Tag Archives: e3 visa interview

E3 Visa Bachelors Degree Proof If You Have No Degree

In the last few months we are getting so many questions about this and almost all of them are very similar with just slight variations. So just to be completely clear again we will spell out a few facts and major points of note based on own research and listening to hundreds of people’s experiences over the past 3 years of this site. Many of these experiences you can read across this site along with additional information particularly on our prior posts about;

E3 Visa General Information
E3 Visa US Consulate Interview
E3 Visa Bachelors Degree and Specialty Occupation conditions explained
Extending, Renewing or Changing Employers on the E3 Visa

Now here are the major points of note that apply to ALL cases. Just because your case varies slightly from this does NOT mean the US Consulate assessing your case are going to give you any special treatment as they assess hundreds of cases daily and are often making snap decisions so is best to be well prepared.

– The Bachelors Degree requirement is specifically for the position you are applying for that as advertised or if not advertised for in the normal course of events would have a bachelors degree as a minimum required criteria
– If you do not have a bachelors degree as a minimum, then you have to prove that any post high school education experience you have (completed or not) combined with your relevant years of professional experience in the area of the specific role you are applying for at least at minimum equals the level of a US Bachelors degree
– While not a stated policy anywhere, given the length of a standard US Bachelors Degree is 4 years, 3 years of relevant professional experience would equal one year of a degree. So that would mean as a rule of thumb, 12 years of relevant professional experience would equal a US bachelors degree (relevance is important as if you are applying for a investment finance job, experience working on a hotel front desk is not going to matter)

– Even though many Australian undergraduate University degrees are 3 years, the US would consider that equivalent to as US Bachelors degree
– Getting your experience and/or partial education accredited by a US company or institution as to its equivalency to a US Bachelors Degree will certainly help (possibly a fair bit) but is by no means a guarantee as to whether you will be approved
– Each case is at the total and ultimate discretion of the US consulate around the world to which you are applying and more particularly to the specific case officer in your case. That Consulate and case officer is under no obligation to provide you full reasoning behind their decision making and you have no right of appeal. You can only try again fully to apply for a new e3 visa application with new information if you have it

– Given that and the lack of clear stated black and white guidelines, you may be denied on technicalities and depending on where you apply you might be denied with a similar case and background to somebody else. This is obviously not fair but is the current system
– If you get denied, that does not preclude from applying again for a future US visa nor does it necessarily count against you. However it is always on your permanent record and you may get asked about it a future US Consulate interview. Given a US Consulate is “never wrong”, you would be well advised to not answer disparaging a previous consular official or consulate in a subsequent consulate interview if asked about a previous denial
– The more specialized your occupation you are applying for, the potential for them to be more relaxed about your level of experience/education. Again this is all completely arbitrary but if you are applying for a highly specialized bio-tech or nuclear role then your chances of being approved on relevant experience alone is probably higher than a generic business role

– In terms of supporting documents apart from getting a degree equivalency done, you could bring references on official letterheads, official HR documents explaining tenure, time at the company, job title and duties of the role you had, tax returns/financials/official company docs if it was your own company, awards and other certificates, diplomas and anything highlighting the level of your experience and education that could be provable if the US consular official so desired by calling somebody or looking up databases online. (it is certainly not advisable to fudge things hear b/c once you lose credibility with the Consulate, it would be hard to regain it). There is no official list of documents, but the more proof the better
– If you are applying for an occupation that you are not sure whether it is a specialty, bring copies of your Bachelors Degrees as well as information about the company, the position and duties as well as copies of where the job was advertised showing the bachelors degree minimum criteria all helps
– With professions where you need US licensing to actually do the job it is a little grey as to whether you can undertake this after you arrive and once you have started work but where possible getting this in advance is helpful and/or having your employer clearly state a plan of action around this when you arrive (NB: most licensing is state based in the US so you would need it from the State where you are working)

In recent times we have been hearing anecdotal experiences from some people, that Canadian based US Consulates are not even processing first time new E3 visa cases brought before them but only renewals of subsequent E3 visas whether the same or a different company. This is NOT a stated policy anywhere and the US Consulates in Canada all allow you to book online a new E3 visa appointment. However given the wait times for interviews for the US Consulates in Canada and the expense of traveling and staying somewhere, it is important to share this type of information that some people seem to be having at face value.

There may be underlying reasons whether pertinent to their specific case and/or due to the case load at a particular Consulate as to why this may be happening but given we don’t know, it is important to be wary. Whether some US Consulate locations are more favorable and easier then others is really unknown and can really only be gleaned from people’s experiences.

Ultimately with all of this it is very arbitrary and may seem unfair. However that is the US Immigration system and you just have to as best you can navigate through the misinformation and lack of clear public guidelines. We encourage you all to share you own experiences here and be as detailed as possible as to your background, your position and which US Consulate you applied so you can all learn from each other as that is definitely the best way to determine success.

Good Luck,
Cj

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E3 Visa Official US Embassy FAQs

As has recently been pointed out to us by a reader, if you go to the official Australian US Embassy E3 visa FAQ now, they have updated some more relevant questions that people continually have. Now these answers have tended to change a bit over time but as at writing should constitute the most current interpretation and guidelines for the E3 visa and E3 visa applications.

You can see even within the questions below they contradict themselves as to where you can apply for an E3 Visa and do your US Consulate Interview. So no wonder people get confused but just follow as best as you can the advice here and the experiences and guidelines we share and most often you should be OK!

Do I have to find a job in the United States first before applying for an E-3 visa?

  • Yes. You need to have a job offer from a sponsoring employer in the United States before you can apply for the E-3 visa.

Can I go to the United States to find a job and then apply for the E-3 visa from there?

  • In advance of applying for an E3 visa you may travel to the United States to search for a job or attend an interview. However, you cannot apply for the actual visa from within the United States. All visa applicants must appear at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad to apply, and first time E3 visa applicants will need to apply in Australia.

Can I travel to the United States on the Visa Waiver Program to find a job or attend interviews and then apply for the E-3 visa once I return to Australia?

  • Yes, you can travel on the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you meet the requirements (please see our page on the Visa Waiver Program). If you do not meet the VWP requirements, you may be eligible to travel on the B-1/B-2 Combined Visa for Business or Pleasure.You must leave the United States before applying for your E-3 visa.

Can I apply for an E-3 visa from outside Australia?

  • You have the right to apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate which processes nonimmigrant visas, but you cannot apply from within the U.S.A list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide can be found on usembassy.state.gov. A guide to interview wait times and visa processing times worldwide can be found on travel.state.gov. However, please contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy where you plan to apply to check that they accept applications from non-residents, and for details of how to book an interview and current processing times, as these will vary from post to post. Some posts outside of Australia are not familiar with the E3 visa and may be unfamiliar with adjudication of such visas. They are also unfamiliar with Australian education institutions, and so proving eligibility will be difficult.

Does my employer need to file an I-129 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)?

  • No, the employer in the United States is not required to submit a petition to USCIS as a prerequisite for the E3 visa. However, the employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA), from the department of labor by filing form ETA Form 9035. There is no fee to submit the ETA9035.

How do I apply for an E-3 visa?

  • You may make your appointment for an interview as soon as you have all the documents prepared. You do not need to send your documents in advance, just take them to the interview. There is no specific application form, applicants for all nonimmigrant visas must complete the same standard application form known as the DS-160.If applying in Australia please see our website for further details, and for links to the online visa appointment website Visapoint, and to the DS-160 application form, see our page on how to apply.If applying outside Australia, please find a list of U.S. Consulates and Embassies overseas. A guide to wait times for interviews and visa processing times at all posts worldwide.

How long does it take to apply?

  • The wait times for interview at each Consulate vary, you can check the latest timeframe for interviews in Australia on the Visapoint website whilst making an appointment.In Australia, if an E-3 visa is approved at interview, it is normally issued within 2-3 business days. Visas and passports are returned by mail, so please also allow time for this. Applicants should bring a self-addressed 500g Express Post Platinum envelope to the interview.Please see our website for further details on how to apply in Australia.If applying outside Australia, please see the FAQ above for a link to interview wait times and processing times worldwide. For the LCA processing time, please contact the Department of Labor: www.dol.gov

What requirements and documentary evidence are needed for the application?

  • In addition to the Electronic Visa Application Form DS-160, completed online (http://ceac.state.gov/genniv/) you may need to provide the following documentary evidence with your application for an E-3 Visa:1. An approved Labor Condition Application (LCA), which the U.S. employer obtains from the Department of Labor. You are advised not to book an interview appointment until you have received this form.2. Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials as required under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214(i)(1), and a job offer letter from the employer.

    3. 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 a copy of any 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 a copy of any 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.

    4. In the absence of an academic or other qualifying credential(s), evidence of education and experience that is equivalent to the required U.S. degree.

    5. A certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment if so required or, where licensure is not necessary to commence immediately the intended specialty occupation employment upon admission, evidence that the alien will be obtaining the required license within a reasonable time after admission

Good Luck,
CJ
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