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

The H1B visa is a temporary work visa designed to allow individuals in specific specialty occupations to temporarily work in the United States. It has become one of the most coveted US nonimmigrant visas.

Each year, 65,000 H1B visas are made available and these are reserved for individuals holding degrees in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, social sciences, medicine, law, education, business accounting architecture or the arts.

To qualify for an H1B visa, you must possess at least a bachelor’s degree in your field and have been offered employment by an organization willing to sponsor your visa application. In addition, your employer must file a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor on your behalf; this document should contain details such as job description, salary/benefit information, length of employment agreement length as well as your qualifications/background.

H1B visa holders may switch employers as long as certain requirements are met, provided they satisfy certain regulations. They cannot apply for a green card while in H1B status and must return home upon completion of their employment period or face deportation proceedings.

An E-3 visa offers Australian nationals and citizens an alternative to the H1B. Specifically designed to support individuals working in “specialty occupations”, with at least a bachelor’s degree, the E-3 is ideal.

The E-3 visa is a permanent work visa that entitles its holders to remain in the U.S. as long as their sponsoring company employs them; their spouses can even work here, an advantage over H4 visa holders who do not permit spouses to work here.

As opposed to H1B visas, E-3 visas do not have an annual cap on how many can be issued; however, an E-3 visa can only be extended in 2-year increments.

An E-3 visa offers several distinct advantages. One such advantage is being able to switch into another visa category without needing new labor certification from the Department of Labor – making this visa ideal for anyone hoping to eventually become US citizens.

Can an E3 Visa Help Me Start My Own Business? Although technically possible to start a business on an E3 visa, doing so can be extremely challenging. An E3 visa’s primary purpose is to work for specific employers within the United States; if you wish to start your own venture it may be wiser to switch into something such as E-2 or EB-5 investor status instead.

An immigration attorney can assist in assessing if you qualify for either an H1B or E3 visa and filing the appropriate paperwork. Please reach out to our Seattle, WA office so that we may discuss further your circumstances and respond within 24 hours to any email received from you. Our offices are conveniently located here!