This article will discuss the requirements for family members of US E3 visa workers. In today’s economy, more and more jobs require a high level of education and specialised skills. There are specialty occupations which are in high demand across all industries.
A specialty occupation worker in Australia is a person who holds a job that requires a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education, or the equivalent, in order to be qualified to perform the duties of the position.
But what about the families of an Australian citizen? Can they come to the United States too? The answer is yes. The E3 visa allows the worker’s spouse and children under the age of 21 to come to the United States as dependents. The dependents can live and work in the United States as long as the worker is still in the United States on their E3 visa.
Furthermore, the E-3 Visa is a visa for only Australian citizens, created as a result of the Australia–United States Free Trade Agreement. This is a great opportunity for families who want to experience the American dream together. The dependents can attend school, work, and enjoy all that the US has to offer.
The Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) identifies a number of occupations that are specialty occupations. Generally, a specialty occupation requires theoretical and highly specialised knowledge. These occupations include:
- Medical professionals
- Software developers
- Technical and trade workers
Rules on Inclusion of Family Members of US E3 Visa
The general rule is an E-3 nonimmigrant worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to dependent E-3 classification. However, children of US E3 visa workers may not be employed in the United States. It is also available to Australian nationals.
The spouses of US E3 visa workers, on the other hand, are considered authorised to be employed in the United States incident to their status.
Moreover, evidence of such employment authorisation issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) include the following:
1) An unexpired Form I-94 With a Notation Reflecting E-3S Non-immigrant Status.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began issuing Form I-94 with a new admission code for spouses of E-3 workers: E-3S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting this new code is acceptable as evidence of employment authorisation under List C of Form I-9.
What Is Form I-94?
Form I-94 is the Arrival/Departure Record issued by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It is a record of a non-immigrant’s arrival and departure from the United States. Form I-94 is typically attached to the non-immigrant’s passport upon entry to the United States.
Moreover, this form is needed by all visitors except:
- U.S. Citizens
- Returning resident aliens (person from foreign country who is not a citizen)
- Aliens with immigrant visas
- Most Canadian citizens visiting or in transit.
Travellers will be issued an I-94 during the admission process at the port of entry. If you are travelling via a land border you may apply for an I-94 in advance, saving time while at the port of entry later.
2) An Unexpired Form I-94
- with a notation reflecting E-3, E-3D, or E-3R nonimmigrant status
- presented together with a notice from USCIS regarding the new admission code.
USCIS will send E spouses with a Form I-94 issued by USCIS before Jan. 30, 2022, that was notated with E-3, E-3D, or E-3R nonimmigrant status, a notice regarding the new admission code that, together with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-3, E-3D, or E-3R nonimmigrant status, serves as evidence of employment authorisation for such spouses under List C of Form I-9.
3) An unexpired Employment Authorisation Document (EAD).
Spouses of E-3 workers are not required to request employment authorisation by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorisation. However, they may still file Form I-765, with fee, in order to obtain an Employment Authorisation Document (Form I-766 EAD).
A Form I-766 EAD can be presented to employers as evidence of both identity and employment authorisation acceptable under List A of Form I-9.
An expired EAD with additional documentation to show the EAD is automatically extended.
There are conditions required for the automatic extension of their existing Form I-766 EAD. These are:
- Timely filing of a renewal Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorisation, based on the same E non-immigrant status.
- Possession of an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or E-3S non-immigrant.
How Long Is the Extension Period?
DHS regulations provide for an automatic extension period of up to 180 days from the expiration date stated on the EAD. However, DHS has published a temporary final rule increasing the automatic extension period.
The rule provides that starting May 4, 2022, DHS is temporarily increasing the automatic extension period and providing up to 360 days of additional automatic extension time, for a total of up to 540 days, to eligible renewal applicants.
The automatic EAD extension will therefore continue until whichever comes first:
- The end date on the dependent spouse’s Form I-94 showing valid L-2 or L-2S nonimmigrant status, as applicable;
- The date the DHS approved or denied their application to renew the previous EAD; or
- 540 days from the “Card Expires” date on the front of the previous EAD.
Benefits of Living with a US E3 Visa Holder Family
There are many benefits to living in the United States as an E3 visa family member. Here are some of the most notable:
- The ability to live and work in the United States. E3 visa family members are allowed to live and work in the United States as long as the principal visa holder is still in the United States on their E3 visa. This gives family members the opportunity to experience American culture firsthand and to build a new life in the United States.
- Access to education. E3 visa family members are allowed to attend school in the United States which opens the opportunity to get a quality education and to prepare for their future careers.
- The ability to travel. E3 visa family members are allowed to travel freely within the United States and explore the country and to experience all that it has to offer.
- The opportunity to become a permanent resident. After living in the United States for a certain amount of time, E3 visa family members may be eligible to apply for permanent residency. This would allow them to stay in the United States permanently and to bring their family members with them.
Need Help with Your US E3 Visa Application?
If you are considering applying for an E3 visa, it is a good idea to speak with an immigration lawyer. They can make sure that your application is complete and accurate, and they can represent you at USCIS interviews. JB Solicitors offers the following services:
- Reviewing your eligibility to see if you are eligible for an E3 visa.
- Helping you gather the necessary employment authorization document or documents such as your passport, your resume, and your job offer letter.
- Preparing your application to ensure that you fill out the forms correctly and submit them on time.
- Representing you at USCIS interviews to ensure that we present your case in the best possible light.
- Helping you understand the process and what to expect at each step
- Helping you understand what are your rights as Australian citizens.
Don’t hesitate to submit an enquiry today.