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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 🙂