Frequently Asked Questions About the E3 Visa Program

In this section you will find most frequently asked questions About E3 visas.

What is an E3 Visa ?

The E3 is a new visa category only for Australians going to the U.S. to work temporarily in a specialty occupation.

Why are only Australians eligible for this work visa ?

The legislation limited the E3 visa to nationals of Australia.

Who qualifies for the E3 visa ?

The new E3 visa classification currently applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children. E3 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.

Are there other requirements for qualifying for an E3 visa ?

Submit a job offer letter from the prospective United States-based employer. A treaty alien in a specialty occupation must meet the general academic and occupational requirements for the position pursuant to INA 214(i)(1). In addition to the nonimmigrant visa application, the following documentary evidence must be submitted in connection with an application for an E3 visa:

  • A certified Form ETA 9035, clearly annotated as “E3 - Australia - to be processed.” (Note: DOL is currently updating the Form ETA 9035 to include an option check box for E3 classification, which will eliminate the need for the interim handwritten annotation).
  • Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials as required under INA 214(i)(1), 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.
  • In the absence of an academic or other qualifying credential(s), evidence of education and experience that is equivalent to the required US degree.
  • Evidence establishing that the applicant’s stay in the United States will be temporary.
  • 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.
  • Evidence of payment of the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Fee, also known as the application fee.

What is a specialty occupation ?

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

  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge, and
  • 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.

Do I need a license for a specialty occupation ?

An E3 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.

Do I need a petition by my employer to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ?

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, from the Department of Labor.

How long is the visa valid ?

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.

What is the fee for an E-3 visa ?

Other than the normal visa application fee, there is no issuance fee.

Is there a limit to the number of E-3 visas ?

Yes, there will be a maximum of 10,500 E3 visas issued annually. Spouses and children of principal applicants do not count against the numerical limitations.

Do applicants need to demonstrate a “residence abroad ?”

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 E3 must satisfy the consular officer that s/he intends to depart upon termination of status.

How do I demonstrate that I qualify for an E-3D (dependent) visa ?

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 the principle applicant is the recipient of an E3 visa.

May spouses work ?

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 (U.S.CIS). 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.

How long is the E-3 visa valid ?

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 E3 visas.

Can I renew the E-3 visa ? Is there a limit to the amount of times I can renew ?

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.

When will Embassies and Consulates begin issuing E-3 visas ?

Embassies and Consulates are already issuing the E-3 visa.

How do I apply for an E-3 visa ?

You may make your appointment for an interview as soon as you have all the documents prepared.

How long does it take to apply ?

The wait times at each Consulate vary, so check with your nearest Consulate to make an appointment.


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