E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia FAQs
Who qualifies for the E-3 Visa?
The E-3 non-immigrant visa classification applies only to Citizens of Australia as well as their spouses and children, who may not be Australian Citizens. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a Specialty Occupation.
What is the Period of Stay/Extension of Stay?
Initial Period of Stay is two (2) years with the possibility of getting up to 2 years per extension. There are no limits to the number of extensions for E-3 visas, with some exceptions.
You are a Permanent Resident of Australia but don’t have Citizenship. Are you eligible for an E-3 visa?
E-3 Applicant must be an Australian national and must have a valid Australian Passport.
Can you travel outside the United States while on E-3 visa?
An E-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa, so provided you have not changed employers or extended your status you may travel outside the United States and re-enter on a valid, unexpired E-3 visa.
How long can you stay out of the U.S. if you are in E-3 status?
There is no limit to how long you may stay outside the United States or how many times you may travel abroad during the validity of your E-3 visa, as long as you abide by the terms of your employment in the United States.
Can Dependent Family Members get Work-Authorization in U.S.?
Dependent spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not dependent children.
What if there is change in terms of Employment?
Your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application, and a new E-3 visa application. The gap between the jobs must be 10 days or less.
What is a Specialty Occupation?
A “specialty occupation” requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with at least a Bachelor’s Degree or its equivalent. Some of the examples of Specialty Occupation are architecture, engineering, research-development, and medicine etc.
What documents do you need to submit with E-3 Visa Application?
- Proof of Australian Citizenship;
- Academic Degree(s) and Certificate(s) to show you are meeting all Educational requirements;
- Labor Condition Application” (LCA) with the Department of Labor demonstrating that the employer is paying the required wage/higher wage (called “prevailing wage”) for the specific position in the geographic region where the job is located;
- Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is required to apply for an Extension of Stay or Change of Employment or Change of Status to obtain/extend the E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker status.
What is a Prevailing Wage?
The Prevailing Wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific job and for that specific job location. Information on Prevailing Wage can be found on the Online Wage Library.
What is the fee for an E-3 visa?
The standard non-refundable worldwide visa application fee for the E-3 visa is currently $270 USD. For more information, please visit https://www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html
Can you apply for an E-3 Visa from within the United States?
You cannot apply for E-3 visa within the United States. You can apply for change of status to obtain E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification from within the United States. If your change of status application is approved you will be issued a Form I-797 approval notice, but this is not a visa. Visa can only be obtained at a U.S. Embassy or consulate abroad.
Can you apply for an E-3 Visa with a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad?
You have the right to apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate which processes nonimmigrant visas. However, please contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you plan to apply to check that they accept applications from non-residents, and for details of how to book an interview and current processing times, as these vary from post to post. Some posts outside of Australia are not familiar with the E3 visa and may be unfamiliar with adjudication of such visas. They are also unfamiliar with Australian education institutions, and so proving eligibility may be difficult.
What is the Processing Time?
Visa approval time depends on whether you opt for consular processing or file for a change of status with USCIS. Consular processing can generate an approval almost immediately; whereas an application filed in the US can take up to a couple of months, unless you decide to file by premium processing service.
How to Schedule a Visa Interview?
If you have the certified LCA and all documents, you are required to complete the steps below
- Step 1: Prepare and upload an appropriate Photo;
- Step 2: Complete the online DS-160 application form and print the Confirmation Page;
- Step 3: Book an Appointment online;
- Step 4: Pay the Application Fee;
- Step 5: Gather any additional required documents; and
- Step 6: Personally appear at the U.S. Consulate with: DS-160 Confirmation Page, Appointment
Confirmation, Original Australia Post receipt, Pre-Paid Self-addressed Envelope, and all other required documents.
What is the wait time for Interview? The wait time for interview at each Consulate varies. The latest timeframe for interviews in Australia can be checked on https://www.ustraveldocs.com/ whilst making an appointment.
In Australia, if an E-3 visa is approved at interview, it is normally issued within 2-3 business days. If applying outside Australia, please visit https://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html for interview wait/processing times.
What are the advantages of choosing the E-3 Visa over the H-1B/L-1Visa?
While every case is different, Australian nationals should definitely explore E-3 Visa options. E-3 visa petitions are not subject to Fraud or ACWIA fees. Therefore it’s less costly than applying for an H or an L visa. Additionally, there is no cost to the employer, as there is no filing fee for the LCA. Finally, an E-3 visa can be extended indefinitely. Additionally, if your degree and higher-level qualifications are from an Australian Institution, you do not usually need to provide certified copies or evidence of their U.S. equivalent.