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American E3 Visa Guide for Specialty Workers from Australia

Only Australian residents are eligible for the American E3 visa, which is issued by the United States. Although it is not legally a component of the AUSFTA, it was established by an Act of the United States Congress as a result of the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA).

On May 11, 2005, US President George W. Bush signed legislation bringing the American E3 visa into law. It is usually assumed that it arose from the negotiation of a trade agreement between the United States and Australia.

In this article, we will be educating you on everything you need to know about the American E3 Visa for Specialty Workers from Australia.

About the E3 Visa

The American E3 visa, or Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia, is a work visa for Australian nationals in the United States. The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2005 between the United States and Australia (AUSFTA). As a result, they devised a specialty visa that can only be obtained by highly qualified Australian nationals.

In many ways, the E-3 visa is identical to the H-1B visa. The fact that spouses of E-3 visa holders may work in the United States without restrictions (unlike other US non-immigrant visas, including the TN visa issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens), even if they are of a different nationality; the fact that the E-3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in two-year increments); and the fact that the application process is much faster are all significant differences.

Although there is a separate yearly quota of 10,500 E-3 visas, it is felt that this is significantly more favorable to Australians than having them compete with all other nations for H-1B visas. (According to one calculation, the American E3 guarantees Australians 15% of the combined yearly total of US visas for those in specialist jobs.

Even though Australia accounts for only 0.3 percent of the world’s non-US population with a population of around 23.4 million.) Spouses and children are not included in the E-3 quota, and spouses and children do not have to be Australian citizens.

Even though INA 101(a)(15)(E) requires all E nonimmigrants to maintain an intention to leave the United States when their authorized E stay expires, the USCIS guidelines state that applications for E classification, including extensions or change of status, cannot be denied solely based on an approved permanent labor certification or pending or approved immigrant visa petition. As a result, immigrant intent should not be a criterion for E-3 eligibility.

On September 2, 2005, the requirements for applying for an E-3 visa were published in the United States Federal Register. An Australian citizen can apply for an E-3 visa at a US embassy or consulate by following these steps.

The potential employer of an E-3 visa holder will file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor, similar to an H-1B visa, with a notation at the beginning of the form specifying that the visa is for an E-3 visa for an Australian citizen. Following approval of the LCA, the Australian citizen will apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate and then travel to the United States.

Australians who are currently in the US on a temporary or non-immigrant visa may seek to alter their status to an American E3 visa. If the applicant entered the country under the visa waiver program, a change of status is not conceivable; however, if the applicant came on a different visa (F-1 student), a change of status is possible.

Eligibility Criteria for the American E3 Visa

The US government does not always identify which occupations qualify as specialist occupations, but here are some examples:

Engineers, mathematicians, computer scientists, medical practitioners, political scientists, and art-related professions are just a few examples.

Requirements for the American E3 Visa

To be qualified for an American E3 visa, applicants must meet certain criteria and restrictions. The following are the requirements:

  • The applicant must be a citizen of Australia. Those who hold permanent residency in Australia are unable to apply for the E3 visa.
  • The candidate must have a work offer in the United States.
  • An employment offer in a specialty occupation is required.
  • To work as a specialist occupation worker, the candidate must meet the educational and work experience requirements.
  • If appropriate, the candidate must have the relevant licenses to perform the specialty occupation.

You are eligible to apply for the visa if you satisfy these conditions. Your visa application will be processed, and you will get an answer. Even if you are granted a visa, admission into the United States is not guaranteed.

Immigration agents at any US port of entry have the authority to do so. You will be repatriated to Australia if they decide not to let you into the nation.

How to Apply For the American E3 Visa

You and your US company must complete many stages to apply for the E3 visa. The first thing is that you need to get a job in the United States. You may apply from anywhere in the world and have Skype interviews until you discover a position that you like.

When you receive and accept your job offer, you and your company may begin the E3 visa application process.

Employer Application Steps

Employers in the United States must get a Labor Condition Application from the US Department of Labor before they may recruit foreign nationals (DOL).

The LCA certification confirms that hiring a foreign person does not have a detrimental impact on US employees’ salaries and working conditions. Employers must also demonstrate that they were unable to recruit a suitable or available US employee for the role.

Only the LCA is necessary for the American E3 visa. Employers are not needed to submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers, to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (USCIS).

The LCA guarantees that you will be paid a reasonable prevailing wage, which implies that you will be paid the same as a US employee.

Furthermore, it establishes that your working circumstances would be comparable to those of US workers and that you will not be exploited.

The Department of Labor requires your company to file ETA Form 9035. The LCA is free to file and takes between 5 and 10 business days to process.

Your employer has the right to appeal and alter the application if it is refused. If the LCA is accepted, however, you as the applicant can now begin the American E3 visa application process.

Employee Application Steps

After receiving the LCA from the US employer, the candidate can begin the E3 visa application procedure. The procedure is as follows:

Step 1. Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160

This form will ask you for personal information as well as information about your plans to visit the United States. The form will be utilized by the US Embassy to assess your case. You will receive a confirmation page and code after completing this form, which you will require later.

Step 2. The visa application fees must be paid

The price for applying for an American E3 visa is $205. This price must be paid and a receipt obtained, which you will require later. You will not be charged any additional costs for this visa because there are no visa issues or reciprocity fees.

Step 3. Make an appointment for your visa interview

Interviews are needed for all applicants between the ages of 13 and 80. Due to the heavy workload at the US Embassy, it is suggested that you make your appointment as soon as possible. You will receive a visa appointment letter once you have scheduled your interview.

Step 4. Prepare a file with your documents

The following is the list of documents you will be needing at your interview to strengthen your application:

  • Your valid passport.
  • A photograph. Have one photograph that complies with the US Visa Photo Requirements. You will need to upload the photo in the DS-160 form as well as have it with you when you go for your interview.
  • The Form DS-160 confirmation page.
  • The receipt for your visa application fee payment.
  • The visa appointment letter.
  • Letter from your employer confirming they have offered you the job and also job description and salary.
  • The Form ETA 9035, which proves your employer has LCA certification.
  • Your qualifications to prove you are in a specialty occupation such as:
    • Diplomas for your degrees.
    • Certificates or licenses for your profession (if applicable).
    • Letters from previous employers to prove work experience.
  • Proof that you intend to return to your home country after your work contract expires, such as:
    • Property deeds.
    • Apartment lease.
    • Bank accounts, etc.

Step 5. Please show up for your booked interview

One of the most crucial aspects of your application is the interview. An official from the US Embassy will assess your case and interrogate you about your character, employment in the US, past work experience and qualifications, and plans to return home.

If you even indicate that you wish to stay in the US permanently, your visa application will be put in jeopardy and may be refused. As a result, strive to demonstrate that you will return to Australia after your employment in the US is over.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. How long does the E3 Visa take to process?

After you submit your application and finish your interview with the US Embassy, the Embassy will assess your case and notify you of their decision. If your visa is approved, you will need to send in your passport for stamping, after which you will be able to go to the United States and begin working.

It takes around two months for the Embassy to react to your case. However, due to the Embassy’s increased workload, this may take longer. It is not a sign that your visa has been denied if they do not react within the specified time limit.

2. What is the duration of the American E3 Visa?

The LCA will have a particular validity when it is issued by the Department of Labor to your company. Your visa will be valid for the same amount of time as the LCA.

Your visa will be valid for 6 months if your LCA is valid for 6 months. The American E3 visa cannot be valid for more than 24 months or two years at first.

3. Is the E3 Visa Renewal Possible?

After the two years have passed, you can apply for an E3 visa renewal as long as your eligibility remains the same. Your employer must get a new LCA and file Form I-129 with the new validity date.

You must also include Form I-539, Application to Extend or Change Status, with your application. As long as you retain your purpose to return to Australia, you can renew or extend your American E3 visa forever.


The American E3 visa classification only applies to Australian citizens. You must be visiting the United States primarily to conduct services in a specialized field. For entrance into the specialty employment in the United States, a bachelor’s or higher degree in the relevant specialty, or its equivalent, is required, as well as the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.

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