What is an E-3 Visa?

what is a e3 visa

Under the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, E-3 visa classification is open to Australian citizens who intend to come to the US specifically to engage in “specialized occupations.” This category encompasses jobs that require theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge comparable to attainment of a US bachelor’s degree (or foreign equivalent degree) in their particular field of specialization.

The E-3 visa can be issued for up to two years at once and extended by another two year increment, without needing labor certifications or other employment-based categories. As it falls under nonimmigrant category status, this nonimmigrant visa category offers NU scholars who do not meet eligibility requirements an alternative form of nonimmigrant residency status – particularly H-1Bs and other employment visa categories that impose employment-based eligibility restrictions an opportunity for admissions considerations.

E-3 visa holders have the flexibility of choosing any employer willing to sponsor them, applying for extensions of stay while in the US and easily switching employers as desired. Should an E-3 employee voluntarily or involuntarily terminate employment they must file for an adjustment of status with USCIS prior to expiration in order to extend their stay indefinitely.

E-3 dependents may work. Once in the United States, they can file Form I-765 to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), permitting them to either work or attend school; however, children cannot support themselves without receiving financial support or scholarships.

There are also other advantages associated with this visa. Due to its direct application process, no petition with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is necessary; furthermore, an E-3 spouse visa or visitor visa may be converted at any time and with no limit set for length of stay.

As with other nonimmigrant visas, it is vital for individuals applying for an E-3 visa – which does not allow dual intent – to maintain a bona fide intention of returning home upon completion of their stay in the US.

NU’s Scholar Services can assist with E-3 visa application processing. For more information, please review our E-3 Instructions for Incoming Scholars page and the E-3 Visas for Dependents page. If you’re an E-3 scholar looking to change status or want more advice from one of our advisors, feel free to visit us in our office for consultation with one of our advisors. We recommend departments submit complete requests for sponsorship at least three months in advance of desired appointment start dates.