E-3 Specialty Occupation Visas for Australians

An E-3 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows Australian professionals to enter the United States for purposes of working in a specialty occupation. The E-3 classification only applies to Australian nationals who have the required academic or professional credentials, and have a current offer of employment in a specialty occupation in the United States. An E-3 visa allows an individual to legally reside and work in the United States for a period of 2 years, with the potential for renewal.

Specialty Occupations

Under the U.S. immigration regulations, a specialty occupation is one that requires the “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.”

Specialized knowledge includes but is not limited to:

  • Medicine and healthcare
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Architecture
  • Physical sciences
  • Social sciences
  • Education
  • Law
  • Accounting
  • Business
  • Theology

E-3 Visa Eligibility Requirements

In order to qualify for an E-3 visa, an individual must demonstrate that they:

  • Are a national of Australia
  • Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
  • Hold the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
  • Will accept a position in a qualifying specialty occupation

Applying for an E-3 Visa

If an individual wishes to obtain an E-3 visa from Australia or another Consulate outside of the United States, the individual will need to Consular Process for his or her visa. If the individual is already in the United States on another visa, they may apply directly through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for a change of status.

When applying through a Consulate abroad, in addition to completing the Electronic Visa Application Form DS-160, applicants may be required to provide the following:

  • An approved Labor Condition Application (LCA), which the United States employer must obtain from the Department of Labor
  • Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials
  • A job offer letter from a U.S. employer
  • A certified copy of any license or other professional credentials required to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment or evidence of intention to obtain the required license

For visa interview and application processing wait times, visit the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs website.

Change of Status or E-3 Visa Renewal

For Australian nationals already residing in the United States on an E-3 or other visa, Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is necessary to apply for a change of status or an extension of stay for an E-3 visa.

The Form I-129 should include the following supporting documents:

  • An approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) that indicates it has been filed to support an E-3 classification
  • Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials
  • A job offer letter from a United States employer
  • A certified copy of any license or other professional credentials required to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment or evidence of intention to obtain the required license
  • Other required supporting documentation

An extension of stay may allow up to 2 years per extension, and there is no maximum number of extensions, with some exceptions. Please note that there is an annual cap of 10,500 E-3 visas that may be issued per year in the United States.

Family of E-3 Workers

A spouse or unmarried child (under the age of 21) of an E-3 nonimmigrant worker is entitled to a dependent E-3 classification and may enter the United States. Spouses are entitled to work authorization, and may do so by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization with USCIS; however, children are not.

E-3 Visa to Green Card

An individual with an E-3 visa may apply for a green card via one of two processes: the immigrant visa process (from outside the United States) or the adjustment of status process (from inside the United States).

Generally, an immigrant petition and a green card application must be completed. If pursuing an employment-based route, an employer must file the immigrant petition on the E-3 individual’s behalf. The two most common types of immigrant petitions are Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.

It’s important to note that an E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that has nonimmigrant intent attach to it.  An “immigrant intent” is defined as a current intent to pursue a green card in the United States or engage in activity that is intended for green cardholders. An E-3 visa holder may not have both nonimmigrant and immigrant intent (referred to as “dual intent”) simultaneously.

Applying for a green card via the immigrant visa process from outside the United States avoids immigrant intent issues, while the adjustment of status route is more complex and typically involves a waiting period following entry into the United States and assistance of an experienced business immigration attorney.

Get Your E-3 Visa With The Batrakova Law Office

Whether you’re planning to move to the United States to work in a specialty occupation, need assistance understanding the change of status or renewal process, or are looking to apply for a green card to make the United States your permanent residence, trusted legal advice is an essential component of your journey. Our expert lawyers are here to help navigate the legal process so you can focus on your work, your family, and your adventure.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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