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E-3 Visa – FAQs

by | Jan 20, 2021 | Migration

What is an E-3 visa?

The E-3 visa is a relatively new visa category established in 2005, specifically allowing Australian citizens to work and live in the United States in a specialty occupation.

Who is eligible for an E-3 visa?

Any Australian citizen who has either a bachelor’s degree or the equivalency of a bachelor’s degree to be sponsored by a U.S. employer to work in a specialty occupation.

What are the requirements for an E-3 visa?

  • As mentioned, you must be an Australian citizen and holding a valid Australian passport.
  • You must have a job offer from a U.S. employer.
  • As the applicant, you must have a 4-year bachelor’s degree or the equivalency based on professional experience.
  • The proposed role in the United States must be one that would typically require a bachelor’s degree or the equivalency.
  • The sponsoring U.S. employer must be willing to pay you the required prevailing wage and obtain a certified Labor Condition Application from the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • You must apply for the E-3 visa through an in-person visa interview at a S. Consulate.

How to Apply for an E-3 visa?

The first step is to have a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor the E-3 visa.  At that point, the U.S. employer or your legal team would need to file the required Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor.  Once the LCA is certified and supporting documentation is compiled, the applicant would need to schedule a visa appointment through the U.S. Consulate in their region.  In Australia, U.S. Consulates in Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth review visa applications.

The applicant, and family members applying for the dependent E-3D visa, would then attend the visa interview in-person, providing the required documentation and LCA to the Consular Officer for review.  The Consular Officer typically would approve or deny the E-3 application during the interview.  If approved, the Consulate would mail back the applicant’s passport and E-3 visa.

How much does an E-3 visa cost?

 The visa application fee for the Consular appointment is currently $205 USD.  Legal fees will vary depending on the specific law firm and the services provided.

What is the processing time for an E-3 visa?

E-3 processing times can vary depending on the U.S. employer, the quickness of the applicant to provide required documentation and the backlogs at the U.S. Consulate for visa appointments.  Typically, we estimate E-3 visas can be approved anywhere from 6-8 weeks at the quickest from a case initiation to the receipt of the E-3 visa.

How long is an E-3 visa valid?

 E-3 visas are valid in 2-year increments and can be extended indefinitely.

Can an E-3 visa holder apply for a green card?

 Applying for a green card, or Legal Permanent Residency in the United States requires a sponsor as well.  Either a U.S. employer or an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or Legal Permanent Resident can sponsor an E-3 visa holder for residency.  Additionally, many E-3 visa holders successfully apply for the Diversity Lottery each year.

Can a spouse work on an E-3 visa? 

An E-3 visa holders’ spouse and children under the age of 21 will automatically qualify for an E-3D (Dependent) visa.  They will be required to apply for the E-3D visa through the U.S. Consulate as well.  Typically, children under the age of 14 are not required to attend the appointment in person.  A spouse on an E-3D visa can apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after arriving in the United States.  Once the EAD has been approved by the USCIS, the E-3D spouse can work in any role in the United States for any employer.

Please keep in mind that EAD applications processing times can vary greatly often taking several months before they are approved.  Also, please note that U.S. immigration does not recognize de facto partnership – to qualify for an E-3D visa, the couple must be legally married.

Do you need a lawyer to apply for an E-3 visa? 

Most successful E-3 applications engage a U.S. immigration lawyer for assistance to prepare all the required documentation, obtain the required certifications from the U.S. Department of Labor, and ensure that the best E-3 application is submitted to the U.S. Consulate.  While it is not a legal requirement, it is recommended to retain professional guidance and counsel with a legal team experienced with E-3 visas.

Our U.S. immigration team at Nevett Ford Lawyers specializes in E-3 visas as we are based locally in Australia.  Please contact us to discuss your E-3 visa questions and we would be happy to assist in your application.