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E3 Visa 2011 Common Questions Answered

We have published an exhaustive list of information about the E3 Visa for Australian nationals as referenced again below which covers process, costs, FAQs, employers, interviews, etc. but we still get endless questions every day. I am sorry that over the last 12 months we can’t respond to individual emails anymore but that is solely due to the sheer volume of questions which more often than not are long and detailed.

It was always our hope that this site would turn into an dynamic community where everyone could help each other in their US Immigration journey and that those who have progressed further can help those that are newer to the process. We thought that we would today answer some of the most common questions we have been asked in 2011 here in the hope that it will spur further discussion and aid to those who are looking to live and work in the US.

1. What are the Supporting Documents To Take To the US Consulate Interview?

In most cases if your company has been running for a while or sponsored foreign workers before and/or your job is without question a professional position that requires a bachelors degree, then the minimum required documents will be fine. Although it is always good to have other docs in reserve if you have it. These documents include the approved LCA (labor condition authorization from the Department of Labor), Letter of Offer from the Employer and DS-160 form copy and back up photos. You need an LCA for each company/job you would like E3 authorization for. At times it can also be good to have copies of your University Degrees and if you anticipate issues a transcribed copy of your academic and work qualifications to mark it as an equivalent to a US degree.

2. Can I Work Part Time on the E3 Visa, Do I Need Multiple E3 Visas & What Do I Need To Be Paid?

You can work part-time on the E3 Visa as long as it still meets the other criteria like Specialty Occupation. Each of the employers need to be listed on your E3 Visa stamp in your Passport with an approved LCA for each position. The minimum pay required has to meet the criteria for the position you are applying for in the city in which you are working. This is roughly equivalent to the average salary for a US worker in that role in that area and is checked on the US Government database and Salary Area.

3. Can I Start A Business (or transfer my business) on the E3 Visa?

In short you have to be sponsored by a US employer so you cannot start a sole trader business or transfer your Australia business to the US. There is potential if you US partners and an incorporated US entity that sponsors you as an employee that you could be eligible for the E3 visa but the company will most likely be checked in both LCA phase and US Consulate interview phase to determine its legitimacy and of course the role still has to meet the Bachelors Degree and Specialty Occupation conditions.

4. If I Don’t have a University Degree, Do I Have A Chance To Get The E3 Visa?

This is an interesting question and one which we try to answer below in the Bachelors Degree post. In short it becomes a lot more difficult. Given a US undergraduate Degree is 4 years and the rough equivalent is that 3 years of work experience is deemed to equal one year of study, a rough rule of thumb is you need 12 years of work experience specifically in your eligible profession. This has potential to be somewhat mitigated if you have some other higher education qualifications but ultimately this is at the complete discretion of the US Consulate officer in the location where you apply. Also again the job you are applying too has to have a bachelors degree as a minimum criteria for hiring which precludes many occupations like trades, hospitality, hair/beauty stylists, manual labor, etc. So in summary yes it is possible but is a lot more difficult and is really a route for those who have a significant number of years of work experience and who are applying for the same type of specialty job in the US.

Our E3 Visa Resources:

E3 Visa General Information
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
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?
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

Good Luck.

E3 Visa Process

We have so much on the E3 visa already at our main info page as well as our E3 Visa FAQ page which contains links to all major E3 visa resources on this site as well as some great tips and information.

So really this topic is already covered via the above resources but given the large amount of search volume from this query to our site more than anything else, along with many comments, we will do a brief post on the E3 visa process itself.

Step 1: Find an Employer willing to sponsor you
This is of course easier said than done but the crux of this is finding a US employer who is willing to hire you and thus sponsor your E3 Visa. The barrier to entry for this is at least less than the H-1B visa which has certain times of year associated to it, a very competitive fixed quota and large costs. However most employers will not hire someone without at least one face to face interview so there could be expense for you to achieve your goal. Note you can’t apply for your E3 visa as a new visa from within the US or transfer to it from the Visa Waiver Program. You can transfer to it from visa like the J1 Internship visa and F1 Student visa.

Step 2: Apply for Jobs At US Companies
I guess this is really interchangeable with Step 1 or indeed a subset of it. Given the important and uniqueness of this act I thought I would devote a paragraph to it. Of course for a foreigner on the other side of the earth to find a job in the US is some kind of effort and certainly requires some forward planning. Many people come to the US on the visas mentioned above like the J1 visa and F1 visa as a stepping stone to working in the US allowing them time to make contacts and attend interviews while under legal status. However many people do indeed do things like apply to jobs from Australia and then fly to the US and attend as many interviews as they can. Some good general tips are to have a US phone number on your application (i.e. via Skype), try and have a US mailing address if possible and mention visa status on their resume in explaining it to a potential employer. Of course from here the job interview and selection process is generally similar to what people may be used too but note that salary negotiations are a much bigger part of the US process and often begin right upfront. Finally ensure you understand the specialty occupation and bachelors degree provision.

Step 3: The Visa Application process
Once an employer has agreed to hire you and sponsor your E3 visa they need to file form ETA-9035(e) with the US Department of Labor. This is so they can received an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA). This is a free filing and can be done online. Essentially on this form includes details on the nature of the job, the nature of the company, a little on the candidate (i.e. you) and the salary. You should note that the salary has to meet the Department standard for the average salary for that type of role in that region of the country. You would take this document, along with an offer letter from the company to your US Consulate Interview for the E3 visa.

Step 4: The US Consulate Interview
From the link referenced above you can see a detailed account of the US Consulate interview for the E-3 visa. You can do this in other countries like Canada, UK, etc. but of course the most common tends to be at a Consulate in Australia. You should take as many supporting documents as possible including bank statements, asset ownership proof, copy of your degrees and any licenses that may be relevant to your role, etc. One of the things you need to demonstrate is the residence abroad condition. This is basically proof to the US that your ties to Australia are strong and that you intend to return home at the conclusion of your E3 visa period. The more prepared you are for this, the easier and quicker and less hassled it tends to be. You should note that you have to prepay the E3 Visa Application Fee at Australia Post prior to your interview.

So that in short is the E3 visa process but like I said read a lot of the other posts for in depth information and tips about particular aspects and how you can best navigate them.

Good Luck,