; however, unlike its counterpart, an LCA doesn’t require employers to undergo recruitment processes and prove there are no US workers available for the position.

On a LCA form, companies must certify that they will not discriminate against beneficiaries and will provide equal working conditions with other employees in similar roles. They also need to state that no strike or lockout is currently taking place within their company at the time of filing their LCA form – this helps prevent employers from hiring H-1B workers as replacement workers during labor disputes within their business.

Petitioning companies must also submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. This form contains details regarding the beneficiary and his or her job duties as well as educational background and work experience that qualify them for this position. They must also submit copies of biographic pages of Australian passport(s), as well as proof of paying prevailing wage (at least).

Filing a Change of Employer Petition (COE)

E-3 visa holders may switch jobs, provided certain immigration-related criteria are fulfilled. Their new employer must file and certify a petition as well as complete and submit a Labor Condition Application with them; and finally their new occupation must involve both theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge.

Employers must also offer beneficiaries wages that do not fall below those paid to other workers in their occupational category and geographic region, and at a level requiring at least a bachelor’s degree for employment purposes.

Australian citizens working under an E-3 visa tend to be tied to one employer. If they wish to change positions, they will need to file an I-129 petition in order to amend their current status or attend one of the USCIS offices abroad to apply for another visa.

On February 24th 2021, USCIS made an exciting announcement: premium processing would now be provided for E-3 visa petitions from within the United States – such as changing employers or extending status from within it – making life much simpler for holders of such visas waiting on petitions to be processed. This step promises a major reduction in waiting time!

Filing a Change of Status Petition (COS)

If you are an Australian national looking to temporarily work in the US in an occupation that specializes exclusively on Australian professionals, the E-3 visa may be right for you. With 10,500 available each year and transferability between employers if desired.

When moving to a new company, filing a change of status petition (Form I-129) with USCIS is essential to begin working. Additional documents required for approval by USCIS include support letters from your new employer as well as LCA. Please keep in mind that approval usually takes four to six weeks but Premium Processing offers the chance for faster service.

COS petitions may be filed while still living in the US, although it’s best to avoid international travel until your petition has been processed. If necessary, travel documents including your passport copy and letter from your employer outlining why the trip must occur are needed as evidence to the INS.

If you are currently outside the United States, filing a change of status application at an American Consulate abroad can often be faster and more effective than filing one in America.