US Immigration: The E3
Visa for Australian
17 May 2021
The E3 visa is for Australian nationals who wish to work in the United States in a “specialty occupation.”
A specialty occupation is characterised as one that requires the “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialised knowledge”, as well as the completion of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty area (or its equivalent), as a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the United States.
In many ways, the E3 visa is similar to the H-1B visa; a category of US work visa which is not restricted by nationality or prior work experience.
To be eligible to apply for an E3 visa, you must:
- Be a citizen or national of Australia
- Have a job offer that requires at least a Bachelors degree
- Have a bachelor’s degree or equivalent
- Have a professional license if the profession requires
The application process
According to estimates, there are 10,500 E3 visas reserved exclusively for Australians, who can apply directly at the US consulate abroad or if already in the United States, file a change of status.
Regardless of where the application is filed, the employer must complete a Labour Condition Application (LCA). The applicant will need to submit this document alongside a support statement from the US company where you will operate.
Other required documents include:
- Degree / qualification certificate
- Application form
- Other documents specific to the eligibility of the route.
As part of the process, applicants are required to attend a pre-scheduled interview. At the interview applicants will be asked a few questions about the application that has been submitted.
The total processing time for an E3 visa application at a US consulate varies depending on which consulate you apply at. The processing times is usually around three months, compared to a H-1B that can take a minimum of six months.
Validity period and dependants
E3 status is valid for up to two years and may be extended indefinitely. E3D status is granted to dependent spouses and children of E3 visa holders. Spouses can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) which will enable him/her to work. This is in contrast to other visas, such as the H-1B, which do not allow spouses to work (with some exceptions).
What makes an E3 visa a better option than a standard H-1B work visa for Australian nationals wishing to work in the US is that E3 visas are generally easier to obtain and are often less expensive than their counterparts.
Support with US immigration
If you have any US immigration queries please contact the SSW Global Immigration team.
With the help of our global network, we are able to provide full immigration support to help you obtain your visa, and navigate international law to ensure that local immigration rules are met thereafter.