08 March 2007
E-3 Visa

The E-3 is a fairly new visa for Australian nationals to work in specialty occupations in the U.S.

The E-3 is a new visa for Australian nationals to work in specialty occupations in the U.S. It has many advantages over the other types of working visas, including the ability for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization.

To qualify for an E-3 visa, an applicant must demonstrate:

* that he or she must have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States; and
* that the position he or she is coming to fill qualifies as specialty occupation employment; and
* that he or she is an Australian citizen; and
* that he or she has the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials; and
* that his or her stay will be temporary; and
* if required before the alien may commence employment in the specialty occupation, that he or she has the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation.

Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is an E-3 Visa?

A: The E-3 is a new visa category only for Australians going to the U.S. to work temporarily in a specialty occupation.
Q: Who qualifies for the E-3 visa?

A: The new E-3 visa classification currently applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens.

Please note that the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Q: I am a permanent resident of Australia but don’t have citizenship. Can I apply for an E-3 visa?

A: No. E-3 visas are only available for Australian nationals.
Q: Do I have to find a job in the U.S. first before applying for an E-3 visa?

A: Yes. You need to have a job offer from the U.S. before you can apply for the E-3 visa.
Q: Can I go to the U.S. to find a job and then apply for the E-3 visa from there?

A: No. You cannot apply for an E-3 visa from within the U.S.
Q: Can I travel to the U.S. on the Visa Waiver Program to find a job or attend interviews and then apply for the E-3 visa once I return to Australia?

A: Yes, you can travel on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you meet the requirements. If you do not meet the VWP requirements, you may be eligible to travel on the B-1/B-2 Combined Visa for Business or Pleasure.

You must leave the U.S. before applying for your E-3 visa.
Q: Can I apply for an E-3 visa from outside Australia?

A: Yes. You can apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate which processes nonimmigrant petition-based visas, but you cannot apply from within the U.S.
Q: Can I apply at any U.S. Consulate in Australia?

A: Yes. You may apply in Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth.
Q: What is a specialty occupation?

A: The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:

1. A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and
2. The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

In determining whether an occupation qualifies as a “specialty occupation”, follow the definition contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) for H-1B non-immigrants and applicable standards and criteria determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Although there is no definitive list of occupations eligible for the E3 visa, a useful general guide for applicants to check if their occupation might be considered a graduate specialty profession and thus might be eligible for an E3 visa, is the Occupational Information Network website O*NET Online.
Q: Do I need a license for a specialty occupation?

A: An E-3 alien must meet academic and occupational requirements, including licensure where appropriate, for admission into the United States in a specialty occupation. If the job requires licensure or other official permission to perform the specialty occupation, the applicant must submit proof of the requisite license or permission before the E-3 visa may be granted. In certain cases where such a license or other official permission is not immediately required to perform the duties described in the visa application, the alien must show that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.
Q: Do I need a petition by my employer to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)?

A: No, the United States-based employer of an E-3 principal is not required to submit a petition to the Department of Homeland Security as a prerequisite for visa issuance. However, the employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA), ETA Form 9035 or ETA Form 9035E, from the Department of Labor.
Q: How long is the visa valid?

A: The validity of the visa should not exceed the validity period of the LCA. The Department of State and DHS have agreed to a 24-month maximum validity period for E-3 visas. This validity may be renewed.
Q: What is the fee for an E-3 visa?

A: Other than the normal non-refundable worldwide visa application fee of USD $100, there is no special fee for an E-3 visa.
Q: Is there a limit to the number of E-3 visas?

A: Yes, there will be a maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas issued annually (during the fiscal year, which runs from 1 October to 30 September). We will advise on the website when the quota has been reached, it has not yet been reached for the U.S. fiscal year ending 30 September 2007. Spouses and children of applicants do not count against the quota, neither do applicants extending their E3 visas whilst still in the U.S. and working for the same employer.
Q: Do applicants need to demonstrate a “residence abroad?”

A: E-3 status provides for entry on a non-permanent basis into the United States. Similar to E-1 and E-2 visa applicants, the E-3 must satisfy the consular officer that s/he intends to depart upon termination of status.
Q: How do I demonstrate that I qualify for an E-3D (dependent) visa?

A: You must demonstrate to the consular officer that the established relationship exists. Usually this can be accomplished with a marriage or birth certificate. You must also show that the principal applicant is the recipient of an E-3 visa.
Q: May spouses work?

A: E-3 spouses are entitled to work in the United States and may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765) through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The spouse of a qualified E nonimmigrant may, upon admission to the United States, apply with the Department of Homeland Security for an employment authorization document, which an employer could use to verify the spouse’s employment eligibility. Such spousal employment may be in a position other than a specialty occupation.

Please note that the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Q: How long is the E-3 visa valid?

A: The validity of the visa should not exceed the validity period of the LCA. The Department and DHS have agreed to a 24-month maximum validity period for E-3 visas.
Q: If I get an E-3 visa, how long before I start my job can I enter the U.S.?

A: You can enter the U.S. 10 days before you start your job.
Q: How long can I stay in the U.S. after I finish my job?

A: You can stay 10 days after you finish your job.
Q: Can I renew the E-3 visa? Is there a limit to the amount of times I can renew?

A: E-3 applicants are admitted for a two-year period renewable indefinitely, provided the alien is able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States.
Q: Can I change employers once I am in the U.S. and stay on the E-3 visa?

A: Yes, your new employer must lodge a new Labor Condition Application (LCA), and the gap between jobs must be 10 days or less.
Q: How do I apply for an E-3 visa?

A: You may make your appointment for an interview as soon as you have all the documents prepared. You do not need to send your documents in advance, just bring them to the interview.
Q: How long does it take to apply?

A: The wait times at each Consulate vary, so check with your nearest Consulate to make an appointment.
Q: What requirements and documentary evidence are needed for the application?

A: Submit a job offer letter from the prospective United States-based employer. A treaty alien (i.e. the Australian applicant) in a specialty occupation must meet the general academic and occupational requirements for the position pursuant to Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214(i)(1). In addition to the Electronic Visa Application Form (EVAF) DS-156, completed online and printed out, and, for male applicants aged between 16-45, Supplemental Application Form DS-157, the following documentary evidence must be submitted in connection with an application for an E-3 visa:

1. Form ETA 9035, clearly annotated as “E-3 – Australia – to be processed”, or an ETA 9035E dated after January 4th, 2006, specified for E-3 Australia. Now either form is acceptable. This is the notification of an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) that the U.S. employer obtains from the Department of Labor. You cannot book an interview appointment until you have received this form.
2. Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials as required under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214(i)(1) (see weblink above), and a job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that upon entry into the United States the applicant will be engaged in qualifying work in a specialty occupation and that the alien will be paid the actual or prevailing wage referred to in INA 212(t)(1) A certified copy of the foreign degree and evidence that it is equivalent to the required U.S. degree could be used to satisfy the “qualifying credentials” requirement. Likewise, a certified copy of a U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree, as required by the specialty occupation, would meet the minimum evidentiary standard.
3. In the absence of an academic or other qualifying credential(s), evidence of education and experience that is equivalent to the required U.S. degree.
4. Evidence establishing that the applicant’s stay in the United States will be temporary.
5. A certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment if so required or, where licensure is not necessary to commence immediately the intended specialty occupation employment upon admission, evidence that the alien will be obtaining the required license within a reasonable time after admission.
6. Evidence of payment of the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Fee, also known as the application fee. This is payable at Australia Post, and applicants should bring the post office receipt to the interview as

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