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Among the US visas of category non-immigrant we find the E-3 visa for Australian workers. Here we explain in detail everything related to this visa, its requirements, costs and how it works.

Our immigration lawyers in Los Angeles are experts with over 40 years of experience in all types of visas. We can help you or a relative of yours with any immigration matter.

What is the E-3 visa?

This US work visa was designed exclusively for specialized Australian workers. Its official name is employment visa for «Australian Professionals with a Specialized Occupation». 

To apply for an E-3 Australia visa, the applicant must possess a university degree in their area of ​​expertise. Also, have extensive practical knowledge and experience related to the job for which you are applying. 

The E-3 visa was created in 2005 in the Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the USA. From the AUSFTA came this visa program for specialized Australian citizens who want to work in the United States.

In the category of E visas there are three types of visa. The E-1 and E-2 visas granted to traders and investors. However, these have nothing to do with the highly specialized E-3 visa for Australian workers. 

The E-3 visa is rather a variant of the H-1B visa, also for specialized workers, but of any nationality. Like the H-1B1 visa for specialized workers, but only from Chile. 

Conditions to qualify for E-3 visas

It should be clarified that for the E-3 Australia visa, only some professions qualify. Therefore, it is necessary that the professional who requests it has a «specialized occupation». That is, a minimum 4-year bachelor’s degree and a master’s or doctorate in the area of ​​specialization.  

It can be in the areas of medicine, chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology, engineering, architecture, business, computing, etc. They also rate artists and movie stars. Although there is no specific list of professions, they are required to have social relevance and professional demand in the USA. 

How to apply for the E-3 visa? 

The process of applying for an E-3 visa is similar to that of other work visas for the United States. Especially the one with the H-1B visa. The employer must comply with the requirements and conditions demanded by the visa.

The only difference from the rest of the employment visas is the filing of Form I-129. The US employer – sponsor does not need to complete this procedure with the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).  

There are a number of steps that must be followed by both the US employer and the Australian visa applicant.

E-3 Visa Eligibility Criteria

The applicant must basically demonstrate that:

  • He is an Australian citizen.
  • He has a legal job offer in the US and the required E-3 visa sponsorship.
  • Possesses the academic credentials and experience required by the visa.
  • He will be employed in the job for which you are applying for the visa.
  • Has a work license or permit issued by the Australian government to practice the profession or specialized occupation.

Steps to apply for the E-3 visa 

1. Apply for employment status (LCA) from the United States Department of Labor (DOL). This procedure is carried out by the employer, who must prove that:

  • You will pay a salary equal to that earned by a US worker in your area of ​​expertise and ability. 
  • You will offer the Australian worker a comfortable and safe working environment.

The Application for Work Condition (LCA) is an electronically filed form known as ETA 9035E. After the employer receives LCA approval, the foreign worker application process begins.

2. Submission of the DS-160 File form by the Australian applicant. Great care must be taken in completing the form to avoid errors that may delay or impair the application process. 

The form is available on the website of the US consulate or embassy in the applicant’s country.  

3. Pay the visa application fee that has a cost of US $ 205. The payment receipt must be kept.

4. Schedule the interview with the consular officer. The interview will take place at the seat of the nearest embassy or consulate for the applicant. In Canberra or in the consulates of Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. 

5. Submit all personal documents and additional evidence required. This is done just the day of the interview. 

6. Attend the interview on the scheduled date. The officer will verify the documents and information provided by you on the E-3 visa application form.

australian with visa

E-3 visa requirements

The documents that the specialized worker must present to apply for the E-3 Australia visa include:

  • Valid passport.
  • Passport-type photography according to the specifications of the embassy’s website.
  • Receipt of payment of the established visa fee.
  • Copy of the DS-160 form and verification of the appointment schedule for the interview.
  • Letter from the employer containing the following:
    • Confirmation of the job offer.
    • Type of employment, position and obligations within the company.
    • Salary amount.
  • ETA 9035 form to verify LCA certification to the employer.

Other necessary documents and requirements 

  • Professional title in the area of ​​specialization, including diplomas and certifications of courses and seminars and recognitions.
  • Evidence of previous work in the specialized area. 
  • Letters of recommendation from teachers, employers, and coworkers in previous jobs.
  • Proof enough that you intend to return to Australia after the permitted period of stay in the US ends. This includes information about family and friends, properties and interests in the country and any other document that it considers pertinent.

What is the cost of the E-3 visa?

The application for an E-3 visa, like the others in the category (E-1 and, E-2), has a cost of $ 205. This is a standard non-refundable application fee. The employer pays nothing because there is no fee for the LCA request.

For how long do E-3 visas last for?

The initial period of stay in the United States allowed for this visa is 2 years. It is possible to extend or renew an E-3 visa for another 2 years, if you remain working in the country. 

There is no maximum number of extensions, although you must demonstrate that upon completion of work you will return to Australia. The foreign worker must also file Form I-539, if they want to extend the visa or change their status. 

E-3 visas processing time

This visa can take between 4 and 8 weeks to process. But there is no precision on the applicant’s waiting time to receive a response. This will depend in any case on the embassy or consulate of the USA in Australia where you make the request.

When the visa is approved in the interview, it normally takes about 5 business days to be issued. The passport with the visa is returned to its holder by mail or courier (DHL). 

What to do if I change my employer?

The new employer of the holder of an E-3 visa must request a new certified Employment Status Application. Just as the previous employer must perform the same procedure with the Department of Labor and USCIS. 

After obtaining the LCA, you must file the worker’s petition using Form I-129. Without prior authorization from USCIS, you cannot start working in the new job. 

After the end of the allowed period of stay, the worker has up to 60 days to leave the country.

Family benefits of an E-3 holder

Close relatives of an Australian E-3 worker may also travel and live in the United States temporarily. This includes a spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. 

The spouse of an E-3 visa holder has the right to work legally, upon request for an employment authorization. The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is requested using form I-765.

Is it possible to obtain a green card with an E-3 visa?

It is not possible to apply for an adjustment of status to obtain the Green Card with a E-3 visas. This is because it is a non-immigrant visa that only allows you to work in the US, not to emigrate.  

Although our immigration attorney will be able to tell you what other options are available to you as an immigrant. One way is through a sponsor who is willing to apply for an H-1B visa. 

The other is to apply family based immigration when marrying an American citizen.

In addition to family petitions and job sponsorship, there are other ways to legally emigrate to the United States. Call now for a private consultation with any of our immigration attorneys. We will be happy to guide you in the best way.

Unlike the H-1B visa, the E-3 visa is not a dual intention visa. Therefore, either to request or renew this visa, the official has the discretion to approve or deny it. If the consular officer suspects that the applicant intends to stay in the country, he will deny it. 

Differences and similarities between the E-3 visas and H-1B visas

E-3 visaH-1B visa
It allows temporary work in the US in a “specialized occupation”. Postgraduate or doctoral degree.It allows temporary work in the US in a “specialized occupation”. Postgraduate or doctoral degree
Requires a sponsoring US employer.Requires a sponsoring US employer.
Awarded only to Australian citizens (10,500 each year).Awarded to workers of any nationality (65,000 each year and an additional 20,000 for professionals with a master’s or doctoral degree in the United States).
Spouses (even if not Australians) have the right to work in the US. USASpouses do not have the right to work in the US. USA Certain exceptions apply.
It can be renewed indefinitely for periods of 2 years. Valid for a maximum period of 6 years.
The employer – sponsor is required to file a Request for Employment Status (LCA) with the US Department of Labor. USAThe sponsoring employer is required to file a Request for Employment Status (LCA) with the US Department of Labor. USA Also a worker’s I-129 Petition with the USCIS

If you are a US employer and need to apply for an E-3 work visa, call us now. We can advise you on everything related to the processing of these visas and the petition of the alien worker. 

Call today and you will get a private, no obligation consultation.