The E3 Visa – A Great Option For Australian Citizens Who Have Been Offered a Job in the US

The E3 visa is a great option for Australian citizens who have been offered a job in the US. This visa allows the holder to stay in the US for two years and can be renewed indefinitely. It also allows their spouse to work by applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

The application process can be long and complicated. However, there are some things you can do to help speed up the process.

What is the E3 visa?

The E3 visa is a work permit for Australian citizens who come to the United States to perform specialty occupations. It was created by the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) and allows employers to hire a foreign national employee in occupations such as business management, information technology, or medicine and healthcare.

The first step is for your employer to file a labor certification with the Department of Labor. This proves that no US worker is available for your job at the prevailing wage.

Once the LCA is approved, your employer can submit Form I-129 to USCIS. The petition also includes a letter demonstrating your qualifications for the job, and supporting documents such as your work history and education. Once the petition is approved, your employer will need to schedule your visa interview at a US consulate.

How to apply for the E3 visa?

The US-based employer must file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor and provide you with a job offer that establishes that you will perform qualifying work in your specialty occupation at an offered wage that meets or exceeds the prevailing wage for that occupation. This step is required for all temporary visas.

Once this is done, the E3 visa can be granted. The visa is valid for up to two years and can be renewed indefinitely as long as the conditions of the visa are met.

You must attend a visa interview at a US embassy or consulate. This is where a consular officer assesses your qualifications and nonimmigrant intent. It is best to have a lawyer prep you for this interview and bring all relevant documentation.

What are the requirements for the E3 visa?

The E3 visa is available to Australian citizens who have a job offer from a US employer in a specialty occupation. The job must pay at least the prevailing wage in the region of the county where the position is located. The US employer must first file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and receive certification that no qualified, local worker is available to take the job at the prevailing wage.

The LCA must also show that the E3 candidate will be paid at a rate not less than the prevailing wage and will not adversely affect the salary of US workers. It is also important that the applicant has a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the employment and substantial professional experience.

The E3 visa is more flexible than the H1B and allows spouses and children to accompany the principal applicant. Additionally, the annual numerical limitation for this visa has never been reached.

Can I be self-employed on the E3 visa?

This visa is strictly employer-based and is limited to working for a single US company. The company must complete what is known as the LCA process and then sponsor you. In order to do this they must provide you with a job offer letter and show that the position is considered a specialty occupation, it pays at least the prevailing wage and they have complied with the Department of Labor regulations.

The good news is that there are some benefits to being employed on this visa such as a quicker application process and the fact that it does not require lodging a Form I-129 petition with USCIS beforehand. However, there are still significant backlogs at US Consulates worldwide and interview wait times can be lengthy.

Can my spouse and children join me on the E3 visa?

The E3 visa enables an individual to stay in the United States for two years and is renewable indefinitely. It is also possible to bring a spouse and children who are unmarried and under the age of 21 onto this visa. These individuals will be able to work and attend school.

However, it is important to note that in order to maintain legal E-3 status it is necessary to continue to work in a specialty occupation. This means that if a person wants to change jobs or locations within the United States they will need to file a new petition and LCA with USCIS or attend a consular interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

It is worth pointing out that an in-person interview can only be waived in certain circumstances, including for visa renewals (even if the employer changes) and pandemic-related backlogs. Therefore, it is always advisable to seek professional advice before making an E3 visa application.