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

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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.

QuestionH-1BE-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 visasNo
Which Nationalities can Apply?Nationals from any country can applyOnly 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?YesYes
Who can pay for the Petition?EmployerEmployer
Which petition is more expensive?H-1B petitions are more expensive as significant Government imposed filing fees and likely RFE costsApplicant 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 terminatedEmployer 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 yearsNo cap on the number of renewals and issued in 3 year increments
Which petition has the higher approval rateApproval rate of approximately 70%Approval rate of over 95%
Is the visa dual intent?YesNo (but applicant need not maintain a residence in their home country)

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