E-3 FAQs

  1. Who qualifies for the E-3 visa?
  2. Do I need a license for a specialty occupation?
  3. I do not have a bachelor’s degree but I have significant professional experience. Can I qualify for an E-3 visa?
  4. Does my employer need to file a petition with USCIS?
  5. What is the fee for an E-3 visa?
  6. How long is an E-3 visa valid for?
  7. Is there a limit to the number of E-3 visas?
  8. Do applicants need to demonstrate a “residence abroad”?
  9. How do I demonstrate that I qualify for an E-3D (dependent) visa?
  10. May spouses with E-3D visas work?

 

Who qualifies for the E-3 visa?

The E-3 visa classification currently applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children (Permanent residents of Australia do not qualify for an E-3 visa). E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. Spouse and children need not be Australian citizens.

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Do I need a license for a specialty occupation?

An E-3 alien must meet academic and occupational requirements, including licensure where appropriate, for admission into the United States in a specialty occupation. If the job requires licensure or other official permission to perform the specialty occupation, the applicant must submit proof of the requisite license or permission before the E-3 visa may be granted. In certain cases, where such a license or other official permission is not immediately required to perform the duties described in the visa application, the alien must show that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.

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I do not have a bachelor’s degree but I have significant professional experience. Can I qualify for an E-3?

Yes. An E-3 applicant may also qualify based on professional experience, or a combination of education and experience. U.S. regulations allow a certain kind and amount of experience that can be used to establish the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. The formula recognizes three years of progressive experience as equal to one year of university-level education. Therefore, someone would need 12 years of progressive experience to show the “equivalent” of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.

Alternatively, one can combine partial or incomplete post-secondary education and experience using the same formula. So, someone with two years of post-secondary education only needs 6 years of work experience.

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Does my employer need to file a petition with USCIS?

No. The U.S.-based employer of an E-3 visa applicant is not required to submit a petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as a prerequisite for visa issuance. However, the employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA), ETA Form 9035, from the Department of Labor and attest that it will pay the E-3 visa applicant the prevailing wage for that position.

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What is the fee for an E-3 visa?

Other than the normal visa application fee of US$270 (per person), there is no government filing fee.

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How long is an E-3 visa valid for?

The E-3 visa is issued in two-year increments and may be renewed indefinitely.

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Is there a limit to the number of E-3 visas?

Yes. There is a quota of 10,500 E-3 visas per year. Spouses and children of principal applicants do not count against the numerical limitations.

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Do applicants need to demonstrate a “residence abroad”?

No. The E-3 visa does not require applicants to maintain foreign residence in their home country. In fact, they may sell their residence and move all household effects to the United States. An unequivocal expression of intent to return to their home country, upon the expiration of their E-3 status, is normally sufficient.

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How do I demonstrate that I qualify for an E-3D (dependent) visa?

Family member(s) must demonstrate to the consular officer that the established family relationship exists. Only spouses and minor children (under 21 years of age) of E-3 visa applicants will qualify for the E-3 dependent visa. A marriage or birth certificate will serve as evidence of that relationship.

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May spouses with E-3D visas work?

Yes. E-3 spouses are entitled to work in the United States and may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with USCIS after admission in to the United States in E-3D status. This EAD provides the spouse with unrestricted employment authorization. This means that a spouse may be self-employed, a freelancer/independent contractor or an employee.

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