E-3 Australian visas

E-3 Australian visas

The E-3 nonimmigrant classification may be used for Australian citizens who will be temporarily employed in the U.S. in specialty occupations. It is not required to submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a prospective employee who will enter the U.S. from abroad in E-3 status. However, ASU’s International Students and Scholars Center must obtain a certified labor condition application (LCA) from the Department of Labor before the individual can apply for an E-3 visa at a U.S. consulate. The ISSC can file E-3 petitions with USCIS for a change of status, change of employer or extension/amendment.

An individual cannot self-sponsor in this category. E-3 status is employer-specific. It allows the employee to work for a specific U.S. employer for a specific period, specific to one particular job description, and in a specific location.

Sponsoring E-3 employment Back to top

Step 1: ASU job offer

ASU may file an E-3 petition and/or LCA on behalf of a prospective employee when a job offer from ASU has been accepted via an offer letter.

Step 2: Determine E-3 eligibility

To be eligible for E-3 status, both of the following requirements must be met:

  • The position must be in a “specialty occupation” that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and requires at least a bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent in a specific field.
  • The prospective employee must have the required educational degree or its equivalent in the specific field, experience and other requirements for the position.

The ISSC processes E-3 requests on behalf of foreign nationals sponsored by ASU and coordinates the E-3 process for university staff positions, which are then handled by outside legal counsel.

Annual E-3 “cap”

The U.S. government allows a maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas to be issued annually during each fiscal year (Oct. 1–Sept. 30). E-3D dependent spouses and children do not count toward this quota, nor do beneficiaries extending their E-3 status within the U.S. with the same employer.

Step 3: Submit the E-3 request

An E-3 application requires a prevailing wage determination and the certification of a labor condition application by the Department of Labor. E-3 status can be obtained without the need to file a formal petition with USCIS. As a result, there are no government 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.

E-3 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 that the new employer files a new LCA and new E-3 petition with USCIS.

The E-3 process begins when the ASU sponsoring department submits a complete and accurate E-3 Request Packet to the ISSC. Please contact the ISSC at InternationalScholars@asu.edu for the current E-3 Request Packet.

Foreign nationals have two options to obtain E-3 status:

  1. Apply for an E-3 visa from a U.S. consulate abroad.
  2. File an E-3 petition with USCIS while they remain in the U.S.

Required documents

Department documents:

  1. E-3 request memo.
  2. I-129 Export Control Certification.
  3. Copy of job posting/waiver of recruitment.
  4. Copy of offer letter.

Beneficiary documents:

  1. Copy of diploma and transcript for the highest relevant degree.
  2. Certification of Translation (if applicable).
  3. Copy of an official foreign academic credential evaluation for the highest relevant degree if earned from a foreign university (if applicable).
  4. All But Dissertation (ABD) letter (if applicable).
  5. Copy of most recent CV.
  6. Copy of valid passport identification page.
  7. Copy of most recent visa and most recent entry stamp(s), including entries in E-3 status (if applicable).
  8. Copy of most recent I-94 document.
  9. Copy of any previously issued DS-2019/AP-66 forms and J visas for any time spent in J status (if applicable).
  10. Copy of three most recent pay stubs (if applicable).
  11. Document certification.

Processing timeline

The average times required for these steps, once the hiring department has submitted a complete and accurate E-3 request to the ISSC are as follows:

Prevailing wage determination
  • Five business days.
  • The sponsoring department must pay the E-3 beneficiary EITHER the actual wage level paid to all other employees with similar experience and qualifications for the specific position OR the prevailing wage as determined by the DOL for the occupation in the geographical area of employment, whichever is higher.
Posting notices
  • 10 business days.
  • Posting notices provides notification to employees that an LCA has been filed with DOL regarding E-3 nonimmigrant workers.
Labor condition application
  • Seven–10 business days.
  • The employer (ASU) attests on the LCA that the employment of the E-3 beneficiary will not adversely affect the working conditions of workers similarly employed in the area of intended employment, and that at the time of filing the LCA there are no strikes, lockouts or work stoppages in the place of employment.
USCIS processing
  • Under regular processing, it generally takes USCIS three months or more to adjudicate E-3 petitions.

E-3 inside the U.S.

This option is generally appropriate when the employee is already inside the U.S. and cannot depart and re-enter to begin E-3 employment. The request should be submitted as soon as possible so that the ISSC can prepare and file the E-3 petition with USCIS.

Please note:

  • The ISSC can file the E-3 petition with USCIS up to six months prior to the E-3 intended start date.
  • ISSC can request up to two years on E-3 petitions.
  • Form I-129 E-3 filing fee: $460.
  • Form I-907 premium processing (optional): $2,500.
    • Under regular processing, it generally takes three months or more for USCIS to adjudicate E-3 petitions.
    • If premium processing service is requested, USCIS will expedite the adjudication process and issue a decision on the petition in 15 calendar days.

A decision can be an approval, request for evidence (RFE) or denial.

The ISSC must receive the original E-3 Approval Notice from USCIS before employment can begin. While the petition is pending, foreign nationals and departments can check the case status using the receipt notice number and view current processing times on the USCIS website.

USCIS can issue an RFE or deny a petition or application if the initial documentation provided is not deemed sufficient for approval. USCIS will issue a receipt notice that confirms the E-3 petition has been received, which generally takes about one to two weeks.

Let the ISSC know at InternationalScholars@asu.edu if the employee has plans to travel outside the U.S. while the E-3 petition is pending. Also notify the ISSC if the E-3 employee has family members who may require an E-3D extension or change of status. If needed, please include their documents and filing fee check(s) in the E-3 Request Packet.

E-3 outside the U.S.

This option is most appropriate when the employee is outside the U.S. and will begin E-3 employment by applying for admission at a U.S. port of entry. The request should be submitted to the ISSC as soon as possible.

The E-3 consular request process requires a prevailing wage determination, electronic posting notice, and certification of a labor condition application by the U.S. Department of Labor. An approved LCA, along with other documents, is necessary for the employee to apply for and obtain an E-3 visa from a U.S. embassy or consulate to enter the U.S.

Departments should consider the waiting periods for visa interview appointments and visa issuance.

Applying for entry into the U.S.

The employee must have a valid E-3 visa from a U.S. consular office in order to apply for E-3 admission at a U.S. port of entry. An employee that already has an E-3 visa that will be considered valid on the date of arrival in the U.S. does not need to apply for a new E-3 visa.

To apply for an E-3 visa, the employee should visit the U.S. Department of State’s embassies and consulates website to view the visa application requirements and make an appointment for a visa interview. It is best to try to apply at the U.S. embassy or consulate having jurisdiction over the place of residence, although they may apply at any U.S. embassy or consulate worldwide that allows E-3 visa applications from third-country nationals.

E-3 visa application requirements vary by consulates and embassies, and the employee should check directly with the specific U.S. consulate or embassy on the requirements for the visa application.

In general, E-3 visa applications must include:

  • DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application confirmation page.
  • Visa interview appointment confirmation page.
  • Proof of payment of visa fees.
  • Passport-style photo(s) that meet DOS nonimmigrant visa photo requirements.
  • Valid passport.
  • Certified LCA and department support letter (sent to the beneficiary in a separate email)*.
  • Any other documents required by the specific U.S. embassy or consulate.

*Beneficiaries should review the LCA and pay special attention to the support letter to understand how their job has been described to the U.S. government. This information may be useful when applying for the E-3 visa and requesting admission to the U.S. at a port of entry.

Foreign nationals are required to have a valid E-3 visa (stamp in the passport) in order to enter the U.S. E-3 employees can enter the U.S. up to 10 days prior to the start date listed on the LCA for the E-3 Approval Notice. If the employee has any family members who will come to the U.S. as dependents, please view the E-3D outside the U.S. section below.

Foreign nationals are not guaranteed admittance to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the port of entry will review all documents and ask about the reason for entry. These officers have the discretion to admit a person in E-3 status and any family members in E-3D status or refer them to a more detailed secondary inspection.

When the E-3 employee is admitted into the U.S., all documents should be returned and an admission date should be placed in the passport with the notation “E-3” (worker) or “E-3D” (dependent) and date indicating the period of authorized stay in the U.S. It is good practice to access and print the I-94 arrival record on U.S. Customs and Border Protection I-94 website. The admission stamp and the I-94 printout are proof of admission and legal immigration status in the U.S.

Foreign national employees and their family members should keep copies of their passport identification/expiration pages, visas, admission stamps and I-94 records permanently in case any of these documents are lost or stolen.



E-3D dependents Back to top

Eligible family members do not need to be Australian citizens in order to qualify for E-3D dependent status. E-3D status is contingent upon the continued validity of the principal E-3 employee. If the E-3 employee violates or loses status, the dependents will also be out of status.

Spouses of E-3 employees and unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible for E-3D status. Children cannot remain in the U.S. once they turn 21 unless they change to a different nonimmigrant visa status such as F-1 student or B-2 visitor.

There are two ways dependent family members can acquire or extend E-3D status:

  • Outside the U.S.:
    • Apply for E-3D visas at a U.S. embassy or consulate and then apply for E-3D admission at a U.S. port of entry.
  • Inside the U.S.:
    • File an I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status with USCIS.

Fees for dependents

  • Form I-539 Application / I-539A Supplement: $370.
    • Paid by beneficiary, single fee for one application for all dependents.
  • Biometrics: $85.
    • Paid by beneficiary for each applicant.

E-3D inside the U.S.

This option is generally appropriate when the family members are already in the U.S. and require a change of status to E-3D or an extension of their E-3D status.

As a courtesy, the ISSC will file the I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status concurrently with the I-129E3 Petition of family members who are already in the U.S. in a qualifying status.

If filing for dependents, the E-3 beneficiary is responsible for providing the following documents and filing fees to the ISSC:

  • Completed Form I-539 and I-539A Supplement (if applicable).
  • Copy of current U.S. visa in passport (if applicable).
  • Copy of most recent I-94 document.
  • Copy of Form DS-2019, I-20 or I-797A/I-797B Approval Notice (if applicable).
  • Copy of passport identification page.
  • Copy of marriage certificate for spouse.
  • Copy of birth certificate for each child.
  • Copies of any other required documents listed on the I-539 instructions.

If the E-3’s spouse is applying for E-3D status, the spouse should complete Form I-539 with their own information. If there are dependent children applying for E-3D status, a Form I-539A Supplement should be completed for each child. If only minor children are applying for E-3D status, the oldest child’s information should be entered on Form I-539 and each additional child’s information should be entered on Form I-539A.

Children 14 years of age or older may sign for themselves, but a parent may sign for children younger than 14 years of age.

E-3D outside the U.S.

This option is most appropriate when the family members are outside the U.S. and will enter as E-3D dependents, or when they are in the U.S. but plan to depart before the current status expires and then return in E-3D status.

To apply for an E-3D visa, the family member should visit the U.S. Department of State’s embassies and consulates website to view the visa application requirements and to make an appointment for a visa interview. E-3D visa application requirements vary by embassy/consulate and the dependent family member should check directly with the specific U.S. embassy/consulate on the requirements for the visa application.

In general, E-3D visa applications must include:

  • DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application confirmation page.
  • Visa interview appointment confirmation page.
  • Proof of payment of visa fees.
  • Passport-style photo(s) that meet DOS nonimmigrant visa photo requirements.
  • Valid passport.
  • Evidence of relationship to the E-3 employee: marriage certificate for spouse, birth certificate for each child.
  • Evidence of the E-3 employee’s status.
  • Any other documents required by the specific U.S. embassy or consulate.

Study for E-3D dependents

E-3D dependents are allowed to study in the U.S., but the duration of study is contingent on the E-3 employee’s period of stay.

Employment for E-3D dependents

E-3D spouses may apply for employment authorization by filing Form I-765 with USCIS after arriving in the U.S. in E-3D status. A spouse may begin working once the I-765 is approved and an Employment Authorization Document is issued.

E-3D children, however, are not eligible for employment. An E-3D child may change to another immigration status that permits employment if they qualify.

Maintaining E-3 compliance Back to top

Arriving at ASU

E-3 beneficiaries should contact the ISSC at InternationalScholars@asu.edu to schedule an appointment after arriving at ASU in order to review documents, regulations and responsibilities.

Status expiration

E-3 employees should not remain in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of their I-94 record or passport entry stamp, unless an E-3 extension petition has been filed with USCIS in a timely manner. If the I-94 expiration date was shortened on the last entry into the U.S., the employee should contact the ISSC for further guidance to comply with E-3 requirements. It is extremely important to be aware of the period of authorized stay. Employees must leave the U.S. on or before this date to avoid accruing unlawful presence.

Beneficiaries should always retrieve their electronic I-94 record when returning to the U.S. and verify that the information on the I-94 printout is correct. It is always good practice to confirm that the name appears as stated on the passport, the appropriate visa classification is noted (E-3), and the “admit until date” at least matches or is extended for a 10-day grace period beyond the end date on the E-3 approval notice.

The grace period is not automatic, but may be granted on the I-94 record upon entry or on the I-94/E-3 Approval Notice. During this grace period, the employee may remain in the U.S. but may not continue to work.

If the I-94 is shortened due to a passport validity date, status will end on the date marked on the I-94 record rather than the H-1B approval notice. H-1B employees are advised to immediately contact the ISSC if there is an error or data inconsistency on the I-94 record, or if the end date does not match the E-3 approval notice. The employee may be advised to contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deferred Inspection Office in an attempt to change the I-94 record to a correct date.

E-3 duration and extensions

An initial period of up to two years of E-3 status can be granted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at a U.S. port of entry or by a petition filed with the USCIS. Subsequent E-3 extensions of up to two years at a time can be requested. There is no regulatory limit on the number of extensions that are possible, but E-3 status is intended for temporary employment.

It is the sponsoring department’s responsibility to notify the ISSC if it intends to extend E-3 status for its employee beyond the end date of the current E-3. An E-3 extension request can be filed as early as six months prior to the current E-3 expiration date.

Original E-3 Approval Notice

The original I-797 E-3 Approval Notice is issued to Arizona State University as the employer who filed the I-129 E-3 petition on behalf of the employee and is maintained at ISSC.

Dual intent

E-3 classification does not explicitly provide for dual intent. In other words, when foreign nationals apply for E-3 visas, they will need to demonstrate ties to their home country and intend to leave the U.S. at the end of E-3 status.

However, the filing of an immigrant petition or permanent labor certification application on the person’s behalf should not be the sole reason for a denial of an E-3 visa or entry to the U.S.

Material changes to employment

E-3 work authorization is specific to the employer that filed the labor condition application and petition, and covers only the particular position for which the LCA and petition were filed.

Please immediately inform the ISSC before any material changes to the original job position take place, including:

  • Job title.
  • Job duties.
  • Salary.
  • Worksite location.
  • Number of hours from full-time to less than full-time employment.

The ISSC will determine whether or not an amended petition needs to be filed with the USCIS to indicate the updated job position information.

If E-3 employment is terminated for any reason, the ISSC must be notified immediately in order to withdraw the LCA and the petition (if applicable). If the ISSC is not notified, the sponsoring department may be liable for back wages to the beneficiary.

Traveling while petition is pending

The E-3 employee must be physically present in the U.S. at the time a petition is filed. After filing, it is not advisable for E-3 employees to travel abroad while the petition is pending.

If an E-3 beneficiary knows they need to travel abroad around the time E-3 authorization will expire or be amended, the department should submit the extension/amendment request in the form of an E-3 consulate request rather than an E-3 petition request.

Change of address

It is the responsibility of the E-3 employee to file a change of address with USCIS within 10 days of moving to a new home address in the U.S. by filing Form AR-11 on the USCIS website. Employees should retain a copy of the completed form for their files.

See FAQs about E3