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.