What is the E3 Visa?

If you go to many other US Visa sites or forums and people talk about the E3 visa, this question is the only question that really seems to get answered. Many people I see get frustrated because they ask questions related to the many other visa posts I have in this blog but all people give them are the visa facts.

Well for the first time, I am going to go through the basic facts of the E3 Visa using the embassy FAQ site as a basis for my post.

  • The E3 Visa is a visa exclusively for Australian citizens allowing them to work in the US
  • Spouses and Dependent Children (usually under 21) do NOT need to be Australian citizens but the relationship must be a proven marriage between a male and female (the US does not recognize same-sex or common law relationships) They fall under the E3D Visa
  • You need to have a job offer from a US company prior to applying at the Consulate
  • You can NOT apply for a new E3 Visa from within the US
  • You can transfer from certain visas to the E3 Visa within the US but NOT from Tourist Status
  • There is nothing specifically stopping you going to the US to search for a job as a tourist, however you must leave the country to then apply for your visa
  • You can apply for your E3 visa from most Consulates and Embassies around the world but is always good to check with that particular Embassy first.
  • Within Australia you can apply from the Consulates in Melbourne, Perth or Sydney
  • E3 Visa is for applicants seeking employment in a specialty occupation.
  • A specialty occupation is one defined as required a specialized body of knowledge and the position itself requires a bachelor (or higher degree) degree equivalent at a minimum
  • If you have sufficient work experience in lieu of a bachelors degree and can prove it to the US consulate in the field of the job offer you possess then, that will be considered as well
  • Generally as Trade positions do not require bachelors degrees they are not considered suitable for this visa
  • The only petition required of the employer is to submit Form 9035/9035E to the Department of Labor to receive a Labor Condition Application (LCA) – at the time of writing this is still a free submission
  • The visa is valid for 2 years, and able to be renewed indefinitely for periods of 2 years as long as the job position is still valid and not considered permanent
  • There are 10,500 E3 Visas issued each year (this quota does not include extensions or spouses) and this quota has yet to be reached in any fiscal year (October – September)
  • E3 Visa holders must show they intend to return home when their visa expires
  • Spouses may work under the E3D visa and have to file Form I765 AFTER they enter the US to the USCIS (this can take up to 3 months to be approved)
  • You can enter the US 10 Days before and leave 10 Days after you start your job
  • The E3 visa is a multiple entry visa so as long as your passport and visa are current you can travel
  • You can change employers but your new employer must lodge a new LCA within 10 days
  • It usually takes 2-3 days within Australia for your visa to be issued back to you after your approval at the Consulate

What requirements and documents are needed for the application and Consulate Interview?– A job offer letter from the prospective United States-based employer

  • Electronic Visa Application Form (EVAF) DS-160, completed online (http://evisaforms.state.gov/) and printed out
  • Form ETA 9035, clearly annotated as “E-3 – Australia – to be processed,” or an ETA 9035E dated after January 4th, 2006, specified for E-3 Australia. This is the LCA Form
  • Your Degree or Proof of Equivalent work experience (often they don’t even look at this)
    • To Note: If your degree and higher-level qualifications are from an Australian institution, you do not usually need to provide certified copies or evidence of their U.S. equivalent, but please bring to your visa interview the original certificates, and if possible, transcripts for the course of study. If your qualification(s) are not from an Australian institution, a certified copy of the foreign degree and evidence that it is equivalent to the required U.S. degree could be used to satisfy the “qualifying credentials” requirement, but you may prefer to wait until your visa interview to confirm whether this is necessary. You should take your original certificates and transcripts to your visa interview, and if it is also necessary to produce certified copies of certificates and evidence of U.S. equivalence, you can send these to the Consulate after the interview, although your visa will not be approved until this is received. Likewise, a certified copy of a U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree, as required by the specialty occupation, would meet the minimum evidentiary standard.
    • U.S. Regulations, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D), describes the kind and amount of experience which can be used to establish the equivalency of a university degree. As a guide, three years of professional experience may generally be used as a substitute for each year of university-level education. During their visa interviews, applicants for U.S. work visas should be prepared to provide documentation outlining their work history, education, and training. A consular officer will determine whether the educational and employment information provided meets the eligibility requirements for a U.S. visa.
  • Evidence establishing that the applicant’s stay in the United States will be temporary. (this could be bank accounts, mortgages, car/business    ownership, family ties)
  • A certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment
  • Evidence of payment of the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Fee, also known as the application fee. This is payable at Australia Post in Australia or if other embassy/consulate, their local procedure , and applicants should bring the  receipt to the interview as evidence of payment.

What Does An E-3 Visa Look Like?

In terms of eventually getting a Green Card there is nothing specifically precluding you from applying for one via your employer however technically the E-3 visa is not a dual intent visa like the H-1B visa. The actual regulations state;

“An application for initial admission, change of status or extension of stay in E-3 classification, however, may not be denied solely on the basis of an approved request for permanent labor certification or a filed or approved immigrant visa preference petition.”

So this basically means they can’t deny an E-3 visa application just because you have an open Green Card application

I hope this all helps.



234 thoughts on “What is the E3 Visa?

  1. Hi CC,
    An Australian undergraduate degree is considered equivalent to a US undergraduate degree. So good luck in your interview and your combined degree and work experience should be fine given your job and company meet the criteria.

  2. Hi Natham,
    People have done their visa interviews at places south of the US border but always helps to check with the particular US consulate in question. I would definitely ensure the have filed the ETA-9035 form as you can’t generally schedule an interview without the approved LCA from that application with the Department of Labor.

  3. Hi Ausengineer,
    Thanks for your kind words.
    Yes you certainly qualify for the E3 visa and am sure you will have little trouble being issued the visa as it relates to maintaining residence abroad conditions.
    Good luck,

  4. This is easily the best source on E-3 Visas on the net. It’s solved many of my questions and I’m very thankful to you for it! I just have two minor questions which I can’t seem to find a straight answer for from the government resources. I’m an employer looking to file a petition for an E-3 visa worker.

    My first question is, how far in advance must I file the LCA for the intended job? I’m looking to employ someone from Australia for a job starting in March/April 2011. Is that enough time?

    Second; Do I need to show proof of offering the job to qualified American workers before filing a petition for an E-3 like other non immigrant working visas?

    Any help on these would be greatly appreciated! And again, wonderful site!

  5. Hi,
    I’m planning on moving to the U.S within the next few years, and to save a hassle, im attempting to work out a plan of attack early so I don’t have a huge rusj at the last minute.

    I’m about to start my nursing degree in australia and will spen one year, once qualified, working in an australina hospital. Am i right in my understanding that in my year of working i can apply for a job in the U.S, obtain an offer of emploment and then take that offer to get my E3 Visa? A lot of other websites are talking about an Australian degree needing U.S certification?

    Any way, thanks for your time, the site has proved to be most helpfull.

  6. Have a friend who has an E3 visa pending and her sponsoring employer is now thinking of eliminating her position amongst others. Does she have any recourse?



  7. Hi CJ,
    Thanks for this website, it has helped me in so many ways! But there is one where i will need your help.
    I was looking at getting an E3 visa to help me work over in the US. I have no idea if I have any chance of getting one or not and your input would help me a lot. I am a 20yo and have been offered a job at a dance studio to work as a teacher and an assistant coordinator. This is a very new studio (we are having our opening this weekend) and I am currently working with them on a volunteer basis. I already live in the states on a J1 Visa (also hence why it is volunteer). I have been dancing for 16 years and have been various assistants (dance, acting, all over the performing board) for about 6-7 years. I don’t have any degrees but am currently attaining my Ballroom Dance Teachers Certificate and as I said have been dancing for most of my life. I have attended college in the states in performing arts classes, though being on my current Visa have not tried to get a degree yet. This is a possibility in the future though. I go back to Australia at the beginning of March and am hoping to be back in the states by about the beginning of April. Is the E3 Visa for me or should I try another Visa? Also is that too short of time? Though anything longer would put my job at risk. Thank You!

  8. Hello,

    Thanks so much to you for taking the time to not only post this but then continue to reply to everyone. So good as well to be able to view everyone else’s questions for even more guidance and ideas too.

    I have noted above where you were speaking of the 10 day prior and post employment to be in the US.

    A couple of things : Is that 10 day days or 10 working days?

    Also, just to clarify, so there is absolutely no way of entering before that date/staying after (other than modifying the date on the form)?

    What about travel within – is that just between you and your employer or is that capped too?

    I also noted you answered a question about having two jobs and needing to have the sponsorship for both jobs then.

    What about if one of the jobs isn’t a job recognised as an E3 visa job? For example your sponsored job that got your the E3 visa and then perhaps a hospitality job alongside it. Would the hospitality job have to be registered?

    Thanks again,


  9. Hi, this is a cool site. Thanks!

    I am working in the US on an E3 visa. I was wondering if I was able to enter the green card lottery. The E3 visa conditions state that I must intend to return to Australia, so I am wondering if I applying for a green card via the lottery causes a problem with homeland security.


  10. Hi CJ,

    I have been working in the US for nearly 4 years now on an E3 Visa and recently got married to an American citizen, about two months ago now. What is the procedure for me now to get permanent residency – and is it something I need to do quickly – is there a time limit? also am i classified as a resident alien or non-resident alien?

    thanks alot!


  11. Hi Troy,
    Yes there are no issues with you entering the Green Card Lottery while on the E3 visa or any other visa.

  12. Hi Amy,
    The 10 day periods are just mentioned as 10 days so would seem not working days. It is a risk entering and/or leaving after those dates but some people will tell you that is has been fine for them.
    You can travel as much as you desire within the US or in and out of the US.
    Legally you can only work for the companies noted on the E3 visa.

  13. Hi Katie,
    You will have great difficult getting the E3 visa as it is a specialty occupation and bachelors degree visa. That means the job you take must have a bachelors degree as a minimum requirement for the role. There is no real visa that suffices that type of role other than doing ti via the J1 visa Work and Travel or J1 visa Internship periods while they last.

  14. Hi CJ!

    Thanks so much for all of this information. It’s an incredible resource. I have read that applying for an e-3 visa in Canada is allowed. In going through the US Embassy website, however, they say that it is not suggested to apply for an e-3 visa in Canada if your primary work/school experience is not in the US or Canada. All of my work/educational experience is from Australia.

    First, in your experience, how common is it for someone who has applied in Canada to be denied on the basis of their experience not being in Canada or the US?

    Second, if I am denied for this reason, how difficult is it to re-apply in Australia? I assume I’d have to pay the visa fees again — but does it decrease my chances of getting the visa the second time?

    What do you think? Do you think it is a reasonable chance to take to apply in Canada? Or should I just skip that risk and make arrangements to fly back to Australia?

    Thanks SO much for your help!


  15. Hi, My husband is australian and we are planning to move to NYC under the E3 Visa.
    My question is, if by the time his employer fill up the form ETA9035E is it necessary to fill another one for me and our daughter as dependants? or is just 1 form for the whole family?
    Also, How long does all the process take? we have the sponsor, but we need to know aprox how much time the process of filling the forms and the LCA reply, would it be around a month or more?


  16. Wow this is amazing! I’ve been researching all over and obtained a little legal advice but I could never find the really technical answer’s to all of my questions. Now I have them.
    Quick query. I have been offered a job in the US with a non profit. I do not have a degree and only have 2 years of personal volunteering/fundraising etc undertaken in my own time. I have over 15 years worth of work experience which is 50% of the role.
    I can’t seem to find any information on the E3 visa, and passing the interview without a degree nor years of experience in the sector of the job i have been offered. The non profit sector is individual though given most people move into that field without prior experience.
    Do you have any advice on this? I suspect given I’ve done the hard yarns and now have the job offer that the hard part is over. Well that’s what I’m hoping.
    Great website, thank you for all the free advice.

  17. Hi CJ,

    I have recently moved to New York with my husband from Australia. He is on an E-3 visa and I have an E3-D visa and am waiting for my EAD to be processed so I can work. Recently a job has come up at my husband’s work that is relevent to my field. I think I qualify in my own right to get an E3 visa (bachelor degree and min years of experience for a HR professional role). Anyway is there any laws or rules that prevent a married couple from both working in the same organisation on seperate E3 visas?

    Thanks you!

  18. Hi CJ,

    I am just about to receive a job offer in New York and was going to book my flight to Toronto to have my consulate interview there when I came across the following link:


    Essentially it says Canadian Consulates will likely reject first time applications for work visas (E3 specifically mentioned) if the applicant’s experience and education is mostly outside of Canada and the US.

    Is this really correct or are they mistaken in including the E3 in that mix?

  19. Hi CJ,

    I am presently in the US working in the finance industry on an E3 visa. Unfortunately, my current employer has had to cut back my hours from full-time to part-time, leaving me with insufficient income to get by on. I have managed to find an additional part-time position with a company who is willing to also sponsor me on the E3.

    Are you aware of how I would go about getting employment authorization for the new employer? Can I simply get a second E3 visa for the new employer? Or will i need to cancel my current visa and get a new one listing both part-time employers?

    Thanks, your site has helped me so much in the past.

  20. Hi CJ

    Great website!

    I am an Australian Citizen and I have been offered a position as a Youth Counsellor (I studied this at University) in San Francisco. The position is not not full time, it is approximately 15-20 hours a week. Would I still be eligible for the E3?



  21. Hi there,

    I noticed you mentioned needing to provide the original of one’s degree. I understood that a certified copy would be adequate? I wondered if you could advise?

    Thanks so much!


  22. I have a BA in Cinema and have worked in the industry in Australia for 6 years in this field. An individual producer in the US who has a company (but works freelance himself) would like to hire me as his assistant. Would this qualify?

  23. Great website!

    I’m currently on an e-3 visa and my company is preparing for work stoppage in which I’ll be placed in a different role. Is this allowable as the role is not the specialty occupation I was hired for? Furthermore, aren’t there conditions that don’t allow working during a work stoppage?

    Any advice appreciated – I don’t really want to get caught-up in working 6-days/week 12hrs a day.


  24. Hi CJ!

    Thank you for this great website!

    I have been offered employment with a recording studio. I have a Bachelors degree in that field from an American university so I’m pretty sure I pass that criteria. However, this job will only pay per client, as in I will not have set hours or a set weekly/monthly/yearly wage. Instead, I will earn an hourly wage during certain periods of the year, as needed. Will this pass the LCA criteria??


  25. I am a Qualified chef and wanted to know if I should bother applying for a E-3 Visa. I know generally that a Trade does not qualify me for this visa but wondering if being a chef is considered a speciality job as I know there is a lack of chef’s in the U.S

  26. Hi Anth,
    In general you would find it hard for a Head Chef position under the E3 visa but you could have a lot more chance under the H1B visa.

  27. Hi Vern,
    I am sorry to hear that but unless there is an employment contract in place for specified amount of time, most US employment is under employment at will so they can terminate your employment at any time at their discretion.

  28. Firstly I just want to say this is a fantastic resource that has basically answered every question that I have!

    I have had a verbal offer from a US company and should receive the paperwork (via email) in the next few days. I’m not sure if I will get the visa- it’s a specialist role (working in the commercial loss adjusting industry) and I have 5 years experience but a more general (Science) degree (I figure it’s worth a shot- at least this why I won’t be left wondering what if!). Anyway, I was just wondering if the LCA and letter of offer I take with me to the consulate interview have to be originals, or if printed copies are ok? (I’ve read so many different blogs and websites that I’ve just confused myself completely).

    Thanks for your help, and again for this site.

  29. Hi CJ,

    Thanks for the great website!

    I currently have an E3D visa and am awaiting my labour authorisation to come through. I would like to know if I am able to do volunteer work (unpaid) on the E3D visa as I do not want to violate my visa conditions but would like to do something while I wait for my labour permit to come through.

    Many thanks for your response in advance.

  30. My husband and I have current E3 Visas, we have the potential to get a transfer within the same company to another state within the US. Would we have to apply for new visas with new Labor Condition Application forms since one of the specific questions within the ETA 9035 asks location of employment, even though our actual employer will NOT change? Or will our current Visa suffice until it expires. I believe we still have to notify USCIS of our move, maybe that’s all is required?

    Thank you in advance.

  31. Hi, my name is Richard. I have a Bach in architecture and a Masters in Sust. Development UNSW. I have secured a job in the US, I am one week from my interview and I just had a few doubts. One my wife is currently 4 months pregnant coun she have a problem in getting E-3D status?
    Also what physical proof do I need to take to show that I will be returning to AU. I never owned my unit I rented and that’s over now. I left my last job to pursue this one???
    Any advice would be great.

  32. Amazing site – thanks so much!

    Sorry if you’ve already answered this somewhere but…

    Are there any restrictions on the type of work (e.g. allowed to work in performace, film etc.) my spouse could do and is a spouse limited to one job (could you have 2 part-time jobs for example?)

    (n.b. just to clarify I would have the E3 so she would be on I guess E1/E2?).

    Thanks again!!!

  33. Hello.
    I am seeking a US working visa and a mate of a mate passed me onto this website. He suggested I look into the E3 visa. I am a fashion stylist, I have styled major television series “X Factor” and am currently doing “The Voice”, along with a bunch of other magazine ann music video clips etc. Do you think having big shows that are recognisable in the states help me? Also, I do not have a degree, but I lecture at a university, do you think I qualify as specialised work experience?

  34. I’m not sure if this is the right place for this question, but I hope you may be able to help

    I’ve done a little research but want to make sure that what I am reading is relevant and correct.

    I’m considering applying for an E3 Visa for a job in NYC in the coming months/next year for myself. My current GF however does not have a degree, nor does she have the necessary equivalent in work experience.

    She is keen to finish off her degree (which she left half way through) and complement it with other Govt certificates. She plans to do this via Open University which will lead to an accredited Bachelors degree via Griffith University.

    My question is, with 3 years of experience, and as a student on Open University, leading to a degree would she be suitable for a J-1 visa?

    She has also done about 3-4 years for Govt in Australia if that helps to lend any weight to a possible E3 or J1 application

  35. Hi,
    I hope you can help me out. I am currently on an E3 visa, but I am about to quit my job to return to Australia. I know I am supposed to leave within 10 days, but I need longer to organise my affairs / shipping of my belongings etc. I also have a British passport – would I be able to exit the US within the 10 days on my Australian passport and return on the Visa Waiver on my British one, via, say, Mexico? I only need an extra couple of weeks. Thanks for your help!

  36. CJ,

    What an excelling resource this website is! You have helped my husband and I through many frustrations!

    Like Jo, I am also curious about the legalities of an E3D visa holder doing unpaid work while awaiting an EAD card.

    Does anyone know where to find information on whether an E3D holder is allowed to do volunteer work? And what about an unpaid internship? Would this be allowed?

    I really want to make the most of my ‘up to 90 days’ by doing something productive for the community and for my own career… but, like Jo, I don’t want to risk doing something illegal.

    Any advice on this would be much appreciated! Thank you.

  37. Hi – I am currently in the United States on an E3 visa. Can you tell me if I am legally able to be paid money for doing work for a different employer to my E3 employer ? If I cannot be paid money for work done can I legally be compensated in other ways – such as free membership to a club or meals paid for etc ??? Am I able to legally work for a second employer and how would I go about this ?

    Thank you

  38. Hi, amazing information for E3 aspirants good work, i would like to know my probability of getting a E3 visa, i have got a bachelors degree in commerce and a Master of Accounting from an Australian University and 7 years experience in Accounting and Finance industry, I am Indian born with Australian citizenship, could you please let me know the probability of my application for E3.help me out to find what areas of my application should be concentrated more for successful E3

    Thank you

  39. Santosh, your experience is fine and suitable and you are eligble for the E3 visa. You just need to find a relevant job, paying at an appropriate level for the city you work and there is a huge amount of information on this site to try and help you with that effort.

  40. GJ you can only be “legally” paid for work in the US if you have an approved LCA for every employer who is paying you. You are allowed to have multiple employers.

  41. Lucy unpaid work is a grey area but because there is no money changing hands and thus no tax obligation on your side nor need for a Social Security no during this period that it should be fine.

  42. Frank in general if you leave within a timely manner you should be fine leaving if it say takes you 3 weeks to sort out your affairs.

  43. HI Cj,

    I have my LCA certified. Does it mean it has also been approved? Is this the form that I need to bring to my interview at the Consulate in Sydney apart from my job offer letter, academic qualification and other supporting documents?

    Do I need to bring the original copy/physical mail from LCA or a copy from Icert is enough?

    Thank you.


  44. If I’m applying for an E-3 with multiple employers – can both positions be full time? Or does one of them have to be part-time? Also, can I apply with two part time positions? Thanks!

  45. Hi there,

    Wondering about the minimum wage requirement and whether follow up is done by the IRS and Immigration on wages? I have an employer who would like to sponsor me to work for them and as an Australian, the easiest and quickest way is through an E3 Visa. While they are willing to ‘declare’ on the application they will pay me the minimum wage of the job title we are applying for (referenced from an O-Net code), they may not be able to pay this salary on a regular basis and hence not meet the stipulated salary in a financial year. (They are a small organization with contract jobs) Despite this, I am still happy to work for them as this visa will allow me to stay in the USA.

    Could you provide advice on whether employers of E3 visa holders need to declare income to immigration or will IRS just process my tax on the income I do earn? They are concerned that Immigration and IRS will realize that all is not aligning with the figures.

    Thank you very much and thank you for such a helpful website.

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