What is the Difference Between an H1B Visa and E3 Visa?

H-1B visas allow US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers with specialty occupations that require at least a bachelor’s degree and typically cannot be performed by citizens from their native country. Furthermore, this category of nonimmigrant visa allows spouses and children of foreign workers to secure work authorization in the US as well. Unlike other non-immigrant categories, holders of H-1B visas do not need to maintain residence abroad and can change jobs or become self-employed without altering their status.

Contrary to B1, H2B, and J1 visas, H1B visas provide an employment-based pathway towards permanent residency through other employment-based visa categories like EB2 and EB3.

The E3 visa provides Australian citizens working specialty occupations an alternative to H-1B status. The main differences between them include spouses of E-3 visa holders being permitted to work without restriction and an indefinitely renewable two-year duration; both types can be renewed every two years with two year increments; an annual E3 quota has never been reached while petitioners can file directly with US Consulates or Embassy instead of first filing their petition with USCIS, saving time and money in the process.

An E3 visa requires that the job fulfill the criteria of being professional and require at least a bachelor’s degree for eligibility. Furthermore, an employer must show that they have obtained a Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor which certifies that they are paying the appropriate “prevailing wage”. Filing an LCA online free of cost usually results in approval within 5 business days.

Foreign workers must possess a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent in terms of education, training and experience – this can be proven through credential evaluation from companies like American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers Electronic Database for Global Education (AACRAO EDGE) as well as evidence such as academic records, training certificates, resumes, work samples, job postings or letters of recommendation.

Unless they maintain residence abroad, workers with expired visas must depart after their visas expire. If they maintain residence overseas however, they can file for an adjustment of status with the appropriate USCIS office.

H1B visa holders must demonstrate nonimmigrant intent and intend to return home upon the conclusion of their work, although workers who wish to pursue permanent residency through EB2 or EB3 categories can pursue this route without jeopardizing their H1B status; the holder still needs to show nonimmigrant intent upon departure as well as applying for benefits leading to permanent residency, such as public benefits or health insurance coverage.