How Early Can You Arrive Before E-3 Visa Starts?

E-3 visas can be extremely helpful for employees who wish to work in the United States with specific occupations; however, their application processes can be cumbersome and complicated if you’re an employer hiring new staff or an employee looking for employment elsewhere.

For E-3 visa eligibility, you will require an employer who is sponsoring in the US. Either they already filed or plan to file an LCA with the Department of Labor certifying that your job does not adversely impact wages and working conditions of US workers; an LCA certification issued by DOL ensures this. An employer can be an individual, partnership, corporation, limited liability company – as long as it exists as an actual US entity instead of just an overseas subsidiary or affiliate; they also must possess a valid FEIN issued by IRS for their entity as an ABN would do for each.

Once your LCA is certified, you can apply for your E-3 visa at a consulate. Be sure to bring copies of both documents; an employer letter outlining your duties and responsibilities of your position with UW; valid passport that extends at least six months beyond expected date of entry; as well as proof of relationship (marriage certificate or birth certificates) of those applying with you for dependent E-3 visas.

Processing an E-3 visa depends on which consulate it’s being applied for at, but currently due to pandemic-related backlogs there can be considerable variations depending on where one goes. Sydney Consulate can often have longer wait times and interview slots may become unavailable more quickly; while Melbourne has much closer locations that usually have openings faster.

Once ISSS receives your completed E-3 application in DestinyOne, we will begin processing with the Department of Labor to complete your Labor Condition Application process and notify you once your LCA is certified and your interview can commence. This typically takes a minimum of seven days.

If you are in the US and looking to change to E-3 status, it is wise to plan for an interview well in advance. Without premium processing, the USCIS petition could take several months before being approved and getting its visa stamped into your passport. Furthermore, should you leave the country during this process for any reason during E-3 status, an additional visa application at a consulate will likely be necessary in order to regain employment status.

Planning an E-3 interview requires speaking to an ISSS advisor and discussing your circumstances. They can assist with creating the appropriate strategy based on today’s long wait times at embassies.