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E-3 Visa for Australian Nationals in Specialty Occupation

The E-3 visa category is for Australian Nationals going to the U.S. to work temporarily in a specialty occupation. The E-3 visa category was created by legislation in the year 2005. The limit of E-3 visas is 10,500 per year. Australian permanent residents are not eligible for the E-3 visa. The applicant must possess an Australian passport by the time of the visa interview. The spouse and children need not be Australian nationals/citizens. If you are an Australian Citizen and wish to apply for an E-3 visa, contact the experienced attorneys at The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA. Our competent attorneys have decades of combined experience in immigration law proceedings and have represented foreign nationals from all over the world. Call or contact us for a consultation.


To qualify for an E-3 visa, an Australian national must establish that:

  • An offer of employment in the U.S. exists;
  • The position qualifies as ‘specialty occupation’ (i.e. a 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 U.S.);
  • An approved Labor Condition Application (LCA);
  • Academic or other qualifying credentials;
  • In the absence of an academic or other qualifying credential(s), evidence of education and experience that is equivalent to the required U.S. degree.

License for a specialty occupation

If the job requires licensure, the applicant must submit proof of the requisite license before the E-3 visa may be granted. In certain cases where such a license is not immediately required to perform the duties described in the visa application, the applicant must show that he/she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the U.S.

Sponsorship by U.S. Employer

A U.S. based employer that wants to sponsor an eligible Australian National for an E-3 visa must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor. The employer must provide the applicant with a job offer that establishes the engagement in qualifying work in a “specialty occupation” and will be paid the actual or prevailing wage for that specialty occupation. The U.S. based employer does not need to submit a petition for pre-approval to the USCIS.

Validity Period

The validity of the E-3 visa should not exceed the validity period of the LCA. The E-3 visa applicants are admitted for a two-year period and renewable indefinitely provided the alien is able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work permanently in the U.S. There is no specified number of extensions a qualifying E-3 visa holder may be granted.

E-3 visa and Dual Intent

The E-3 visa does not support the dual intent. The E-3 visa applicant must establish to the satisfaction of the consular officer or the USCIS that the employment opportunity is both temporary and short-term and that there is no intent of remaining permanently in the U.S. The E-3 must satisfy the consular officer that he/she intends to depart upon termination of status.

Change of Status while in the U.S.

The E-3 visa holder can change visa status from E-3 to any other nonimmigrant status while in the U.S. (i.e. from E-3 to H-1B) provided the applicant qualifies and there are visas available. However, an applicant cannot apply for a change of status to E-3 visa while on the Visa Waiver Program.

Change Employer

The E-3 visa status is linked to an employer, hence change of employement would require a new E-3 visa application. This can be done either inside the U.S. or at a U.S. Consulate overseas. However, this change does not count against the E-3 visa quota.

E-3D (Dependent) Visa

The E-3 visa holder must submit to the consular officer the documents that establish the relationship with the dependents (i.e. marriage certificate for spouse and birth certificate for children). The spouse and children do not need to be Australian nationals. It is only the E-3 visa holder who must meet the Australian national requirement. The spouse of an E-3 holder is entitled to work in the U.S. The spouse may apply for an Employment Authorization Document with Form I-765 to the USCIS.

Benefits of the E-3 Visa

  • The E-3 visa sponsor/employer does not need to submit a petition to the USCIS. This makes the E-3 visa preferable to the H-1B because there is no need for a petition to be approved by the USCIS prior to applying for an E-3 visa stamp at a U.S. consulate.
  • The application process for the E-3 visa is relatively easy when compared to the H-1B visa. It is possible that an applicant can obtain an E-3 visa within a week of the interview at the U.S. Consulate.
  • The visa holder can apply for change of status between E-3 and H-1B visa status.
  • There is no limitation on the number of years the holder can remain in E-3 status as long as he/she can prove that there is no intention to remain in the U.S. permanently.
  • Spouses of E-3 visa holders can apply for employment authorization and work in the U.S.

Contact us

If you have questions about an immigration matter, and/or you need help in the process, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to speak with an attorney. We handle various matters including family immigration, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, employment visas and H1B visas, Investor Visas, PERM applications, Green Cards and Permanent Residence, and many more. Please contact us and experience how our firm can effectively achieve your objectives.

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