Tag Archives: NAFTA

How To Explain The E3 Visa To A Potential Employer?

If you are new to the world of the E3 visa or only just beginning to embark upon the idea of living and working in the US and finding a job then this question may puzzle you a little.

As you will no doubt find soon enough and as both all those who are well into their US job search know as well as the lucky ones who have successfully found and been sponsored for a position, it is a question you will have to address at some point if you want success.

I have discussed in numerous other posts and will continue to again talk about the challenges of finding a position all visa holders but the Australian E3 aspirants do have a unique case. To note the E3 Visa only applies to Australian Citizens as a follow on part of the Australian-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).
Your challenges in finding a position is not only to find an employer willing to hire you but one willing to sponsor you as well. As in the US System you must have a job lined up prior to arriving in the US unlike many other working visas for other countries.

Now the Australian looking for sponsorship under the E3 class is no different in this regard, except that they do have many advantages and a couple of challenges compared to the other visa class aspirants. The good news is that the challenges can all be addressed by you simply and the benefits are very helpful to employers compared to other visas.


  • Potentially no cost to the employer as the only form they have to file is a Labor Condition Application (LCA) on form 9035/9035E to the Department of Labor (DOL). It is no cost to file this form and approval can be received very quickly in a matter of a few days or less. This form is also very short and simple to fill out
  • This application can be made at any time of the year and your able to commence work at any time of the year
  • Your visa rolls potentially rollsover indefinitely** With the H1B visa, the costs are heavy for filing a petition, you can only do it at certain times of the year and you can only commence work at a certain time each year.


  • The E3 is virtually unknown by employers, many Immigration attorneys and even people who work for the Immigration Departments in the US
  • Employers may assume it is like H1B and thus costly and with many conditions attached to filing

As you can maybe gather from reading the challenges, they could be overcome easily if you have a ready and confident explanation at hand.

There are many ways to approach this as well as times to bring it up as I have discussed in other posts. I think I will leave the a long discussion into the timing issue for other posts as it a talking point unto itself.
Many people believe you can bring this up later in the Interview process and be successful by not eliminating many employers at the beginning. I am of the school of belief and practiced the approach of being upfront with a short paragraph in my cover letter so it was there upfront. I did this so I could not be accused of hiding anything nor cause heartache at the endĀ  by being disqualified after going through a long process just because someone was reluctant to sponsor. (in future posts I will discuss the cover letter and resume for the US employer audience)

So leaving aside when you tell a potential employer, two of the most common approaches candidates use are to compare to 2 other visas, to highlight the positives and counter the challenges I raised above.

More employers are aware much more of the general H1B visa as well as the TN visa which is available for Canadian and Mexican professionals as part of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement). It is the Canadian part of this visa I will focus on.

So when you are at the point of explaining sponsorship and the E3 visa take into account the employer will probably have pre-conceived notions about difficulty, long times and excessive cost or they may be completely clueless.

Assuming they are now sold on you as a candidate, mention that the E3 visa works a lot like the TN visa for Canadians in that there is no cost to the employer, it can be filed and approved quickly at any time (including online here) and is renewable indefinitely. Thus it works practically exactly like the H1B visa just without all the regulations, fixed dates and excessive costs. If the employer is truly sold on you already, this is usually music to their ears.

Point them to online and government resources if the are unsure but it tends not to be a difficult sell if they want you as a candidate. The challenge of making them love you as candidate of course where you need to shine too šŸ™‚

As a side note for Form 9035 in you send via regular mail or 9035E if you file electronically, you should note Form ETA 9035, at the top “E-3 – Australia – to be processed”, or markĀ ETA 9035E for E-3 Australia. Either form is acceptable.

Good Luck andĀ  I look forward to your comments as always….