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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 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,