What is the E3 work visa? The E3 work visa (or E-3 visa) allows an Australian citizen to work in a specialty occupation in the United States (US). If you are an Australian citizen and an American employer has hired you, you will need to obtain an E3 work visa to work in the US. This article provides information on E3 work visa.
What is the E3 Work Visa?
The E3 work visa is a non-immigrant work visa specifically for Australian nationals or Australian citizens. This visa serves as the ideal choice for those Australian nationals holding a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) or higher and who a US employer has hired. The E3 status is a non-immigrant status.
E-3 visa applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation means:
- A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialised knowledge, and
- The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the United States. An applicant generally needs highly specialised knowledge on specialty occupations.
To be eligible for this visa, Australian citizens must:
- Have graduated college or university with at least the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree, or
- Have accumulated years of work experience corresponding to a degree.
Generally, three years of work experience is equivalent to a year of American undergraduate education. Thus, twelve years of work experience generally equals a four-year bachelor’s degree.
It is also important to note that this visa only applies to Australian citizens. Thus, permanent residents cannot apply for the E3 work visa. Furthermore, there is no upper age limit for applicants of this visa.
Requirements for the E3 Work Visa
Your US employer needs to obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA). Once they submit this, you can schedule an appointment for an interview at the US Consulate. You must submit all the necessary documents and paperwork to the US Consulate at this interview.
Generally, you must submit the following documents:
- An approved LCA,
- Evidence that you have received the equivalent to a bachelor’s degree or higher,
- An official job offer letter from your employer (the employer must also show that they will pay the foreign national the prevailing wage),
- Transcripts or copies of certificates from your Australian or American college:
- If you attended a college outside of Australia or the United States, you must submit documentation proving that your degree is equivalent to an American bachelor’s degree or higher.
- If you did not attend college, you must provide evidence that your work experience is equivalent to the US degree required by your new position.
- If required by the US, the appropriate licence for your new position. If you have not yet received a licence, you must provide a guarantee that you will apply for the licence shortly after admission to the United States.
You should note that you can still apply for the E3 work visa even if you do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can use three years of work experience as a substitute for each year of university-level education. This means you would need to show 12 years’ experience in the field you are applying to work in.
During the visa interviews, it is necessary to provide evidence and documentation showing your employment or work history, education, and training to prove your experience in the field. A consular officer will then determine whether the educational and employment information provided meets the eligibility requirements or qualifying credentials for a US visa. An approval notice will then be sent.
Benefits of the E3 Work Visa
This visa allows you to bring your family. If you are married or have children under the age of 21 and would like your family to accompany you to the United States, they are eligible to apply for the E-3D visa and will need an employment authorisation document. Unlike the principal applicant, the dependents do not have to be Australian citizens, but the applicant must prove their relationship with them (marriage licences and birth certificates).
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCI does not recognise non-licensed relationships, such as a de facto relationship or a same-sex civil partnership, E-3D visa immigration purposes. Your options would be to obtain a marriage licence or your partner will need to explore other visa options, such as a work visa or tourist visa.
If your spouse gets an E-3D visa, he or she may work in the US on that visa. On the other hand, dependents who are children cannot work, however, they may be able to attend a secondary school or college on their E-3D visas.
Validity of the E3 Work Visa
The visa is valid for two years, and this can be renewed for an infinite number of times.
Thus, when it comes to maintaining the validity of this visa, one must keep in mind the following:
- You can change employers on an E3 visa, but you will need to complete a transfer process through the USCIS. In this situation, you would need to consult an immigration lawyer because a non-immigrant worker petition is required.
- The E-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa. Thus, if you decided to leave the US and return within the time period stipulated by your visa, your visa would remain valid.
- If your visa expires while you are outside of the US, you must return to Australia and re-apply for a new E-3 visa.
Seeking Legal Advice from Expert Immigration Lawyers
If you are an Australian citizen and you want to apply to work in the US, you must obtain this type of work visa. However, as with other types of visa applications, there may be some complications in the process of the application. Meeting all the requirements does not guarantee that your application automatically gets approved. Hence, we highly advise seeking legal advice.
JB Solicitors has a leading team of experienced immigration lawyers that can help with your application. We offer legal advice for your specific situation, and we can assist you with all the necessary documents and paperwork to ensure that your application gets approved. We can help you with the visa interview and supporting documents for the application process.
Do you have any more enquiries? Contact us today.