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What are the Differences Between and E-3 and H-1B Visa?

By June 10, 2020May 19th, 2021H-1B and E-3 Visa, Immigration
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The E-3 and H-1B visas are similar but have some key differences.  This post summarizes the key similarities and difference between the H-1B and E-3 visas.

You can find out more about the E-3 visa by clicking here.

You can find out more about the H-1B visa by clicking here.

Question H-1B E-3
Is there a visa lottery? Yes.  For the last several years, the H-1B has been subject to a lottery as far more applicants apply than available visas No
Which Nationalities can Apply? Nationals from any country can apply Only Australian Nationals can apply (Requires a passport from Australia)
What is the application process? Application must be submitted to USCIS and after USCIS approves the petition, the applicant can go to a Consulate to get the Visa.  USCIS could take months to process the petition unless you pay for premium processing. Most applicants apply at a Consulate where they bring their supporting documentation and get a decision right away.  USCIS is also an option but premium processing does not exist for this petition.
When can you apply? For cap subject H-1B petitions, applications can only be made in April for a start date of October. Anytime
Does the visa require a specialty occupation and a BA? Yes. Both visas have a minimum requirement that the applicant have a BA and the job must require a BA. Yes
Is a Labor Condition application required? Yes Yes
Who can pay for the Petition? Employer Employer
Which petition is more expensive? H-1B petitions are more expensive as significant Government imposed filing fees and likely RFE costs Applicant only has to pay Consular fees (normally $205). Also, typically no RFE
How are family treated? Can my spouse work? Spouse can only work under very limited circumstances where the primary applicant is going through a green card process. Spouse can apply for work authorization and can work anywhere.
What are the employer Obligations? Significant compliance requirements including paying for the return flight home of applicant if he/she is terminated Employer does not have to pay for return flight home if applicant is terminated.
How long can the visa be issued for? 3 years at a time up to a maximum of 6 years No cap on the number of renewals and issued in 3 year increments
Which petition has the higher approval rate Approval rate of approximately 70% Approval rate of over 95%
Is the visa dual intent? Yes No (but applicant need not maintain a residence in their home country)

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