E-3 Visa FAQ

There are several advantages to employing Australian citizens. There is a special visa classification called the E3 Visa that is only available to Australian citizens, it is available year-round, has no lottery or numerical limits, is cost-effective, and is generally quick to obtain. The process of hiring and employing an Australian citizen on an E3 Visa is much less onerous than hiring employees under the H-1B visa program. Find out why you should consider hiring Australian citizens under the E-3 visa program.

What is the E-3 Visa?

The E-3 is a US work visa only available to citizens of Australia. The E-3 Visa is available for Australian citizens that will be working in a specialty occupation. Simply put, any profession that generally requires at least a 4-year degree for entry into the profession can qualify for an E-3 visa.

What are the advantages of hiring an Australian on an E-3 Visa?

As a US employer you should consider hiring Australian citizens under the E-3 visa program for several reasons:

  • No Lottery or Numerical Limitations – Unlike the H-1B Visa where you must obtain a visa through an annual lottery, the E-3 visa can be applied for at any time year-round. There is also no limit on the number of E-3 visas issued each year.
  • Unlimited Renewals – The E-3 Visa is issued in two-year terms and is renewable indefinitely. There is no limit to the number of renewals or time an Australian can be employed on an E-3 visa as long the employee can demonstrate their intent to return to Australia at the end of their temporary US employment.
  • US Permanent Residence (Green Card) – Similar to the H-1B visa, an Australian citizen can go from an E-3 Visa to US permanent residence (Green Card).
  • Low Cost – Filing fees are nominal if done through a US Consulate outside the US.
  • Can Change Employers – If the potential employee is already inside the US, they can change employers while remaining inside the US through USCIS Form I-129 Petition for Foreign Worker.

What are the requirements for the E-3 Visa?

If you plan on hiring an Australian on an E-3 Visa, you must meet the following requirements:

  • A support letter – A support letter is similar to an offer letter but contains more details about the position being offered, duties to be performed, why the position requires at least a four-year degree, and how the employee meets the qualifications.
  • Labor Condition Application (LCA) – Prior to submitting an E-3 application with either a US Consulate or by mail with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an employer must obtain an LCA with the US Department of Labor. The LCA certifies the wage being offered to the potential employee is consistent with the wage for the profession. Similar to a minimum wage requirement but for foreign workers.
  • Proof of Qualifications – You must provide proof of the potential employee’s qualifications for the profession and the E-3 Visa. This includes copies of degrees, certificates, diplomas, proof of experience, etc.
  • Specialty Occupation – You must demonstrate that the position being offered to the employee is a specialty occupation that requires at a minimum a 4-year degree for entry into the profession.

How do we apply for an E-3 Visa?

There are two ways to apply for an E-3 Visa. This depends on whether the potential employee is already inside the United States or will be coming over directly from Australia. The options include:

  • E-3 Visa via Consular Processing – If the potential employee is in Australia, after approval of the LCA with the US Department of Labor, they will schedule a consular appointment through Form DS-160 at their local US Consulate. The US Consulate will then issue the E-3 Visa and the employee will use the visa to travel to the US and commence their employment.
  • E-3 Visa via USCIS Form I-129 – If the potential employee is already in the United States in legal immigration status, you can file Form I-129 Petition for Foreign Worker with USCIS. Upon approval, they will be able to commence their employment. There are standard and expedited processing options available. The potential employee cannot start working until USCIS approves the petition.

How fast is the E-3 Visa process?

Obtaining an E-3 Visa can be very fast. Depending on US Consulate wait times, an E-3 visa can be obtained in a few weeks or less overseas, or in as little as 15 days with premium processing by mail with USCIS.

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