How to Get an E3 Visa For Specialty Occupation Work in the United States

The E3 Visa is a nonimmigrant visa available to Australian citizens who want to pursue specialist occupation work in the United States. This visa was established through the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement and permits US employers to hire qualified professionals in various occupations such as business management, science & technology services and health & medical services. Employers must file a labor certification application with the Department of Labor to begin this process, showing no other similarly situated US worker is available at the prevailing wage for the position being offered to an applicant. Furthermore, proof must also be presented that meets or exceeds requirements set by occupational fields in which this individual may work.

After being approved, applicants must attend an interview at their appropriate U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad, during which an evaluation of qualifications, experience and nonimmigrant intent will take place. Unlike most work visa categories, E-3 does not necessitate having an advanced degree; only a bachelor’s or equivalent professional degree is needed for this visa category.

As soon as an application is submitted and complete, it will be forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for adjudication. DHS will review it to make sure it fulfills all requirements and that worker qualifies as an occupation specialist. If approved by DHS, USCIS will grant an E-3 visa.

Those in the United States with work visa statuses that allow a change of status may apply for E-3 status at any U.S. Consulate or Vermont Service Center. In either instance, employees will still need to provide evidence of meeting or exceeding prevailing wage for specialty occupations, evidence that salary and benefits will meet or exceed said wages, academic or professional credentials that demonstrate eligibility, as well as be interviewed by a consular officer before filing their E-3 petitions.

If an E-3 visa is granted, its holder can stay in the US for two years with extensions available of up to two more years. Their dependent spouse and children may accompany them on an E-3 dependent visa – unlike most work visas which require Australian citizenship for dependent spouses – with either of them potentially qualifying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which allows legal employment in the USA if desired; eligibility requires them having either earned either a bachelor’s or higher degree relevant field and working at least 20 hours each week before seeking change of status or an EAD. Spouses who are unemployed may seek a change of status but cannot qualify for either option unless an EAD exists –