E-3 Work Visa for Australians

The E-3 visa is for nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia who wish to enter the US to perform services in a "specialty occupation."

The term "specialty occupation" means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly 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. The definition is the same as the Immigration and Nationality Act definition of an H-1B specialty occupation.

Spouses and dependents of E-3 visa holders are entitled to work authorization.

The petitioning employer will be required to file a Labor Condition Application certifying that it will pay the employee, the U.S. prevailing wage and file the application with the U.S. Consulate. There are only 10,500 E-3 visas issued each fiscal year. The time limits on these type of visas are the same as E-1 and E-2 visas (as opposed to H-1Bs), or between two and five years. More significant, however, is that they can be renewed indefinitely.

The new E-3 visa classification currently applies only to Australian nationals, 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. It has many advantages over the other types of working visas, including the ability for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization.

E-3 Visa Requirements

It is important to understand that there are a finite number of E-3 visas available each year. Specifically, this classification is limited to just 10,500 each year. Notably, spouses and children of those seeking an E-3 visa do not count toward the numerical limitation. Likewise, they are not required to have the same nationality as the Australian national applying for the E-3 visa.

At the time of the E-3 visa application, the applicant must present before the consular officer an original or copy of an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA). This is a document that contains attestations by the applicant’s sponsoring employer regarding wages and working conditions. This includes the employer paying the employee the U.S. prevailing wage for the occupation. The application must be completed with and approved by the Department of Labor (DOL). If someone applying for an E-3 visa is unable to provide the original LCA, the consular official has the discretion whether or not to accept a certified copy of the approved LCA. An approved LCA will include the DOL’s certification that the sponsoring employer meets the attestation requirements under the E-3 statute. 

E-3 Visa “Specialty Occupation”

In general terms, “specialty occupation” means an occupation that requires the practical and theoretical application of highly specialized knowledge. As a minimum requirement for entry into the United States, the applicant must have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher in the particular specialty -- or its equivalent. The definition of a “specialty occupation” as it applies to E-3 Visas is the same as the definition of an H-1B specialty occupation in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Accordingly, consular officers abroad will apply this definition in order to determine what constitutes a “specialty occupation.”

Other E-3 Visa Considerations

E-3 visas have many benefits over other types of work visas even though they only apply to Australian nationals. Notably;

  • Spouses and dependents of those who hold E-3 visas are entitled to work authorization in the United States. 
  • Spouses need not work in a specialty occupation. 
  • Time limits on an E-3 visa is between two and five years, but it can be renewed indefinitely. 
  • There is no prerequisite petition that needs to be filed with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to seek an E-3 visa.

Australian Specialty Occupation Lawyer

For Australian citizens, E-3 visas are a great alternative to H-1B visas and tend to be faster and less expensive to obtain. At Pollak PLLC, the E-3 visa attorneys in Dallas provide full-service professional legal advice and representation on all types of immigration matters. Put our E-3 Visa lawyers’  immigration experience to work for you. We can help you successfully obtain an E-3 visa with minimal stress due to our strong legal strategy, attention to details, and timely communications. Call (214) 307-5510 today to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.

Our firm provides full-service professional legal advice and representation to help you find an immigration solution to your visa needs. Please contact us to discuss your Immigration options.

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