The E3 Nonimmigrant Visa

australia e3 visa

If you are an Australian citizen who has been offered employment in the US, and are applying for an E-3 visa under the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement, this could be your ticket to working legally in America for up to three months at a time.

This article will explain the basics of E-3 visa and provide strategies on navigating its process.


The E3 visa is open to Australian citizens who are employed temporarily in specialty occupations in the US. It covers the E3 applicant as well as his/her spouse and children if applicable – no citizenship requirement exists here! However, only 10,500 E3 visas may be issued each year.

To qualify for an Australia E3 visa, you must possess both an offer from a US company and the qualifications to meet its requirements – for instance a bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience is ideal in your chosen field; you also must speak fluent English.

Letter from Host Department showing offer, salary (at or above the prevailing wage for your occupation), specialty occupation status of position. Furthermore, an I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker and biographic pages(s) from Australian passport(s). Petition can be filed either within or outside the US.

If you are applying from outside of the US, if requires that a form G-28: Notice of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative be submitted by your representative who gives them authority to act on your behalf.

Specialty Occupation Requirements

The E3 visa permits Australian citizens to move to the US and work in specialty occupations. There are specific criteria that must be fulfilled to be eligible for this visa, such as academic qualifications and professional experience requirements; those meeting these standards can obtain their visa faster and at a lower cost than H1B visa holders.

To be eligible for an E3 visa, it’s essential that you possess an offer of employment in a specialty occupation from a company willing to sponsor your visa application and submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certified by the Department of Labor proving that US workers have found it hard to fill your position and that you’ll receive an appropriate salary while living and working in America.

For most professions, at least a bachelor’s degree is necessary for entry. Otherwise, experience can count as equivalent education – for instance three years of work experience equal one year of undergraduate education.

Additionally, Australian citizens who wish to travel must possess both a valid passport and be citizens. Your spouse and children can apply for dependent visas if they would like to join you in the US.

Employer Requirements

In 2005, the US and Australia entered an agreement which created an E3 visa for Australian citizens, providing access to highly qualified professionals only with specific levels of education and professional experience.

To be eligible for an E3 visa in the US, you must hold a job offer in a specialized occupation that pays at or above the prevailing wage for that occupation. Your employer must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) on your behalf with the Department of Labor to gain visa approval for your employment in America.

Once your LCA application has been approved, the next step is collecting all required documentation and making an appointment at your local U.S Consulate to arrange your visa appointment. The whole process typically takes five to 10 business days; once issued, your visa will remain valid for two years with renewal options every two years as long as all requirements have been fulfilled.

The US E3 visa provides many advantages to both employers and employees alike. With low costs, fast processing times, unlimited renewals, spouse and child allowance and spouse/child visa extensions – making this visa ideal for companies operating both within Australia and in the US.


The E3 nonimmigrant visa provides Australian citizens who wish to work in an occupation-specific field in the US with an opportunity for advancement with US companies a viable path toward entry. Applicants must possess either at least a bachelor’s degree, or have significant work experience that equates to that degree level or more.

Nonimmigrant visas are issued for two years and may be extended indefinitely in two-year increments by submitting a Labor Condition Application with USCIS; holders may travel back to Australia as often as needed in order to renew their current visas by filing new Labor Condition Applications before their current one has expired.

Candidates for visas to the US must submit all required documents, such as Form I-129 and an employment letter from their employer, along with scheduling an interview with a consulate official to discuss their trip plans to the US. It can take anywhere between 4-6 weeks to schedule such interviews during pandemic times when consulates/embassys have backlogs of applications to review.

The consulate will carefully consider an applicant’s travel plans in relation to both work and family obligations, such as vacations, holiday events, visits to friends or relatives and similar activities. A visa holder must provide evidence of planned trips in the form of airline tickets, hotel reservations and related documentation.