E-3 Visa

E-3 Australian Visa

The E-3 visa allows Australian nationals to work temporarily in specialty occupations in the U.S. The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. However the U.S. does not recognize de facto relationships or same-sex civil partnerships for the purposes of immigration, and to qualify as a spouse a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages is required.

A “specialty occupation” is one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. In determining whether an occupation qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” the definition contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) for H-1B non-immigrants and applicable standards and criteria determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) control.

An E-3 foreign national 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 foreign national must show that s/he will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.

Although the petitioning United States-based employer of an E-3 principal is not required to submit a petition to the Department of Homeland Security as a prerequisite for visa issuance, the employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA), ETA Form 9035 or ETA Form 9035E, from the Department of Labor. The validity of the E-3 visa should not exceed the validity period of the LCA. The Department of State and DHS have agreed to a 24-month maximum validity period for E-3 visas. This validity may be renewed.

There are a maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas issued annually during each fiscal year, which runs from October 1st to September 30. Spouses and children of applicants do not count against the quota, and neither do applicants extending their E-3 visas while still in the U.S. and working for the same employer. Similar to E-1 and E-2 visa applicants, the E-3 applicant must satisfy the consular officer that s/he intends to depart the U.S. upon termination of E-3 status.

E-3 spouses are entitled to work in the United States and may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765) through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The spouse of a qualified E non-immigrant may, upon admission to the United States, may apply with the Department of Homeland Security for an employment authorization document, which an employer may use to verify employment eligibility.

Such spousal employment may be in a position other than a specialty occupation.