E-3 visa questions and answers

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The E-3 visa category was established in 2005 and the E-3 visa is a great visa option for Australian professionals who want to come to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation.

Please note that the E-3 visa is a completely different visa than the E-1 treaty trader or the E-2 investor visa. Interestingly, the E-3 visa is most similar to the H-1B specialty occupation visa.

Do I have to invest any money when applying for an E-3 visa?

No. You do not have to invest any money when applying for an E-3 visa. There is a common misconception that E-3 visa is somewhat similar to the E-2 investor visa.

Does there have to be a trade between Australia and the U.S. in order to qualify for an E-3 visa?

No. An ongoing trade between U.S. and a qualifying treaty country would be only required for an E-1 visa, not E-3 visa.

Do I have to have an Offer of Employment at the time I am applying for an E-3 visa?

Yes. At the time of applying for an E-3 visa you have to have an employment offer from a U.S. employer. You cannot come to the U.S. to look for a job on an E-3 visa.

What are the E-3 visa requirements?

To qualify for an E-3 visa you must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be an Australian national
  2. Have a certified Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor
  3. Have the necessary academic qualifications
  4. Your stay in the U.S. must be temporary
  5. You must provide evidence of a license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation

Does the employer have to file Labor Condition Application (“LCA”)? What is LCA?

Yes. The U.S. employer will have to submit LCA that is certified by the Department of Labor. LCA provides specific information about the U.S. employer, your job, or the salary you will be paid. You will have to bring certified LCA by the Department of Labor to your visa interview.

What is a specialty occupation?

(1) A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position;

(2) The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, an employer may show that its particular position is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree;

(3) The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or

(4) The nature of the specific duties are so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.

Please see our blog post on what is a specialty when you click here.

Do I have to have a degree from a U.S. university to qualify for an E-3 visa?

No, you do not have to have a U.S. degree to qualify for an E-3 visa but you will have to submit evidence showing that your education is equivalent to at least a U.S. Bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation.

How can I prove that my stay in the U.S. will be temporary? What kind of evidence should I submit?

E-3 visa is a non-immigrant and therefore you will have to demonstrate that you do not intend to stay in the U.S. permanently and apply for a green card. Please note that you do not have to establish that your stay in the U.S. will be for a specific temporary period of time. You also do not have to prove that you have a residence in the foreign country (you may even sell your residence and move all your things to the U.S.). For an E-3 visa, a signed declaration of unequivocal intent to depart the U.S. is usually sufficient to prove this criterion).

Do I have to apply for an E-3 visa at a Consulate? Can I file a petition with USCIS?

You can apply for an E-3 visa at a U.S. Consulate and in such case the visa should be granted for 2 years. You can also apply for an E-3 status if you are in the U.S. on another non-immigrant status, you can file a Change of Status petition with USCIS or if you need to extend your status in the U.S.

What is the licensing requirement? Do I have to have a license before my E-3 visa is approved if my occupation requires it?

Yes, if your occupation requires a license or other permission to practice in the particular specialty occupation, the you must submit proof of such license. However, if a license is not immediately required to perform job duties in the specialty occupation, you may obtain the license within reasonable time frame after you come to the U.S. on an E-3 visa.

I am applying for an E-3 visa at a Consulate. Do I have to submit my petition before my interview?

No. You do not have to submit any evidence to the Consulate before your interview (unlike for the E-1/E-2 petitions). You will have to bring all the supporting documentation to the interview.

Is there any limit as to how many E-3 visas can be issued every year?

Yes. 10,500 E-3 visas can be issued every year.

Can I work part-time on an E-3 visa?

Yes, you can work part-time on an E-3 visa, but this should be stated on the LCA.

Is there any limit on how many times I can get E-3 visa?

No. There is no limit as to how many times you can renew your E-3 visa, and you can renew it indefinitely. One thing to keep in mind though is that if you have renewed your E-3 visa for multiple (for example for 5 times), the Consular officer may question whether you want to remain in the U.S. permanently.

Can my spouse and children come with me to the U.S.?

Yes. Your spouse and children (unmarried and under 21 years of age) can come with you to the U.S. and get an E-3 visa.

My spouse is not an Australian. Can my spouse still get an E-3 visa?

Yes. It does not matter what is your spouses’ nationality. As long as you as the principal application are an Australian national, your spouse can also qualify for an E-3 visa.

Can my spouse work in the U.S. on an E-3 visa?

Your spouse can work in the U.S. if he/she enters on an E-3 visa but he/she will first have to apply for a work authorization.

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