How to Explain E-3 Visa Basics

If you are an Australian national who has received an employment offer from a US-based company and wish to temporarily move there for work purposes, an E-3 visa may be the appropriate solution for you. This article details its essential components; eligibility requirements, application process steps and costs will all be discussed here.

The E-3 visa is designed for Australian citizens who have accepted full-time, permanent employment in an occupation designated as specialty occupation by US employers. Created under the Immigration Act of 1990 and intended to bridge gaps left by H-1B visa program. Employers use this visa category to attract and retain top talent from Australia.

E-3 holders can bring their spouse and children with them. Furthermore, this work visa may be renewed indefinitely as long as its underlying Labor Condition Application (LCA) remains valid – an important advantage over other work visas which only last for limited periods.

To qualify for an E-3 visa, applicants must hold either a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field, or an equivalency assessment from an external provider; or alternatively they can submit evidence that your work experience equates to one.

Equivalencies must be submitted along with an LCA filed with the state labor department, which proves the employer provided foreign national workers wages and working conditions similar to U.S. workers in similar specialization occupations. Before being approved by the labor department, visas can be issued.

Contrary to its H-1B counterpart, the E-3 visa doesn’t impose an annual cap of 10,500 visas that can be issued annually; moreover, processing times for this visa tend to be faster and less costly.

To apply for an E-3 visa, it must be done through a US Consulate abroad. At that consulate, your application and interview will be reviewed before being stamped with an official E-3 visa and you’re good to begin work in the US.

Note that an E-3 visa does not qualify as a dual intent visa; to receive it successfully you must demonstrate your intention of leaving the United States once your visa expires. Many do not consider this aspect when considering applying for this visa, yet plenty of Australians have successfully extended their E-3 status for years with renewed E-3s. For best advice if pursuing this path is right for you it would be prudent to consult an attorney who specializes in immigration law before taking this path yourself.