E3 Visa – Applying For an E3 Visa to the US

e3 visa to usa

E3 visas are made available to Australian citizens who have received employment offers in specialty occupations in the US and meet other eligibility criteria. Here you’ll learn all about the E3 visa process, including required documents and its costs.

For qualified Australian professionals, the E3 visa offers an ideal path forward. The process is quick and simple – however it’s essential that all required documentation be collected prior to beginning.


The E-3 visa is open to Australian citizens who hold a valid offer of temporary employment in the US. This visa is the result of an agreement between Australia and the US, and allows Australians to work in specialty occupations like business management, healthcare/medicine provision or research in America. To qualify for an E-3 visa, you will need a labor certification from your employer as well as documentation proving you possess speciality occupation qualifications. Your employer should also provide a letter in support of your job offer and occupation requirements, and also include information about any academic credentials or official permits you require for that speciality occupation.

USCIS has stringent requirements for an E3 visa application and may take some time to approve it. Your employer should submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA). The LCA should demonstrate that your job belongs to a specialty occupation that offers at least the prevailing wage as well as no strike or lockout at the time of filing.

Apply for an E-3 visa either from abroad at an American Embassy or Consulate, or file a petition to change status from within the US. Both options require providing supporting documentation as well as attending a visa interview; processing lead times vary according to availability at each embassy or consulate.


The E3 visa is intended for Australian citizens who have accepted employment in a specialty occupation in the US and has received an offer to do so within two years, which may be renewed indefinitely. It allows them to live and work in America as well as bring along family and children attending school there.

Before beginning work in the US, a labor condition application (LCA) must be approved by the Department of Labor. This form outlines all conditions of your employment – such as prevailing wages. Your employer must file it as part of your E3 visa requirements, while USCIS reviews to make sure it satisfies all standards.

In some instances, an LCA must be submitted for approval to a state agency for review and approval. They will check to make sure your occupation does not fall into strike-sensitive categories and that no qualified US workers exist at prevailing wages for that occupation. An LCA approval is an integral component of an E3 visa process and must occur prior to starting work in the US.

Additionally, in order to secure an E3 visa you will also require a letter of support from your employer that details your job duties and shows that you fulfil all other criteria for that type of visa. This letter should include the Federal Employer Identification Number of your US company as well as confirmation that they will sponsor you for one.


The E3 visa provides American companies with a cost-effective and more flexible solution for hiring skilled Australian professionals, offering more opportunities than the H1B. Furthermore, spouses may work and the application fee is lower and renewable indefinitely by USCIS rarely reaching its annual limit of 10,500 visas.

Step one in sponsoring an employee for an E3 Visa transfer or extension involves filing Form I-129 and acquiring an LCA, both documents which should be prepared by an immigration attorney. Once these steps have been completed, an interview will then be scheduled with either a U.S. consulate or embassy; therefore it’s critical that proper preparation be given prior to attending this interview.

Once your visa has been approved, travel arrangements to the US can begin. When leaving home you should bring a valid passport, E3 visa and LCA copy along with you – any accompanying children should also have valid passports. When arriving in America make sure that the name and date match up on both documents – any discrepancies should be reported immediately to embassy/consulate officials.

Processing time

Considerations when applying for an E3 visa vary significantly based on multiple factors, including your choice of application (change of status petition or visa application), whether or not premium processing applies, the time of year your submission takes place and any premium processing eligibility. When filing a change of status petition at Vermont Service Center it can take anywhere between 4-8 months while when applying at US Consulates overseas it can take only a few weeks – each situation has to be treated individually to determine its processing timeframe.

The E3 visa is tailored for Australian professionals with job offers from US-based companies. To be eligible, a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in their specialty occupation and an employer willing to offer at least the prevailing wage must be present; unlike the H1B visa which only has an annual limit on its renewals; additionally it allows dependent spouses and children to enter as dependents.

Step one is completing Form DS-160, the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application. When received in DestinyOne by ISSS, your completed application will kickstart a Labor Condition Application (LCA) process with the Department of Labor. When approved, ISSS will arrange for an interview at an US Consulate abroad with you bringing all necessary documents including your valid passport.