The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia, permanent residents of Australia do not qualify. The E-3 classification also applies to the spouse and children of the E-3 principal applicant. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens.
You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly 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.
General Eligibility Criteria for E-3 Visa
To qualify for an E-3 Visa, you must demonstrate, among other things, that you:
- Are a national of Australia
- Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
- Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
- Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation
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.
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 .
Is a license needed for a specialty occupation?
An E-3 applicant must meet academic and occupational requirements, including licensure in Australia where appropriate. In certain cases where a U.S. license or other official permission is required to perform the duties described in the visa application, but such permission or license is not available prior to entry into the United States, the applicant must show that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.
How long does it take to apply for E3 Visa?
The wait times for interview at each Consulate vary, you can check the latest timeframe for interviews in Australia.
Your Form I-129 should include the following documents:
- A Labor Condition Application (LCA) that indicates that it has been filed to support an E-3 classification
- Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
- Job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that you will be engaged in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
- If required, before you may commence employment in the specialty occupation, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation
Initial Period of Stay
The initial period of stay for an approved E-3 Visa is for two (2) years. E-3 Visas may be extended up to two (2) years per extension. Generally, there is no maximum number of extensions, although there are some exceptions.
Change of Employer
If you are attempting to change employers while remaining in the United States your new employer must obtain a certified Labor Condition Application for the position in which you will be employed and properly file a I-129 petition. The I-129 petition must be approved before you are authorized to work for the new employer.
Family of E-3 Nonimmigrant Workers
An E-3 nonimmigrant worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to dependent E-3 classification. Your spouse is entitled to apply for work authorization, but not your children.
To apply for work authorization as a spouse of an E-3 nonimmigrant, your spouse must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on the application procedures, see the Employment Authorization Document page.