E-3 status


The E-3 visa category is reserved for Australian professionals who come to the U.S. to perform services in specialty occupations.  E-3 holders are expected to maintain an intention to depart the U.S. upon the expiration of their authorized stay. Employment may commence only upon receipt of USCIS approval.
 
 
Requirements for E-3 Status
In order to qualify for E-3 status you must:
  • Be of Australian nationality;
  • Work in a specialty occupation, i.e. an occupation requiring a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in order to successfully perform the duties of the position;
  • Demonstrate that you meet the academic and other requirements of the occupation;
  • Demonstrate a job offer from a U.S. employer in the specialty occupation with a wage that is higher of either the prevailing or actual wage for the position; and
  • Your prospective employer must obtain an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL).

  
Duration
In E-3 status you may be admitted to the U.S. for a period of up to 2 years.  This status can be extended for increments of up to 2 years.  Currently there is no limit on the number of extensions an E-3 holder can have.
 
 
Applying for E-3 Status Outside the U.S.
Australian nationals who are outside the United States must apply for the E-3 directly at a U.S. consulate. It is important to note that prior USCIS approval of a petition is not required in these cases. The only requirement is for the employer to file an LCA with DOL. Once the LCA is certified, you may apply for the E-3 visa at a U.S. consular post abroad by presenting the following:
  • Original certified Labor Condition Application (Form ETA 9035);
  • Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials to establish your eligibility for E-3 status such as a certified copy of a foreign equivalent degree as evidence that you possess education and experience that is equivalent to a U.S. degree;
  • Offer letter from the employer establishing that you will be engaged in qualifying work in a specialty occupation, the anticipated length of the appointment, arrangements for remuneration, evidence that you meet the educational requirement and any licensure or occupational requirements for the position; a certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment if necessary; and
  • Evidence of payment of the machine readable visa (MRV) fee and fully executed form DS-156 and any other requirements specific to the consular post.

 
When planning for your arrival in E-3 status, consider the length of time it may take for DOL to certify the LCA as well as the time it may take for you to obtain a visa from the 
U.S. consulate.
 
 
Applying for E-3 status 
Under current USCIS procedures, foreign nationals who are in the U.S. and wish to change status to E-3 or extend their existing E-3 status must have a petition filed with USCIS by the prospective employer.
 
ISFS uses an online system called Tracker to collect the required documentation. When ISFS receives a request and determines that an H-1B is appropriate, we will provide you with a Tracker account. Following that we will send, through Tracker, requests for you to complete a questionnaire and to upload the required documentation.

The petition for your change to, or extension of E-3 status must be submitted to USCIS in a timely manner. Because the petition involves approval by federal agencies outside the control of ISFS, allow 6 months for this process.
 
*** Currently E-3 is not listed among the nonimmigrant categories that qualify for premium processing with USCIS.  Although the criteria for qualifying for an E-3 status resemble the H-1B criteria in many ways, the regulatory provisions permitting portability of H-1B workers upon the filing of a petition for nonimmigrant worker do not apply to E-3 workers. Therefore if you are already present in the U.S. in E-3 status you may not begin employment with a petitioning employer until the new employer’s E-3 petition has been approved by USCIS.
 

Dependents
Dependents of E-3 holders do not have to be Australian nationals to have E-3 status.  They may apply to USCIS for work authorization.