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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


E3 Visa Differences to the H1B Visa

So after not writing to much about the E3 Visa in recent times, I thought I would do a brief post on the differences between the E3 visa and the H1B visa. The main reason for this post is to clear up a lot of the E3 Visa Myths and FAQs as well as be a response to a lot of the questions we get from everyone regarding the E3 visa itself.

1. The E3 visa is only for Australian citizens whereas the H1B visa is for citizens of virtually any country
The E3 visa was created a subsequent addon to US Immigration law f or the Australian-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) signed in 2005 allowing Australian citizens to more easily work in the US against the more strict and competitive process surround the H1B visa

2. The E3 visa is renewable every 2 years indefinitely as opposed to singular H1B instances which are renewable once in 3 year increments
So in theory the E3 visa is able to renewed forever and many people now are on their 3rd E3 Visa Renewal. However just because you are doing a specialized occupation, at a previously approved company and have no violations of your visa terms, does not mean you will automatically be eligible for E3 visa renewal as that is up to the USCIS or US Consulate assessing your case. In most cases you should be fine but due to the non dual-intent provision of the E3 visa and maintaining home residency, sometimes arbitrarily it can be a grey area.

3. The E3 visa has no Government mandated application costs and only requires a free filing to the US Department of Labor where as the H1B visa requires a petition to be submitted to the USCIS during a specified period and has associated costs.
So the H1B visa has many costs as opposed to the E3 visa (not even accounting for optional H1B lawyer fees or E3 Visa lawyer fees). The E3 visa requires the sponsor company to file Form ETA-9035(e) to the Department of Labor which is a free filing to get an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) which the candidate needs to take to their US Consulate Interview to get the E3 visa stamp in the passport.
(NB: the only time a USCIS filing is required for a new E3 visa application, is when there is a transfer from another visa like the F1 Visa or J1 visa)

4. The E3-D Dependent Visa for spouses allows the spouse to work in the US
Unlike the H4 spouse visa for the H1B visa, the E3D Visa after filing for appropriate work authorization following entry into the US. It should also be noted that this working privilege does not extend to E3D dependent visa children under 21. The E3D visa holder does NOT need to be an Australian citizen.

5. The E3 visa is not specifically a dual intent visa
Unlike the H1B visa which allows for dual intent, at your E3 Visa US Consulate Interview, the candidate must prove they intend to leave the US at the end of their visa period and thus must prove significant ties to the home country. Now mistakenly people believe that this also means you can’t have your company sponsor you for a green card while on the E3 visa. This is NOT true as this is possible as the law states;

“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.”

However because of the dual intent provision, risks still may apply for a denial of your E3 visa when renewing with a pending Permanent Residency case. Many people have got Green Cards while on the E3 visa successfully so it certainly can and has been done.

6. The E3 visa does not have the portability provision explicitly stated
The H1B visa regulations has a provision that when candidates want to transfer employers, they can start working at their new employer while that application is still pending at the USCIS. This helps overcome the 10 day rule that an H1B visa (and indeed E3 visa) candidate is not allowed to be out of work in the US. For the E3 visa this portability provision is not explicitly stated, even though the E3 visa is supposed to follow the H1B rules where it is not written. However most people at the USCIS and indeed most US Immigration attorneys seem to interpret this as there being no portability provision for the E3 visa. Therefore because an application with the USCIS takes longer than 10 days to process, E3 visa candidates wanting to transfer employers either have to do it in advance while staying at their current employer or have to leave the US and get a new E3 visa for that new employer. (It should be noted the some E3 visa candidates have been told differently by the USCIS and others and have successfully started working at a new employer while their application was pending with no follow on issues)