The E-3 non-immigrant visa classification was created pursuant to the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).
The E-3 Visa is a visa classification that applies only to nationals of Australia. The E-3 visa allows U.S. employers to hire Australian nationals as “specialty workers” in certain professional occupations and employ them in the United States on a temporary basis.
E-3 D Dependent Visa classification:
The E-3 Dependents of E-3 employees do not need to be citizens of Australia to qualify for E-3 dependent status. The E-3 nonimmigrant worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the dependent E-3 classification.
E-3 spouses (but not children) are eligible to file a request with the USCIS for employment authorization in the E-3 dependent status. The spouse does not need to be an Australian citizen to be eligible for employment authorization.
Requirements to be eligible for E-3 visa:
- Employer and Job Offer Requirements:
- Must be a U.S. employer as defined under the immigration regulation;
- The position offered requires knowledge, both theoretical and applied, obtained through studies at an institution of higher learning;
- The position requires a specific course of study which relates directly to the position;
- Must have a bona fide need for the position.
- Employee requirements:
- Must be a national of Australia
- E-3 principal applicants must be seeking employment in a specialty occupation
- Must have an offer for a job that typically requires a bachelor’s degree in that area of study.
- Must have at least bachelor’s level education or its equivalent (through experience) in the field directly related to the position (job offer);
- Must have a requisite license, if the position requires licensure. Ex: Certified Accountant; Orthodontist, Attorney (Lawyer), etc.
Procedure for Applying for an E-3 status:
- Job Offer from U.S. Employer- It is imperative to have an employment offer from a U.S. Employer.
- Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor.
- The Petition with USCIS- U.S. Employer (“petitioner”) files a petition with the USCIS to grant E-3 classification for the position and enable foreign national to obtain visa at US Consulate abroad or grant extension of stay, if s/he is in the U.S.;
- The Procedure to apply for an E-3 visa is illustrated below:
- The Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, is used to apply for a change of status to or an extension of stay in the E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification.
- Obtain Approval Notice (Form I-797) from USCIS for the E-3 petition filed by a U.S. Employer
- Complete Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/, upload photos while completing the online Form I-160, and print the confirmation page for interview
- Pay the non-refundable visa application fee
- Make an appointment for an interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
Documents required for applying for an E-3 visa:
- Valid Passport: Applicant’s passport must be valid for at least six months at the time of applying for an E-3 visa.
- Form DS-160 Confirmation Page.
- Application fee payment receipt.
- Photographs and Biometrics – Applicant will be required to upload the photo while completing the online Form DS-160. Alternatively, few U.S. Embassies/ Consulates have arrangements to setup a separate appointment for biometrics and photographs requirement. Applicants are required to follow the procedures of the respective consulate they intend to apply with regards to the completion of photographs and biometric requirements.
- Documents in support of the Job Offer, which include but not limited to E-3 Approval Notice,
- The approved Labor Condition Application, Form ETA 9035E, specified for “E-3Australia”
- Evidence of the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
- A certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment if so required and other specific documents pertaining to the position
Other things to note about E-3 Visa:
Validity of E-3 Visa
The validity of the E-3 visa should not exceed the validity period of the LCA. The Department of State and DHS have agreed to the initial period of stay to be for two years. This can be extended in increments of two years without limits on the number of extensions (except in some cases).
A yearly cap of 10,500 new E-3 workers. For purposes of the cap, “new E-3 workers” are those who, coming from abroad, are admitted initially in E-3 classification or those who change their nonimmigrant status to E-3 classification or change employers while in E-3 status. (The cap does not apply to E-3D dependents.)