What Is an E-3 Visa?

The E-3 visa is an employment-based category for Australian nationals coming temporarily to the US to perform services in specialty occupations. This visa does not offer permanent residency status and must only be held for up to two years at any one time.

The US Department of Labor (DOL) oversees the E-3 program and approves LCAs on behalf of employers. This process typically takes 5 to 10 business days after filing.

Before applying for an E-3 work visa, employees must have been offered employment with a U.S. employer and fulfill certain other requirements. Aside from LCA submission requirements, employees should also include copies of their job offer letter and academic credentials in their documents submission package. Below is a general list of documents you will need for consideration but for more specific details we advise consulting your department’s OIS Advisor.

As opposed to H-1B visas, there is no annual cap or requirement for employers to file petitions with USCIS for E-3 visas, making this visa an appealing option for individuals looking for work in America.

What Is a Specialty Occupation? A specialty occupation refers to any profession which requires both theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge, along with at least an associate’s degree or its equivalent in that specialty, in order to enter its occupation in the United States. Occupations like computer programming, mathematics engineering architecture or chemical engineering typically fall under this category of jobs.

As part of E-3 status, it is usually impossible to change to another type of visa; however, you may extend or amend your stay by switching jobs. If you wish to change your status, we recommend consulting a private immigration attorney who can advise on your options.

What Are the Advantages of an E-3 Visa? E-3 visa holders enjoy many advantages compared to other work visas, including reduced application fees and faster processing time. Furthermore, E-3 visas do not fall under H-1B Lotterie rules and do not impose maximum stay restrictions.

E-3 visa holders also enjoy the added benefit of being able to bring both spouse and children over on one visa, making this an extremely advantageous arrangement for families.

If your employment at one department ends or you need to change job duties or location, another employer could file Form I-129 on your behalf and transfer your E-3 visa. In such a situation, if your work authorization ends before its I-797 approval notice expires, a discretionary grace period of up to 60 days could apply so you can transition into your new position legally and keep working legally.