How to Apply For an E3 Visa

how to apply for e3 visa

The E3 visa is an indefinite work permit that Australians wanting to work in the US need in order to secure employment there. Spouses of E3 holders can also work.

This visa requires an offer of employment from an American employer, LCA certification and academic credentials – making it an attractive choice for professionals wanting to work in the US.

Job Offer

If you want to work in the US, an E-3 visa could be your ticket. Open to Australian nationals, this temporary visa enables them to specialize in certain occupations and work under special regulations. While obtaining one may take some time and patience, proper documentation such as an LCA form and employer letter providing employment in a speciality occupation should be presented during application for consideration of an E-3 visa.

Apply for an E-3 visa either at a US Consulate overseas, or from within the US by filing a petition with USCIS to change your status – though, generally speaking, the latter option is usually more difficult and time consuming. When applying from overseas you must provide both passport and supporting documentation to USCIS.

To qualify for an E-3 visa in the US, you must hold an employment offer from a US employer in a field requiring theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge. Furthermore, at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is also necessary in your field of expertise.


The E3 visa, established through the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), provides Australian citizens who have accepted specialty occupation jobs in the US with temporary work authorization to access them. While not leading to permanent residency or citizenship status in America, it provides professionals an incredible opportunity for work within this sector of industry.

As part of the first step of the process, employers must submit a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor in order to demonstrate that their occupation meets valid specialty occupation requirements as well as meet other standards such as salary and working conditions. It will also show proof that no comparable US employee could fill this position.

Next, complete and submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and pay all applicable fees to USCIS. They will review your application and issue you with a visa number which should then be presented at an embassy or consulate for an interview along with certified LCA documents and department support letters.

Application Form

The E3 visa is a US work visa designed for Australian citizens who have been offered work in their specialty occupation. Through the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement, this visa specifically targets Australian citizens from certain industries. To be eligible for this visa, applicants must demonstrate that their speciality occupation is in demand in America as well as have enough educational qualifications and work experience that meets its requirements. Applicants’ employers must also provide LCA certification showing they could not find an American employee to fill this position.

Usually, an embassy will take around two months to review your application and interview you, although this time frame may change based on their current workload. Before applying for an E3 visa it is wise to seek professional advice to ensure you are fully prepared to minimize delays caused by administrative processing and requests for further evidence.


E3 visa holders can stay in the US for two years and apply for extensions up to an indefinite number of times, as well as bring their spouse and children along for the journey. This visa provides Australian professionals who have received offers for specialist jobs that pay above the prevailing wage an attractive option to immigrate.

To qualify for an E-3 visa, applicants must possess either a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in professional experience, along with being employed in a specialty occupation defined as one that requires “theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge to perform”. Unlike H-1B visas, which have numerical restrictions and cannot be obtained outside the United States Consulates abroad without first petitioning USCIS first, this visa does not impose numerical limits; applicants can even acquire their E-3 visa at US Consulates overseas without first being approved by USCIS first!

E-3 applicants must also pay the visa application fee and attend an interview at an U.S. Consulate or Embassy where a consular officer will assess their qualifications and nonimmigrant intent.


At an interview, an examiner will ask questions to ensure you meet all requirements of a visa application. They will check to make sure you possess sufficient work experience and education; additionally they may evaluate your job to verify it as a specialty occupation and that its salary exceeds prevailing wage levels.

Assisting you through each step and providing guidance regarding which documents must be submitted can make the E3 interview much simpler, while understanding current processing leadtimes (which may differ depending on pandemic conditions).

E3 visas provide Australian citizens wishing to relocate for employment purposes an excellent pathway into the US. Employers can hire Australian professionals in specialty occupations for two years with unlimited renewal options. An E3 application starts with an employer filing a labor certification showing no qualified American worker can fill the position at or above prevailing wage, then followed by consular processing at one of our embassies or consulates in Australia.