E3 Visa Renewal & Reissue Without US Consulate Interview

So occasionally the US Immigration system makes some positive changes. We recently talked about the ability to use an unexpired US visa in your old passport while using a new passport to travel and now a recent change will help the E3 visa renewal process to be quicker for some people.

The E3 visa itself is on the lower end of complex non-immigrant visas in the US Immigration system in terms of documents, costs, competition, approval process and logistics of actually obtaining the US visa in your passport.

However the US Immigration system is inherently complex and often very unfair and unforgiving, and many people unfairly get caught up in this. Often with the E3 visa this happens at the last hurdle just when an applicant is up to the final stage and attending their E3 Visa US Consulate Interview. Often not fully prepared people are in a manner of speaking ambushed at this juncture and can have their visa application outright denied or almost as bad have it go through Administrative Processing.

Now many people are up to or have gone through their first E3 visa renewal after their 2 year period and others have gone through 2 or 3 visa renewals. Now this E3 visa renewal can be done within the US but the drawbacks with this approach are that it has to be done via the USCIS. This means the process can take up to 6 months but on average for most people seems to take about 1-3 months to be approved. So this requires plenty of planning in advance with your employer if this is to be done.

Unlike the H1B visa where it explicitly states, that a foreigner on this visa can continue working while this renewal application is being process, the E3 does not. This is actually common with the E3 visa in that USCIS directives are that when in doubt it should follow the H1B visa legislation since that is what it was modeled on and is similar too, however as it is not explicitly written in the law, different people give different advice both from the Legal industry and from within the US Government itself! Therefore if you talk to E3 visa holders they will give you different advice and different good and horror stories. Because of this what tends to happen as I mentioned above for those that want to do it wihin the country, they tend to plan and do the application well in advance to avoid any potential immigration issues.

The other thing to note in regards to the E3 visa renewal petition itself with the USCIS is that a new Labor Condition Application approval is needed from the Department of Labor and then a fee is required to be paid to the USCIS for the E3 visa renewal petition which is currently over $300 USD. This differs from doing the application outside the US where the only fee is the US Consulate application fee which is approximately $130 USD.

The biggest drawback other than the cost/time issue with doing the E3 visa renewal within the US is that you don’t actually get a new E3 visa. In fact as far as the US Government is concerned it is not your US Visa that has been renewed or extended it is your US Visa status that has been extended. This subtle distinction which may seem just semantics actually means a lot.

If you were to travel Internationally anywhere after your current E3 visa has expired but you have an approval for extension of E3 visa status from the USCIS, you will need to re-apply again for a new E3 visa at a US Consulate. A vaild and unexpired US visa is needed for re-entry into the US and the extension of status you received within the US just means you can continue working legally and operate as normal but does not give you the new visa which is the only thing that get you reentry into the United States under that same visa status.

So given all that what is the positive change that has recently been made for E3 Visa Renewals and Reissues.

Well for Australian citizens on the E3 visa who;

  • Are applying for the same type of visa within 12 months of the expiration of your previous visa?
  • Have previously provided a full set of 10 fingerprints at a Consulate during a visa interview?
  • Are an Australian citizen or permanent resident?
  • Area resident of the Consular district in which you are applying for your visa?
  • Where the previous visa approved at the time of the interview without any correspondence from the Consulate indicating your application required further administrative processing?
    and whose…
  • Previous visa was not lost, stolen, or revoked;
  • Have not changed your name or nationality since the issuance of your last U.S. visa;
  • Have not been previously refused a visa or entry into the US;
  • Previous visa did not require a waiver of ineligibility (For example: criminal convictions)
  • Have had no arrests or convictions (other than minor traffic violations) that have occurred since your previous visa was issued.
  • Have no ineligibilities or reason to believe you have failed to comply with U.S. immigration law

So if you could answer yes to all those question you may be eligible to the E3 Visa Renewal and Reissue without attending the US Consulate Interview. It should be noted that you have to present within your designated Consular district within this time and you have to mail the application from Australia and not from the US.

There isn’t any word on the processing time of all this but if they could legitimately receive an application you posted on Monday, on Tuesday. Then take 24 hours to review and to the E3R E3 visa renewal in you passport and mail it back to you by Thursday or Friday that same week, then it could definitely be worth it. However if it takes much longer than this period to process that could effect many people’s plans so we will report back as we find out more and look forward to your feedback and experiences with this process.

CJ

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92 thoughts on “E3 Visa Renewal & Reissue Without US Consulate Interview

  1. Add to that list of questions:
    Are not planning on going outside the USA for the duration of their extension?

    I’m just about to go back to Australia to get another E3 – I would have liked to just go up to Toronto, but there was not a single consulate appointment available for the entire period that they allow you to make appointments – and not just Toronto – but all of Canada.

    Another point to note about the payment of money to USCIS for the I-129 – it is illegal (in VA at least) for the employee to pay the fee, the employer has to be the one who pays the fee. (I read that on a VA government website once – but can’t for the life of me find it now)

  2. Hi Steven,
    Yes that is a point we certainly make that the extension of a visa is an extension of status and not a new visa. Therefore it cannot be used as a reentry permit and so if a person leaves the country they need to get a new E3 visa or whatever they are on.
    Technically all those fees have to paid by the employer for all work visas, although many in an underhanded form try to get it back from their employee.
    CJ

  3. Thanks for the great info on your site Chris.

    I’m getting ready to apply for an E3 in Kuala Lumpur (going for few months next week). I was on a B1/B2 for 7 years, when I was denied entry, had visa cancelled and given a 5 year bar last September. I was told by the Immigration Officer at the time to just apply for an E3 (I made money as an affiliate on the internet and was paid by a US company) and have also heard I can just lodge the E3 application as normal.

    Just wondering if you’ve heard anything about applying with a bar in place and when I’d need to apply for the waiver.

    Thanks,
    J

  4. Hi J,
    Thanks for the kind words.
    Generally if you have a bar you would be usually denied non-immigrant visas but ultimately it is the completely discretion of the US consulate and the immigration officer who does your interview. So you can lodge your application as normal but the outcome is completely up to the.
    Good Luck,
    Cj

  5. Hi CJ,

    Thanks for the advice. Assuming I get a good person at the consulate and get the visa, do I still face a 50/50 with the immigration guy in the US or do they have to approve me once these work visas go through?

    Thanks,
    J

  6. Hi CJ

    I am interested in renewing my E3 via this fingerprint reissue program. I’m a resident of Brisbane, Queensland, but the nearest consulate serving my district is in Sydney, New South Wales (i.e there is no consulate in Brisbane or anywhere in Queensland) – does that mean I’m a resident of my consular district? I have now had two E3’s and both were issued via interview (in person) at the Sydney consulate. Is there anyway to check if they have all 10 of my fingerprints? I’m 99% certain the last time I interviewed they took all 10. I’m nervous about sending my visa in the mail i.e. what if it never comes back? Anyone else taken the risk???

    Thanks!
    F

  7. Hi there,
    I am currently on an e3 visa and in the USA. I wish to renew my visa which expires in november. Same employer. Can i simply renew it here (or extend it) Then when i go back to australia next year, reapply for a new e3? would it be better to go to canada for a week or so?

  8. hi cam, just some advice – i am in the same boat and just booked a trip to vancouver for my e3 renewal but decided at the last minute not to risk it, and going to australia instead. you have more chance of it being rejected when you’re at an embassy not in your “homeland.”

  9. Hi – CJ this is a wonderful website and I have found more relevant information on this site than anywhere else online. My E3 visa expires in Jan 11 and I am living and working in Oregon. Vancouver BC is pretty accessible for me to go and apply for a new E-3. Does anyone have recent experience of applying in Canada recently? People often say it is more of a gamble – but I am not sure whether there is proof that they reject more or not? I assume they re-issue your passport to you in Vancouver, does anyone have recent experience of timelines to return passport with Visa (and do you need a home address in Vancouver for them to send to you – or can you collect?)
    Thanks
    Annie

  10. Useful information, thanks. Is it possible at all to do such an application without physically being in Australia (ie while continuing to work in the US)? I could mail the documents/passport to my sister who could pay the fee at the post office, mail it in, receive it back and courier it back to the States. Does this violate the “resident in consular district” aspect? It does seem risky since if I’m called for an interview I’ll need to get to Australia, but the passport will be in Aust. Ug.

    The distinction between status and visa is nuts. An extension ought to be an extension of both.

  11. Hi J,
    Rarely do you have to worry about refusal at the US port of entry unless there is something crazy in your passport, background or some sort of weird flag with your employer. The other reason some people are occasionally questioned more is if they share a name with someone on a hit list.
    Cj

  12. Hi FB,
    Yes you are a resident of the Sydney US Consulate. There is no way to check the fingerprint part and I have no direct experience with that form of renewal.
    Cj

  13. Hi Yvette,
    Thanks for your input.
    That is not true that you are more at risk of being rejected in Canada as it really depends on your case. E3 visa renewals are done every day at all Canadian consulates so they are very familiar with them.
    Cj

  14. CJ,

    Thanks for the information, it was been really helpful and informative.

    I was stuck at the LA Custom for 3 hours a month ago while coming back with a combination of my expired Australian E3 visa and my approval of extension documents. They basically told me what you have informed in your column that “you will need to re-apply again for a new E3 visa at a US Consulate.” They did grant me another 2 years of I-94, but now I cannot leave USA and come back without having a new VISA.

    I am going a trip to Taiwan in March, is it possible to have my E3 visa renewed in Taiwan? If so, is that the US embassy in Taiwan? or would you recommend that I mail my application to US embassy in Sydney Australia.

    Thanks,

    Ronnie

  15. E-3 visa FEES have hiked a lot whereas H1B are still comparatively cheaper option. H1B visas are valid for 3 years whereas E-3 for 2 years.H1B have premium processing option and just with H1B receipt notice the applicant can start working for new employer.Processing of EB-3 and EB-2 green cards are a lot more safer and better option to process on H1B visa (dual intent) then E-3 visa.

  16. I am at the end of my first E-3 visa and I am seeking to renew it with the same employer. I sent my required documents to the U.S. Consulate and was told that I was ineligible for the interview waiver as I am technically applying for an E3R which is a “different” visa so I am heading in for an interview. If you are in the same situation, don’t waste time (it took them a week to notify me that I needed an interview) and book the interview up front.

    I’m not sure how this renewal/reissue program works for E-3 visa renewals. Perhaps only applicants for a new E-3 (new employer) would qualify?

    Also, the E-3 fees have gone up to over $400AUD per applicant (this includes E-3Ds etc).

  17. Hi Ron,
    The US Embassy in Taiwan should be able to handle your E3 visa renewal with an Interview.
    You can’t do this special no interview renewal without really being present in the Australia as they will probably only mail to an Australian address. Additionally if any issues occur then you would be stuck if you needed to go to the US consulate.
    Cj

  18. Hi,
    I’m hoping you can help me, I’m in the US and want renew my e3 which expires in april for the 2nd time…after logging on the website the process has changed and I can’t figure it out. It says to make an appt at the ASC first (there are some in the US but it thought we had to leave the country? (i went to TJ last time). The visa are now couriered rather than pick up? How can we find out if we have be ’10 printed’ i can’t remember if they did that last time (2009) or when i came in the country?
    thank you so much for your help.

  19. Great site. Thank you. Two questions: Does your E3 have to have actually passed its expiry date in order to renew or extend it? I have to return to Aust. briefly in march but my visa does not actually expire until end of April, I was hoping to be able to renew it while back there. Secondly, my brother is also on an E3 visa he received it the same time I did, however after only a few days of arriving here his wife became ill and was forced to return to Australia. He now wishes to return to the same employer here in the US- his visa period however is nearly expired- although he has not actually worked here yet- the visa was activated-can he use that same visa and extend it? it would save him reapplying. Your assistance is really appreciated. Thank you Kindly.

  20. renewing my E3 visa at the consulate in Nassau. Wondering if the process/paperwork is the same for the renewal process as it was for the original application?

  21. Hello:

    Good info on this site, thanks. Does anyone know how long USCIS is taking to renew E3 visas in 2011. I filed for renewal in July 2011 and waiting for response. How long is it taking USCIS (Vermont Service Center/VSC) to approve E3 dependent EAD renewals? I read on other sites that EAD for J visa, etc are taking 90-120 days now. Is this also true for E3 EAD’s? If anyone has experience, please post your processing time for E3 and E3 EAD renewals with USCIS. All E3 renewals are filed with VSC regardless of which state you work and reside in. Thanks.

  22. E3 Renewal // E3R

    Hello everyone. My current E3 visa is to expire in January 2012. I contacted the Melbourne consulate to request if 10 fingerprints were taken at the time of my issue of my current E3 visa in relation to the fingerprint reissue/reuse program. I was told that, yes they had 10 fingerprints, but if I was intending to reapply through the fingerprint reissue/reuse program with the SAME employer this would be in fact an E3R visa, and my fingerprints would not be able to be used, however if I was applying with a NEW employer they would be. Does anyone have any experience with this? Why would you need to have new fingerprints scanned if you are simply renewing your visa with the same employer / job position?

    Many thanks,

    Charlie

  23. Hi ,My E3 is about o expire i jan 2012 .I have applied for LCA in August .it is not approved yet .But I recently travelled abroad When I came back on the 31st of august on my I 94 they stamped as valid till 30 th Aug 2013 not only for me but for my family of four i was he same date.I dont understand this.Can you please explain
    Thanks,

    Philip.

  24. Hi,
    I was wondering how you distinguish between E3 and the E3R. My first E3 visa has just expired and i recently received my LCA. I read about the Fingerprint Reissue/ Reuse Program however people have raised the issue that if its the same employer I could get declined because its technically a different visa and have to go in for an interview anyhow.

    I was just wondering if there is any validity too this?

    Thanks,

  25. I have an E3 renewal in process. Application has already been lodged with vermont service center. My visa is expiring in next 15 day’s and i haven’t received the receipt notice yet. What happens if i don’t receive the receipt notice before my visa expires ?

  26. Anybody applied for E3 renewal in March 2012. As per USCIS, processing time for VSC is 2 months. Apprecaite if anybody can share their experiences regarding the same.

  27. Maz average processing time tends to be 2-3 months at either the Vermont or California service centeres.
    Cj

  28. Hi Mr. e3visa,

    I read on some other part of your website that you guys are bogged down by the no. of questions people are asking that you havent simply got the resources to answer all of them. I think it is a good thing in a way that so many people are visiting your website. Its good that ads have started appearing on your website and in turn might help you guys to make a dime. Thanks for the wonderful voluntary service, but if you can earn a dime, why not?

    My question is basically same as that of the guy with a hat aboveE3questioner. I dont know how he got to post his picture as I didnt get that option to upload mine. 🙂 I see a lot of questions have not been answered from a long time. May be you can get the help of some trustworthy dedicated individuals who like making a positive effect on people’s lives.

    So, the real question is
    1. Can I post my documents from US to Australia and my relative can collect the passport when it is stamped. Do I have to be in Australia to post the application for Reissue program.
    2. What happens if they want a face to face appearance. Can it be that my relative sends me the passport back to US and then I can travel to Canada to appear in person in Toronto. Or do I have to back to Australia?
    3. Also, my employer has filed the Labor for me for my GC. The lawyer who filed the GC said its better to have the visa renewed while in US sothat there will not be much scrutiny and they might not notice that GC has been filed, whereas in face to face appearance they might bring it up. Do you have anything to add on these issues.

    Your kind response is greatly appreciated.

    Once again thanks for doing the wonderful work.

    Kind Regards.

  29. Hi HB,
    1. You have to be in Australia to the posting and receiving your new E-3 visa b/c you need to re-enter the US using that visa and get it processed at the border otherwise your visa will not be seen as active.
    2. As above you have to be in Australia so any face to face interview would be in Australia if required.
    3. With the E-3 visa there is no explicit dual intent provision as exists for visa like the H-1B and L-1 visa (i.e. the ability to have a concurrent Green Card PERM application filed while you are still on the E-3 visa). However there is no explicit prohibition of it either as exists for the F-1 or J-1 visas among others. So the short answer is that it is a grey area. Many people have successfully filed for their Green Card application while on an E-3 visa and had it renewed outside the US. If you read other forums you hear the odd story where that is not the case but their may be other circumstances too. What many have done is transfer to an H-1B visa from the E-3 visa to avoid any potential issues during this period. In any case b/c of the nature of the time to process (particularly if you are on filing under EB-3 for Green Card), if you do renewals within the US, you won’t be able to leave the US for a fair number of years while your PERM application is processed and then on waiting list before final stages.
    Cj

  30. Just thought I’d submit my experience with renewing my E-3 Visa.
    Last year was the 3rd time I’d re-applied for an E3, but the first time my wife and I did the application by post when we were in Sydney on holidays. Although there was a mistake with the dates on the LCA – the embassy staff contacted me by email to let me know and let me email them the updated one when I received it. They were very helpful and easy to deal with and the process went smoothly. I’m going back again this December and am about to figure out if I should renew the visa or apply for a new one like I’ve done previously. I’m just a bit worried that if I apply for a new one, their mightn’t be any left for 2011.
    Thanks for a great forum.

  31. Any one had any success with this Fingerprint Reissue/ Reuse program? How long does it take once you mail all your documents? Thanks. Dan

  32. I work in NY and my E3 visa is expiring in August. my employer has already applied for status renewal. How long will it take to get the extension? Can I keep working if I dont get approval in time?I also got an email that my ESTA was expiring in 30 days what does that mean and what should be my next steps. Please suggest

  33. Hi Smita,
    Usually the approval takes 2-3 months if done within the US but because the H-1B application period is also running with oversubscription there might be greater delays in processing time. You can continue to work while you have a pending application with USCIS if you are still within the US. Your ESTA is irrelevant as that only applies for your tourist entries into the US and you are currently here on a work visa. You would only need to renew that if you entered the US again as a tourist.
    Cj

  34. I’ve tried to mail in my application rather than attend an interview for my E3 visa, and it was definitely a mistake. I posted everything on Monday, and it was received at the US consulate in Sydney on Tuesday. As of EOB Thursday, my application is still marked as ‘no status’, meaning it hasn’t even begun processing. If I had attended an interview on Monday instead, I most likely would have my passport returned either today or tomorrow. So if you wish to get things done ASAP, definitely attend an interview instead. CJ, you might want to include this in your post. This definitely would of helped me if I had known earlier.

  35. Peter thanks for sharing your experience as not many people have talked about the practical reality of the no attendance renewal process. The one thing to note is though if interviews are not available for weeks, even a slightly longer mailing process might be quicker than waiting for an interview.
    Cj

  36. CJ – great website!!!

    In relation to E3 Renewal.

    My E3 Visa will expire Feb 12th 2014, but I would like to renew my visa either in October or November this year while I’m in London (providing I got an interview). However, my immigration lawyer said that Consulates/Embassies will not issue new visas if more than 60 days remains on the prior unexpired visa.
    Is this correct? I cant find anything to suggest that this is in fact the case…

    Please advise

    AJ

  37. AJ that should be fine and even if the question comes up as to why you are doing this in your US Consulate interview, on advice of your company because you had these overseas travel plans would be perfectly valid. I know many cases where people did this in the 2 month region prior to expiry. You can always call the London US Consulate to check.
    Cj

  38. Thanks for the response CJ, some reassurance.

    Next step is to call the London US Consulate.

    All the best

    AJ

  39. Hello,

    Firstly, thank you very much maintaining and providing this informative website. I am currently working on E-3 visa, which will expire on 01/01/2014. My employer is willing to renew, and apply for green card shortly.

    Does anyone have the current renewal processing knowledge, and the list of documents required for a successful renewal?

    Any help offered would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  40. Jai the process for applying for your E-3 visa renewal (or technically E-3R visa) is almost exactly the same as the initial E-3 visa. Your employer files to get your approved LCA. Then you take that along with same supporting documents you took last time to your US Consulate interview.
    Cj

  41. Hi CJ,

    Thanks for the prompt response. Do I need to leave the country to get a new or extended E-3? I am currently in the U.S, and I do not have any travel plans.

    Thanks,
    Jai

  42. Jai you can do it within the US and that would require still getting the approved LCA but then your company has to file an I-129 form with USCIS. There is a filing fee associated with that as well as a processing time period so I would recommend doing it 90-120 days prior to your current E-3 visa expiring. Note at the end of this you don’t actually get a new E-3 visa you get approved E-3 status which means you stay in US for another 2 years and work. However it doesn’t mean you can re-enter the US as you would need a new visa for that so the next time you left the US you would still have to go to a US Consulate interview and get a new E-3R visa
    Cj

  43. hi there,

    my visa is expiring Jan 3 -I am currently employed and hoping to renew my e3 visa in toronto shortly wiht the same employer -originally from australia –
    Is it correct I need to have my employer re-submit the LCA then I book an interview in toronto for renewal?
    I am also going back to australia in February -is it easier to extend my work permit and then do it in Australia when I am there?

    thanks!!

  44. Ana yes your employer you would need to resubmit form ETA-9035(e) to get your approved LCA regardless of the route you take whether it be;
    – Extend your E-3 status within the US via also filing Form I-129 to USCIS with the appropriate fees (this route with the E-3 visa you would usually do about 3 months before your visa expiry date due to the processing times and the grey area with continuing to work in your E-3 visa past the expiry date while an application is processing compared to the H-1B where it is allowed). You would still need to get your actual E-3 visa in Australia (oe elsewhere overseas) even if the E-3 status is approved and extended within the US when you leave the country to be able to reenter
    – Go do a E-3 visa renewal outside the US like in Toronto prior to your visa expiry. Note the Canadian US Consulates usually have long wait times to make appointments and particularly Toronto and at this time of year with holidays so you may be waiting a while to make an appointment.
    Cj

  45. Hi CJ,

    I am currently on an E3 visa expiring may 29th 2014. My employer has already stated they are happy to renew my visa. I am getting married to an American in October this year, the only glitch we have is my brother is getting married in April 2014 in Australia. If I file the E3 renewal paperwork abroad (from the US) will they deny me re-entry after my visit back to Australia in April? I am worried if I wait and apply from the US after we return from the wedding mid-april it won’t be approved and processed by May 29th.

    We have looked into Fiance Visa’s, however I cannot work on a fiancé visa and must be married within 90 days of it being approved.

    Thanks!

  46. Lexie even if you weren’t getting married in October you would be best served getting a new E-3 visa when you go back in April. Your employer just needs to get a new approved LCA and then when you go back to Australia the process is the same as when you got your first E-3 visa with the consulate interview. Once they approve your renewal visa known as E-3R with a new stamp, they will just cancel your current E-3 visa expiring in May.
    Cj

  47. Hi CJ and all,

    Do you have any advice on whether approval of your E3 visa renewal is more likely/less risky at an Australian consulate rather than one in Canada, London, Mexico or the Caribbean? Do some consulates have a better reputation or experience with the E3 visa over others? And do consulates outside of Australia take longer to process the application?

    My first E3 visa is due to expire in May and my employer would like to extend this for a further 2 years. I will apply shortly for the I-129 petition extension but would prefer to apply for the full visa when I’m able to take time off work in July or August. I will only have one or two weeks maximum to travel around work commitments so would prefer to apply closer to the US and with less travel expense, but not at the detriment to approval or extended processing time.

    I would really appreciate your advice.

    Thank you,

    Kim

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