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E-3 is a visa status only available to Australian citizens to work temporarily in specialty occupations in the U.S. The specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in a professional field and at least the attainment of a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the U.S.
An individual cannot self-sponsor in this category. Employer sponsorship is required, and E-3 status is employer specific.
There is no cumulative time limit on E-3. In general, it can be renewed every two years, with some exceptions, provided that the stay remains temporary in nature.
E-3 offers the advantage for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization.
Similar to the H-1B application process, the E-3 application requires a prevailing wage determination, certification of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) by the Department of Labor (DOL), and a petition filed with USCIS. The processing timeframe is comparable to the H-1B application. Please see the H-1B Temporary Specialty Occupation page for additional information on the application process and timeframe that is also applicable to E-3 visa status.
Extensions can either be applied for at a consulate abroad or through a petition filed with USCIS. Employees holding E-3 status can file for a change of employer under the portability clause provided the new employer files a new LCA and new E-3 petition with USCIS.