E3 Visa Appointment Wait Times

The E3 visa provides Australian citizens looking to work in the US an attractive option that also permits spouses to gain employment authorization – something not available through H1B visas.

However, the E3 visa process can take time as US Embassies or Consulates need to review your paperwork prior to scheduling an interview appointment.

1. Embassies & Consulates

Embassys and Consulates are responsible for reviewing and approving nonimmigrant visa applications. As part of this process, an interview may be held with each applicant; if certain criteria are met this interview could be waived entirely. Applicants should check with each Embassy/Consulate website for more details regarding waiver criteria and local procedures.

Due to widespread service suspensions and closures related to the pandemic, US Embassies and Consulates have experienced difficulty meeting the increased application demands; some visa categories are now experiencing extremely long wait times before interview appointments can be scheduled.

Australia stands out in this respect, where state border restrictions, COVID-19 staffing issues and lockdowns have created an intractable visa appointment scheduling backlog that may continue for some time as the embassy tries to catch up.

E3 Visa Appointment Wait Times One thing to bear in mind about visa appointment wait times is their variability – as embassy workload and staffing levels change frequently, wait times can often vary week to week. Therefore, when applying for an E3 visa it is imperative that applications begin as soon as possible in order to meet the minimum three month travel planning requirement and enable your embassy to process your application in time for your trip.

2. Application Processing

E3 Visas are an attractive choice for Australian citizens looking to relocate temporarily to the US in search of work. Available for up to two years at a time and renewable indefinitely, this visa requires that applicants possess an offer in a specialty occupation along with other requirements such as bachelor’s degrees. You also must prove that their employment won’t displace US workers; one way of doing this would be providing a support letter from a US company which includes salary details as well as the prevailing wage for your occupation.

Visa processing takes place at either an Embassy or Consulate of the US and requires various documents. Processing times depend on whether or not it’s being submitted in person in either place – applications submitted locally will usually be handled faster. Furthermore, premium processing services may reduce wait time significantly for some applicants.

The E3 visa can be an attractive alternative to H1B work visas as it’s easier and less costly to secure one. However, it should be understood that it does not lead to permanent residence or a green card and can only be renewed as long as all necessary qualifications for renewal exist.

3. Documentation Requirements

The United States E3 Visa program, established under AUSFTA, permits US-based employers to temporarily hire Australian citizens for specialty employment positions at US wages. Employers must file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor demonstrating there are no qualified US workers available at an acceptable prevailing wage to perform these positions.

LCA provides information such as the type of work to be performed, minimum qualifications for the position and prevailing wages in an occupation in their region. Furthermore, applicants must submit a resume detailing relevant experience, education and other qualifications; copies of degrees/transcripts (if available); as well as any necessary foreign language versions evaluated by credentialing services if applicable.

At an E-3 visa interview, the Consular Officer will review an applicant’s qualifications to ascertain eligibility. As this interview may cover various topics and require specific documentation, it is wise to arrange a meeting with an experienced immigration lawyer prior to attending their interview – this ensures all necessary documents are present while helping avoid delays as well as fees related to administrative processing or requests for additional evidence.

4. Interview

At an interview, US consular staff evaluate applicants to assess whether or not they meet visa criteria by asking questions regarding employment history, your reason for seeking this type of work and travel history. At the conclusion of your interview, they inform you whether your visa has been granted or denied.

US embassies and consulates provide applicants with estimated visa interview wait times on their websites in order to help them make informed decisions. These estimates depend on factors like the volume and type of nonimmigrant visa applications submitted, processing speeds for each category and volume of interview requests – so please keep in mind that these estimates should only serve as guides – actual wait times may differ significantly.

As the pandemic escalated, US Consulates and Embassy closed and did not offer visa interview appointments. Since many have now reopened with longer interview waiting times than normal processing procedures, it is wise to apply as early as possible.

First step to obtain an E-3 visa: Complete Form DS-160 from the Department of State website. Submitting this application can take anywhere between six and eight weeks before US consular officers review your documentation and schedule an interview date with you to evaluate if you meet eligibility for the E-3 visa. An immigration attorney can prepare you for this important interview and ensure all required paperwork is included with your case.