How to Apply For an E3 Visa to Work in the US

If you want to work in the US, first obtain an E3 visa by filing out Form I-129 – Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and providing all relevant paperwork such as LCAs and passports of yourself and any dependents.

The E3 visa is an attractive solution for Australians pursuing specialty occupations and allows their spouses to work. Furthermore, its cost is lower than H1B visa.

What is an E3 visa?

Australian citizens with jobs in specialty occupations in the US may qualify for an E-3 visa, which will allow you to work there for two years and possibly extend beyond this if certain requirements are met. Unfortunately, getting this visa may be a complex process and require extensive paperwork; at Galstyan Law our immigration attorneys have assisted many Australians transition into US working life successfully, and can do the same for you!

To apply for an E3 visa, you will need a valid passport and job offer from an American employer. Your employer must also file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor showing that this position falls into an occupational specialization and pays at least the prevailing wage in that occupation. In addition, proof must be presented that shows your finances will support both yourself and family while in America.

If you are already living in the United States, an E-3 visa can still be obtained by filing a nonimmigrant petition with USCIS. This option is typically quicker and less costly than applying at a consulate; however, an interview will still need to be held with a consular officer; your lawyer can prepare you for this interview to ensure its success and ensure your visa will be granted.

Eligibility requirements

E3 visas provide Australian professionals seeking work in the United States with numerous advantages, including shorter processing time and extension opportunities; transferability of dependents such as spouses and children; as well as certain restrictions and requirements that must be fulfilled.

To qualify for an E3 visa, applicants must possess either a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in your specialty as well as at least 10 years of relevant professional experience – although work experience can sometimes replace academic credentials; if however your occupation requires licensing or any official permission in order to practice within the US then proof must be presented before an E3 visa will be issued.

Your employer should submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA). This demonstrates they can offer you a fair prevailing salary without negatively affecting the salaries and working conditions of other US employees.

Additionally, applicants must possess a clean criminal record and no significant immigration issues. Processing time typically ranges between one and two years for visa approval; an extension can be requested up to another two-year period. Applications may be completed either in Australia or the US.

Processing time

Beginning the E-3 visa process requires that a Labor Condition Application (LCA) is filed with the United States Department of Labor by your US employer – this must be done solely by them, not you as visa applicant – and cannot be altered once submitted.

The LCA must also demonstrate that your job is a specialty occupation and that at least the prevailing wage for that position will be paid; there must also be no strikes, lockouts, or work stoppages in your particular industry; additionally you must be employed at a level consistent with your qualifications and training.

Your US employer must sign and date a company support letter on their letterhead, which should provide information about the US company, your job duties and responsibilities, why your role qualifies as specialty occupation, proposed salary information as well as their federal employee identification number (FEIN) to demonstrate they are an “authentic” employer.

Dependent visa applications from spouses require them to present a marriage certificate; de facto couples and same sex civil partnerships do not qualify. Validity: Two years with indefinite renewal; however, due to pandemic backlogs at US Consulates wait times may be lengthy for interviews; additionally smaller consulates may not be familiar with E-3 visa application process and could potentially add uncertainty into this step of the application process.


The E3 visa is an ideal solution for Australians wishing to work temporarily in the US. It features reduced application costs compared to many other work visa routes; such as, not paying Fraud Prevention Fee or ACWIA fees and no LCA filing fee or I-9 processing fee from employers; additionally, E-3 petitions filed overseas usually have significantly faster processing times.

The E-3 Visa provides qualified Australian citizens the ability to temporarily work in the US for two-years in specialty occupations without sponsorship from a U.S. company or employer, without visa sponsorship requirements. Spouses may also work under this visa.

The TN visa is similar to an E-3, but only applicable to specific jobs. Therefore, it may not be suitable for most people, especially those pursuing degrees that may not be in high demand in the US. By contrast, an E-3 visa offers greater flexibility as it can be used for various occupations; Premium Processing service for E-3 applications filed using Form I-129 expedites your process and ensures you receive an answer within 15 days.