Tag Archives: non-immigrant

E-3 Visa Terms Explained in Easy To Understand Language

As with most things that crossover with the law, immigration becomes complex to comprehend due to all the legal technicalities, complex wording, acronyms and lawyer jargon used. So therefore the most complex immigration system in the world of the US and one of its most recent visas, the E3 visa, is a nightmare for most people to navigate through.

So essentially this post is to explain a few of the terms you are bound to hear in relation to the E3 visa as you try and find a way to find an employer to sponsor your E3 visa to begin your life living and working in the US.


E3 visa: Without going in to the whole detail of the E3 visa as you can read about it in my blog post about E3, it was a visa that came into being inT 2005 after the AUSFTA (Australia and United States Free Trade Agreement) negotiated between the Howard Government in Australia and the Bush Administration in the US. It is not actually a part of AUSFTA but came subsequent to it as a direct result of the agreement. It is essentially a visa that allows Australian citizens (and their spouses who don’t have to be citizens of Australia) to work in the US for 2 year rolling periods mainly in professional roles.

Non-Immigrant: This is the status the US puts on all legal immigrants who come to the US in a working, student, etc. capacity who don’t have a green card (i.e. US permanent residency). Therefore if you are on a E3 visa or H1B visa working in the US then you are classified as a non-immigrant.

Dual Intent: This is a condition/benefit of non-immigrant visas in the US that allows a person to pursue more permanent status in the United States (i.e. green card) while on their current non-immigrant visa. The H1B visa is a dual intent visa but the E3 visa does NOT have that benefit. Some visas prohibit the application of permanent residency while on that visa status like the J1 visa.

Now to complicate matters further even though the E3 visa is not Dual Intent, it does allow for application for a Green Card as this regulation states below;

“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.”

Regardless of the above though you still must prove your ties and your “residence abroad” and your intention to leave the United States at the end of your visa period.

Specialty Occupation: This is a term for the E3 visa (and other visas like H1B) that confuses a lot of people as the nature of the wording around what it is makes it sound highly technical and thus it becomes vague as to who it may apply to;

  1. A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  2. The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

Essentially it works like this. The position you are being sponsored for must have a bachelors degree as a minimum requirement for the role even if you don’t hold such a degree. (you can have enough years work experience in that particular field of knowledge to compensate for you lack of degree). This is the reality of a specialty occupation for the E3 visa.

USCIS: Is the United States Customs and Immigration Service which evolved out of the old INS (Immigration and Naturaliztion Service) when the US created the DHS (Department of Homeland Security). Essentially the USCIS is responsible for all things immigration in the US all the way to citizenship, although for the E3 visa the only authorization you need is from the DOL (Department of Labor) which is unlike the H-1B visa which needs the application to also be approved by the USCIS.

I hope this helps clear up some of the terms in the US Immigration system in relation to the E-3 visa 🙂


The Difference Between A Non-Immigrant and Immigrant Visa

The US Immigration system has an interesting way of classifying foreigners who enter the country. In fact if you have an E-3 visa, J-1 or H-1B visa and somebody complains that you are just another immigrant taking jobs from US Citizens, you can reply and say “well actually I am not an immigrant….I am a non-immigrant” 🙂

So what is the difference between a non-immigrant and immigrant in the US and thus the immigrant and non-immigrant visa as it is a different classification than most countries’ systems?

The Non-Immigrant Visa

Well a non-immigrant is anyone who had to establish prior to coming to the US that their permanent residence is outside the US and that they intend to return their after their temporary stay is over.

So of course non-immigrants includes tourists, including those on the visa waiver program, but this also includes those on H-1B visas, E-3 visas, J-1 Work and Travel Visas, J-1 Internship Visas, L-1 visas, TN visas, F-1 visas, B1/B2 visas, etc. All of these people in one form or another have to prove to their US consular or embassy officer that they have strong ties to their country of residence and intend to return their at the end of their US stay.

S0me visas like the H-1B and L-1, have what is known as a dual-intent provision which basically means they can apply for permanent status via their employer while on their non-immigrant status. The E-3 visa in practical terms seems to allow this too although it is not explicitly stated like the H-1B visa for example.

So what constitutes Strong Ties?

There is no set definition and the practical workings of this seem to differ greatly by country and also where a person may be born and even their heritage.

For example someone born and raised in Canada or the UK seem to have to prove little to prove they will return home as it assumed as they come from a rich Western country, probably with strong family and property/asset ties to home, they will return.

On the other hand someone who is from a 3rd world country or is a foreign born and raised citizen of say Australia, seems to have a higher burden of proof to prove strong ties and that they will return home as the US views them as a higher risk. Many view this as a racist policy and in some ways it really is but that tends to be the nature of modern immigration systems in Western Countries.

A strong tie can be;
family members all residing in home resident country
bank accounts held in country
property ownership or significant assets like cars, businesses, etc.
– or anything seen as a compelling reason for a person to return home

As I said the burden for someone to prove this at their consular interview is really dependent on where they come from and sometimes how strict their assessing consular officer may be.

Due to way the regulations are written, it is up to the non-immigrant to prove these strong ties at the discretion of the consulate  or otherwise you can be denied a non-immigrant visa under condition 241(b).

You can re-apply for a non-immigrant visa if you are denied for this reason but you have to show further evidence of your strong ties and your compelling reason to return back to your home country of residence.

The Immigrant Visa

There is less to say about these types of visa as in practical terms these are permanent residency visas of some description. They fall under 3 categories being;
– Family Sponsored (direct relatives only)
– Employer Sponsored
– Special Category

You can read about all of these categories further and their defining characteristics at our How Do I Get A Green Card post and of course about the Green Card Lottery which is another way people can obtain permanent status in the United States.

Thus people in this section do not have to prove ties to their home country as their intention is to reside in the US. However you should note there are limited quotas with most of these visas as well as strict criteria to obtain one and long wait periods particularly in the family sponsored section for certain direct relatives.

Many people apply to transfer to an Immigrant Visa from a Non-Immigrant Visa like H-1B but depending on the country of residence this can also be a long wait as well.

I hope this helped clarify the difference between Immigrant and Non-Immigrant status in the US and this confusing part of the US Immigration system!