To continue my series as to whether you need a lawyer for your US visa process I will now focus on the E3 Visa.
I will let you be the judge firstly from how I will briefly describe the process, and then I will give you my own opinion.
In short once a company has agreed to sponsor you with a job offer, you have to file freely either electronically or by mail a form to the Department of Labor. This form is pretty simple to fill out and really just outlines the company, your role, your salary, etc. It is designed so that the Department of Labor determines that the company is legitimate, the job offer is legitimate and is within the visa parameters and also that you will be paid at minimum in accordance with the regulations. (this salry part needs to be the prevailing wage which is basically just at the least the same amount a US worker would get for doing the same job in the same city)
Once you have received this approved form, you can essentially take that, along with the ocmpany offer letter and your regular application forms to the US embassy or consulate for your interview. If there is a spouse or dependents involved they can fill out the relevant application forms as well to take to the consulate at this time.
Now in this process I described above do you think, an attorney was necessary?
You can probably gather from the tone of my language that I think an attorney is a waste of time and money.
The US Government even admit as much when they stated when this visa was conceived in 2005, that is was designed to be simple for both the employer and the applicant and without all the extra fees involved.
Look many companies will hire an attorney anyway as that is their policy. However if it is you who is dictating the process and whom has to make the decision then I would say unless you are completely incapable of anything like filling out a form and understanding basic language (which would make me wonder how you got your job offer in the first place) then say NO to lawyers.
Lawyers are expensive, even moreso in the US, and for something they could do in less than half a day’s work (similar work for you) will set you back at minimum $2,000 USD but probably more. I don’t know about you but I would rather keep that myself!
I will admit I did use a lawyer 2 years before I first got my E3 visa so I could understand the process and legal requirements around the US visa system better. However if there were resources on the Internet then I certainly wouldn’t have. Hey in your case you have this blog here for FREE to understand all that 🙂
In my case a lawyer was used by my company but that was completely their decision as I told them it wasn’t necessary and I know the lawyers (although very professional and friendly) found me slightly odd as they wanted to fill out my applications for me that I would take to the consulate. I said I would do that myself since it is easy to know my own name, address, past history, etc.
It was obvious that there was little legal stuff for them to do so they wanted to handle anything they could 🙂
Also to note the spousal and dependent applications, know as the E3D visa is very simple as it just depends on you having a valid E3 application
So again NO to lawyers for E3 if you are the one who are going to have to pay the lawyer’s bill!
The Counter Opinion
Many people will tell you that you do need an attorney for this process because of issues they have had mainly centered around 2 issues;
1. The nature of their job and their salary
2. The so called “no dual intent” part of the visa
With the first issue, yes there are many jobs that are not allowed but essentially I think many more are given the job you apply for must have a minimum criteria of requiring a bachelors degree. To note, this does not necessarily mean you need a bachelors degree as if you qualify as having enough practical work experience (and possibly other certifications) in this certain field that you can prove then you will be fine.
So this is a just a matter about having common sense and not putting down things like receptionist, janitorial, burger flipper in your application as job title and description. However the categories are so broad with business, finance, legal, marketing, medical, engineering, IT, Architecture, etc. that you could easily fit your job description under any one of those categories I am sure.
The salary part is just ensuring you are paid a decent wage (equivalent to what a US worker would get in the same situation in the same city). I am not sure why you would work for much less that what you deserve anyway but this again is just common sense for both you and the company to ensure they are not exploiting cheap foreign labor.
The second issue relates to the “no dual intent” aspect of the E3 visa which basically means that you should have ties to home and intend to return whenever your entire visa period is over. Now again you have to remember it is in law that this visa can be renewed/extended indefinitely and there is no limit to the amount of times you can apply for it. So already even though your status in the US will never be permanent, there is already a contradiction here unlike the H1B visa which states can only be renewed once for another 3 year period.
The second part to this is that additionally it states, the application or pending petition to any immigrant (thus permanent status) does not automatically disqualify you from having your visa extended, renewed or getting another one.
So say for example you are on a E3 visa and your company does sponsor you for a Green Card/Permanent Residency but that application is still pending and you need to re-apply or renew your current E3 Visa, you wont be automatically denied based on permanent residency application. Again this also seems to contradict the “no dual intent” condition.
I am aware of people who have done through the example above and are now on their Green Card.
So to sum up this second issue, if you have family in the US and no family in Australia and are applying for an E3 visa, don’t sell up your entire life in Australia (house, car, etc.), trasnfer all your money to the US and then tell your interview officer at the consulate about all this as what are they meant to think.
Of course never lie to your Interview officer as they will be aware of any family you have in the US from their checks but showing you have bank accounts with money here as well as explaining you have people ties and roots in the community should not be that hard.
There is nothing a lawyer can do for you about all this except explain this same thing to you and emphasize common sense to you in the interview as he/she can’t be there with you. Only difference being that a lawyer will charge you thousands of dollars for the pleasure!
I hope this helps answer your questions about the E3 Visa and Lawyers….