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E-3 Australian Visas

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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. If a position does not require a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field and/or if the occupation does not generally require this, E-3 status is not an option even if the foreign national holds such a degree.

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. 

Application

Similar to the H-1B application process, the E-3 application requires a prevailing wage determination and certification of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) by the Department of Labor (DOL). E-3 status can be obtained without the need to file a formal petition with USCIS. As a result, there are no governmental filing fees and the application process can be significantly faster. 

However, if the foreign national is currently in the U.S. and/or unable to travel, an E-3 petition can be 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

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.