Tag Archives: eta9035

E3 Visa LCA Statistics 2014

This is definitely the most comprehensive source for E-3 visa information anywhere on the web and today we are going to answer some of the most common E-3 visa questions by showing you some never before see statistics that could help you in your journey.

The E-3 visa (along with the E-3D spousal visa) is the most common and easiest way, relatively speaking in the complex US Immigration system for Australian professionals to work in the United States. The primary E-3 visa is currently for Australian citizens only but the proposed US Immigration legislation currently stalled in the US Congress does allow provision for Irish and South Korean citizens to be eligible for a similar work visa.

There is 10,500 of these visas allocated each US Immigration year beginning on October 1st and as yet there has been no year where the E-3 supply has been exhausted in full. This is unlike the H-1B visa open to all global professionals which is often so over subscribed it has to go to a lottery soon after the application season on April 1.

As part of the E-3 Visa process, the first step includes a form that has to be filed with the US Department of Labor called ETA-9035(e) and from that you get an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA). In general this is the only form that has to be filed prior to someone going to their US Consulate interview to get their visa itself. Of course an approved LCA doesn’t guarantee an approved work visa at the consulate or even entry into the US itself after getting a visa. However it is a mandatory step and in most cases means you are well on your way.

The LCA itself once verified confirms a few things including the company you are being employed and sponsored by, the wage being paid to you being equal to or greater than the prevailing wage, the location where you will be working and the role and location of employment itself. There are a couple of other minor things like how many other foreigners are on the workforce, company size and possibly some tax information but essentially this is the nature of what needs to be proved.

The most common reason for denial include not filling in the form completely and correctly, the company having no verifiable history, the job itself not meeting the specialty occupation standard, the level of wage not being at least the prevailing wage which is a level of pay equal to the average salary paid to a US citizen for the same role type in that area or the company being in bad standing with US authorities.

Figure 1: LCA Status Results

Above is the result over the past 12 months of submissions for an LCA. Firstly you can see the total is far below the 10,500 annual quota. However the most important numbers to note are the 80% that are approved and the 12% that are denied. The reason why an application might be withdrawn either before or after approval could be numerous but usually because the position is no longer being offered or changed their mind on the candidate or the candidate themselves decided not to pursue. There is no official data as to why things are denied but the main reasons we gave earlier.

Another common question we get is how long does it take to process (either approve or deny) these applications given job start times, US Consulate interviews and flight arrangements hinge on this document being ready. You can’t schedule, let alone attend, a US consulate interview without this approval as you get a confirmation number which you need to fill out your DS-160 form that is required to schedule your US Consulate interview online.

Figure 2: Approved LCA Processing Times

Above you can see in 98% of cases where the LCA has been approved it has been done within 1 week which is the general guideline for how long the submission takes to process at most times. There are periods say in the latter part of March where guidelines say it may take longer due to the heavier volume because of H-1B visa but because the E-3 visa has no specific time period, applications are processed year round.

Figure 3: Denied LCA Processing Times


In the cases of denial you can see 90% is known within 5 business days and even 50% is already known with 3 days of submission. That tends to suggest a lot of the denials come from missing information in the application or automatic denial criteria like prevailing wage level. If you receive a denial you can resubmit with corrected or new information if appropriate.

Some other interesting points of note from the E-3 Visa LCA applications include;

  • 92% specify the visa length for the maximum period of 2 years and further 2-3% go very close to that period. The next most common period is around 1 year.
  • 61% of applications specify the employment start date within 1 month of the original LCA submission date. Now what is interesting about this is that it takes on average 4-7 days to get an approved LCA and only then can you do your US Consulate interview which can take time to get an appointment date and then once approved takes about 2-3 days to receive in the mail. So in general all this means most people and their US employers want to start working as soon as possible but often they will be starting after the date specified, which is perfectly OK.

H1B Visa Season – April 1, 2012: All the Fees & Application Tips for FY2013

Over the last 3 years we have done Fee Updates, Information and H1B Quota Predictions for H1B Visa Season FY2012 H1B Visa Season FY2011 & H1B Season Visa FY2010.
So now we are in mid Feb and April 1, 2012 is soon to be upon us and all you potential H1B foreign applicants should be readying you applications because of how quickly the remaining H1B visa quota was filled at the end of last year as well as the US overall unemployment rate improving and heading below 8%,

As with last year we are also documenting the H1B visa costs so you can have all the information in one post. Now while it is unlikely the H1B visa lottery for both the Advanced Degree Exemption quota of 20,000 and the main H1B visa quota of 65,000 will be necessary, as mentioned there was been a rush to towards the end of the FY2012 H1B season and with the unemployment rate down to 8%, and job numbers for skilled workers improving, there is a possibility that this season will be more like 2007 & 2008.

On April 1, 2012 will be the first day the United States Custom & Immigration Service (USCIS )will accept new H1B visa petitions for the FY2013 H1B Visa season. Prior to that you can and should file your ETA-9035(e) for to the Department of Labor to get the your Labor Certification Approval (LCA) because that needs to be sent with the application. And regardless of the fact that we have been inaccurate for the last 3 years as to how quickly the H1B visa quota has been filled, an early and proper application is always the best recipe for success and less heartache. (official USCIS H1B site)

Ensure you also read H1B visa Season Tips and have all your H1B supporting documents ready to file immediately to file via your employer or attorney on April 1, 2012 for the FY2013 season.

Even though we are now in an election year, President Obama did call for some action to be taken even in a small way on the immigration front in his State of the Union address. Personally I think that is unlikely but it is certainly important to pay attention what the candidates are saying in relation to the Immigration policy and how they feel about legislation submitted to the US congress to limit the scope of the H1B visa and and things like the Start-Up visa.

H1B Visa Fees 2012

To Apply for the Visa; (all USD)
1. USCIS Filing Fee with USCIS $325 – Form I-129 (Spouse optional H4 Fee is $300)
2. Fraud Detection Fee with USCIS $500

3. LCA Filing Fee with Department of Labor FREE – Form ETA 9035/9035e (a small win here…although am sure will change one day)
Also have to ensure prevailing wages are met as well in this part so you are paid the same or more as a US worker in same position)

4. Premium Filing Fee $1,225 (optional – Form I-901) – excessive designed to help process where your legal representative has access to case officer phone number and decisions are made fast in 15 days and can also aid spouse partner H4 visa process

5. Public Law 111-230 $2,000 – (dependent) to be submitted by a petitioner which employs 50 or more employees in the United States where more than 50 percent of its employees in the United States are in H-1B or L-1 nonimmigrant status.

6. ACWIA Fee $750 or $1,500 – if your petition is successful this goes to a training fund for US workers and is $1,500 unless you have less than 25 full time employees. Some government, education and non-profit institutions are exempt from this fee

7. Consular Application Fee $131 (x2 for spouse)
8. Visa Issuance Fee $100 (x2 for spouse) (but varies by country so check the Visa Reciprocity Section of the USCIS

(NB: If able to transfer to H1B visa status within US without needing to leave the country if you are in a current non-immigrant visa status expires after October 1, then you can file form I-539 with the USCIS along with I-129. If filing these forms together there is no additional fee)

Total If Visa Issued Outside US: $1,706 to $3,456 (plus $1,225 Premium Filing Fee if Opted)

Total If Visa Status Change within US (if eligible):
$1,476 to $3,226 (plus $1,225 Premium Filing Fee if Opted)

NB: If you change your status to H1B within the US and then later travel outside the US for whatever reason, then to re-enter the US you will need to get an H1B visa stamp in your passport anyway so have to attend as US Consulate or Embassy interview in a foreign country.

It is important to realize that none of the above costs include any legal costs at all so if you are deciding whether you need a layer for your H1B visa process if you are paying for one yourself, that you realize what the actual H1B visa application costs are as listed above and thus what your lawyer is charging you for their time. You should note it is NOT mandatory at all to have an attorney

Technically all the H1B visa costs including legal costs are meant to be paid by your employer and most good employers will do all this for you but a few try to pass this cost in various devious ways back to the employee.

If you are paying for a lawyer itself it can be good to get a fixed legal quote for the entire H1B visa process and to shop around but also know that you often get what you pay for and additional work will no doubt cost extra.

Finally is you are trying to decide whether any of the many H1B visa help sites like H1Base or H1visajobs are worth the fees they charge to help in your search then definitely read our reviews and others before making up your mind.

All the Best,