E3 Visa 2012 Common Questions Answered

Over the 3 and a half years that we have been live, we have published a comprehensive list of information about the E3 Visa which is currently for Australian citizens only. However we did publish a recent post earlier this year about a proposed legislation to increase the scope of the E3 Visa for Irish Citizens.

Last year one of our most popular posts with readers was answering the most common reader and support questions in our 2011 E3 Visa Most Common Questions Answered. Due to the extreme volume of emails and post support we can’t respond to all the requests for help and questions as we did back in 2009. We know you all want your questions answered and are desperate for help but we have always encouraged those Immigrants that have gone ahead and experienced the US Immigration system to come back and help others.

To make the most of our time, we continue to post regularly about all that is going on in the US Immigration System, including both Visa Information as well things going on in the political arena that could effect US Immigration. So now to help all the E3 Visa aspirants specifically we will post answers to the most asked E3 Visa Questions of 2012.

1. Is Part Time Work Allowed on the E3 Visa and What Do I Need to be Paid?

It is allowable to work part-time on the E3 Visa in jobs still classified as Specialty Occupations. If you have multiple part time employers which is also allowed, each employer must be listed E3 Visa stamp in your Passport with an approved LCA for each role. Any employer that you may be working for in addition to this would not be technically legal. The minimum pay required has to meet the average US worker hourly salary or be higher for that role type in the city in which you are working and is checked on the US Government database and Salary Area.

2. Am I allowed to apply for the my renewal E3 Visa known as the E-3R Visa prior to current visa expiry?

Yes you are and what happens is that the US Consulate who processes your renewal visa will put a Void stamp over your old E-3 Visa and note it as not due to any illicit activity.

3. What Does the E3 Visa Salary Have to Be?

As per the above you salary has to be at least the average US worker hourly salary and can be higher for that role type in the region of the US which you are going to work is and needs to be confirmed on official sources like US Government database and Salary Area.  On your ETA-9035e application you have to note your job title and salary and what source you have used for the minimum average salary for your role in your area.

4. Is it Possible to Change from the E-3D Visa for Partners to the E-3 Visa or H-1B Visa?

If your spouse is an Australian citizen as well they can transfer from the E-3D Visa to the E-3 full working visa. If they are not an Australian citizen they can transfer to the H-1B Visa. They then become an independent visa holder and not dependent on someone else’s visa status.

5. If you have a Green Card PERM Application while on E-3 Visa is it a good idea to switch to the H-1B Visa?

This is an interesting question and one which we try to answer in this E3 Visa and Green Card post. While it is not explicitly forbidden to have an open PERM application on the E-3 Visa, it is also not explicitly allowed like the dual intent provision with the H-1B visa. Hence it often happens that the E-3 visa holder will switch to the H-1B visa to prevent any off change of a future E-3 visa denial.

6. I am in the US and having no luck getting Job Interviews what should I do?

It is a difficult journey for us all and for most it takes hundreds of job applications, job interviews, many rejections, non answers and other hurdles before you get that offer but keep persevering. We have put as may posts as we can here to help you including a entire 3 post series on one person’s journey to get to the E3 Visa via the J1 visa, posts on the US Resume & US Job Interview, US Job Site and Visa Resources as well as more recent book that we published on How to Live, Study and Work in America. Also it takes time so you have to allow yourself plenty of time to get places and you should network as much as possible via things like Meetup.

7. What are the Fees for the E3 Visa and do I need a Lawyer?

There are no fees for the E-3 Visa application (except the US Consulate Interview) when applying for a new E-3 Visa because the whole process just constitutes of the ETA-9035e filing with the Department of Labor to get your LCA which is free. However if you are transferring to the E-3 visa from another visa like the J-1 Visa, F-1 Visa or H-1B visa within the US then you do have to pay the application fees for the I-129 which is $325 currently. The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fee, Premium Processing Fee, Fraud Detection Fee and potential Public Law 111-230 Fee where 50% of workforce is foreign are NOT applicable as they are only for the H-1B visa.

All the best and don’t get discouraged in your journey and you will achieve your dreams 🙂

Array of E3 Visa Resources:

– E3 Visa General Information
– Getting a job on the E3 Visa
– Explaining the E3 Visa to an employer
– Going to a Green Card from the E3 Visa
– How much does the E3 Visa application cost?
– E3 Visa US Consulate Interview
– Transfer to an E3 Visa from another US Visa
– E3D Visa – spouse and dependent visa for the E3 Visa
– Step by Step Guide to your E3 Visa
– Social Security & Healthcare while on the E3 Visa
– Extending, Renewing or Changing Employers on the E3 Visa
– E3 Visa Renewal without US Consulate Interview
– How Does the E3 Visa Differ from the H1B visa
– E3 Visa Job Information
– E3 Visa Employer Database (exclusive)
– E3 Visa Bachelors Degree and Specialty Occupation conditions explained
– E3 Visa Demonstrate Residence Abroad condition explained
– E3 Visa concepts explained in easy to understand language
– Do I need a lawyer for the E3 Visa process?
– Laid off on the E3 Visa

CJ

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13 thoughts on “E3 Visa 2012 Common Questions Answered

  1. Hi there! Two things:
    1) Thanks for all the useful info on this site. The various info on this site plus a few others were of great help when I was applying to switch from my OPT to E3 (in fact, it was F-1 to F-1 to OPT to E3)
    2) On the first bullet you have up there, would I be correct to assume that if I want to pursue a part-time consulting position on the side (I have a full time job), I would need them to apply for an LCA as well? If they do, what more do I have to do to get permission for this? Alternatively, would I be allowed to set myself up as a ‘consulting company’ and take in consulting jobs that way?

  2. Hi Jason,
    You need an LCA legally for every job you do under the E-3 visa. Technically you can setup a company but in reality your LCA would probably be declined b/c you need to show history and tax ID information on the ETA-9035e application to get your LCA. You can have multiple employers under the E-3 visa.
    Cj

  3. I have an E3 Visa. Can I work on personal projects/concepts in the evening (in my own time) if they may develop into sellable products? What about contributing to open-source software projects?

  4. Hey CJ,

    Many thanks for keeping such an informative website – I have been reading every other day for the past 1-2 months since I discovered this, and you have been a great go-to person for advice for all, so thank you very much!!

    I am writing because I am about to send an email to an interested sponsor in NYC USA, highlighting the steps he would need to take in writing an employment letter and filing online LCA. I have a few questions and would greatly appreciate your reply!

    1. I have a degree in Communications. The job is with a production company, doing marketing, communications, teaching and producing. I am looking at the foreign labour certification website (ETA form 9035 instruction attachment), where it lists the job titles and their ‘3 digit dot / 8 digit net codes’. Would “131(dot) – 27309999 (net) Media and Communication worker” or “159 – 27‐2012.01 Producers” fulfil the E3 criteria of “specialised field”? Is this the correct info for the LCA?

    2. When you say we have to “note your job title and salary and what source you have used for the minimum average salary” on our ETA-9035e application – Where do we find these sources? Can you link me to one? Or am I correct in saying the Foreign Labour Certification Data Center website you linked us to above, is a source? (http://www.flcdatacenter.com/OESQuick.aspx).

    3. The job I am being offered is currently part time, with the intent of becoming full time. Would I recommend my sponsor write “part time” on the LCA? And is it best to say “hourly wage” for the salary section (because this will very every week)?

    4. Because I am beginning part time, I will do my best to get a second part time / freelance job to support myself. I assume this is easiest to do when I arrive, so when you mentioned we can have several part time jobs, as long as we have our employer file an LCA; – “listed E3 Visa stamp in your Passport with an approved LCA for each role” – HOW do we get this “stamped” in our passport after we have already been accepted into the USA on one part time accepted position? Or do you mean – as long as the E3 has already been approved for one job, every job you get offered after that needs an LCA filed? If yes, what do we do with the LCA when it has been filed?

    5. How do I file an LCA for “freelance” work, which may be very infrequent or once off jobs? Is it essential?

    Lastly, does the US government check (maybe via social security cards), where our income is coming from i.e. freelance jobs without an LCA? And also, how do we apply for a social security card (I think I read it in one of your blogs). And healthcare – can we expect a part time employer to provide us with health care, when essentially they’re helping in giving the opportunity to legally work in the USA, what is your advice on health care?

    THANK YOU SO MUCH CJ!! In advance I am so appreciative – sorry for the detailed questions, I am as determined as you to do this all without a lawyer, and I promise I will write an update and blog to help others, when I have entered the USA on an E3 visa. Your services are highly appreciated.

  5. Hey CJ,

    Just another quick question – what do we ask the employer to include in an employment letter? Would I be correct if it included; sponsor’s personal details, company details, why they’re hiring me (?), the job title, roles of the job expected of me, part time or full time, hourly wage (?), length of duration for the job (i.e. 2 years)? Is there anything else? All your advice is much appreciated!

    J

  6. Hi Jillian,

    1. I am not sure I clearly understand what the job is you are applying for or the certification codes you are specifying with their titles. Ultimately is your job title and role itself that defines the code needed for the LCA form and level of pay. Their no exact science to choosing this or 1 correct answer but overall it must pass both Bachelor’s Degree and Specialty occupation criteria along with the prevailing wage.

    2. That site is a recognized source so would suffice for the ETA-9035 application

    3. If your job is part time and going to be paid hourly you are going to run into a number of issues. The jobs while can be full time are generally required to permanent salary positions. This is not a guaranteed deal breaker but is going to raise a lot of red flags in your process meaning everything else gets scrutinized more

    4. You can get other Part time roles but they also have to meet the criteria I mention above which is your case is sounding difficult at best. Also if you are applying for an E-3 visa that is just part-time, the US Consulate can require you how to plan to support yourself with current assets based on that lower income and saying you will get other jobs is not an answer that generally works.

    5. The E-3 visa is not for freelance or contract work really at all so that will almost certainly not work legally.

    6. The US Government doesn’t check as such where your income is coming from in practice but could if they wanted too. Hence why so many people get away with working illegally usually at low paying or cash paying jobs. However the IRS is another story separate from Immigration and b/c you need to file a tax return every year noting everything that can get ugly if they suspect anything funny. You can apply for a Social Security number if you have an approved work visa like the E-3 visa and have already entered the US. You will need this not only for most jobs but to function day to day in US with banking, phones, health, renting, etc. In terms of healthcare if your employer does not provide if then it can get very expensive very quickly for you in the US. Also with new Healthcare law in the US you will probably be reuqired to have some sort of Healthcare whether employer or self paid. Almost all foreigners who are legally working in the US in professional jobs have employer paid healthcare but that is up to your employer and they don’t often do it for part-time, contract or lower paid workers.

    Extra Question. Yes all that information and anything else relevant about the employer and the job can go in that letter. The more the better and should be on their letter head.

    Good Luck,
    Cj

  7. Hi Tim,
    In theory you can do whatever you want, however legally speaking you can’t earn any income from anything in the US that is not authorized by the Department of Labor and USCIS.
    Cj

  8. Hi CJ,

    I’m currently working on an E3 visa here in the States. A different company has asked me to become a partner in their business (which is in the same industry that I currently work in). Is it possible to be a business owner and work on the E3, being sponsored by the company that I will also be a partner in? Not sure how this plays out, and if it is allowed.

    Thanks in advance.

  9. Hi GB,
    In theory you can, however the job role, wage payment and company approval has to pass the same tests as any other role. So with new companies that often involves being seen to be able to financially pay you as an employee.
    Cj

  10. Hi,
    Before i start… fantastic blog – wish i’d found it before i was knee deep in visa apps…
    Just wondering, I am in the final stages of moving over – consulate interview booked – and am thinking about health care.
    The company I am going to be working for isn’t able to offer it for the first 5 months (temp position) does anyone have any thoughts on where to START looking for cover?
    I am annoyingly accident prone (or clumsy) and don’t want to get caught out.

    Thanks,
    Lee

  11. Lee with the new Healthcare law in the US it depends on which state you are working in as to what your options. Some states have setup health insurance exchanges where you can select from a range of plans. Different insurers operate in different states but the largest ones are Aetna, Blue Cross – Blue Shield, United, Cigna, Kaiser, Humana and Wellpoint but there are numerous others as well.
    Cj

  12. I am an Australian citizen on E3D Visa and have an EAD (currently working), from oct my status changes as my husband got H1B, I am not sure if my employer can sponsor me for an independent E3…if I get a sponsor do I have to go for visa stamping?

    Thanks

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