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E-3 Certain Speciality Occupation Professionals From Australia

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E-3 Certain Speciality Occupation Professionals From Australia
E-3 Visa

Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals From Australia

The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia. You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields and at least the attainment of a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.


Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate that you:


    Are a national of Australia

    Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States

    Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials

    Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation


Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

Initial Period of Stay 

Extension of Stay

2 years  Up to 2 years per extension; no maximum number of extensions, with some exceptions.

 Change of Employment

Your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application and a new E-3 visa application. The gap between the jobs must be 10 days or less.

Note: Form I-129 is used to apply for an extension of stay or change of employment. 


Family of E-3 Visa Holders

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the same E-3 classification. Your spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not your children. To apply for work authorization as a spouse of an E-3 nonimmigrant, your spouse would file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization. For more information on the application procedures, see the “Work Authorization” link to the right.




Applying for an E-3 Visa from Within the United States

The Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is used to apply for a change of status to obtain E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification. 


Supporting Documents

Your Form I-129 must include the following documents:

  • A Labor Condition Application (LCA) which cannot be the same application used in a previous H-1B application.  Until the Department of Labor develops a new LCA for an E-3, the applicant should use the standard ETA-9035 and ask that it be annotated as an E-3 LCA
  • Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
  • Job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that you will be engaged in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
  • If required, before you may commence employment in the specialty occupation, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation


Applying for a Visa With a U.S. Embassy or Consulate

If your petition Form I-129 is approved, we will forward a Form I-797, Notice of Action/Approval to the employer, who in turn will forward it to you. A Form I-797 approval notice is not a U.S. visa, as the visa must be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. After Form I-129 is approved by USCIS, the next step is to apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, generally in your country of residence abroad. Please visit the Department of State, Temporary Workers webpage for visa information, how-to-apply procedures, and U.S. embassy web contact information to learn more.





Who qualifies for the E3 visa?

The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia as well as 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. However the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships or same-sex Civil Partnerships for the purposes of immigration, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.


I am a permanent resident of Australia but don’t have citizenship. Can I apply for an E-3 visa?

No. E-3 visas are only available for Australian nationals. If you are a new Australian citizen or are in the process of becoming one, please note that you will need to possess an Australian passport by the time of your visa interview.


Is there an upper age limit for applicants?

No, there is no upper age limit.


What is a specialty occupation?

The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:

- A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and

- The 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.

In determining whether an occupation qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” follow the definition contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) for H-1B nonimmigrants and applicable standards and criteria determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Please see the USCIS page for more information.

Although there is no definitive list of occupations eligible for the E3 visa, a useful general guide for applicants to check if their occupation might be considered a graduate specialty profession and thus might be eligible for an E3 visa, is the Occupational Information Network website O*NET Online.

I have a degree and have found a job in a related profession in the U.S. Do I qualify for the E-3 visa?

The job will qualify provided that it requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation. It is not enough that an E-3 applicant holds a particular degree; the job itself must also require a bachelor-level or higher qualification. For example, someone with a degree in Business Studies planning to work as a Personal Assistant would not be eligible for the E-3 unless the job actually required a bachelor-level qualification.

I am a skilled tradesperson with qualifications and experience in plumbing/electrical work/carpentry for example. Do these kind of trades qualify as specialty occupations for the E-3 visa?

Not generally, because a requirement of the E-3 visa is that the job in the United States requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation. As very few trade positions require a degree, they are not appropriate for the E-3 visa.
Do I need a license for a specialty occupation?
An E-3 applicant must meet academic and occupational requirements, including licensure in Australia where appropriate. In certain cases where a U.S. license or other official permission is required to perform the duties described in the visa application, but such permission or license is not available prior to entry into the United States, the applicant must show that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.
I do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Can I apply for the E-3 visa based on my work experience?

U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D), describes the kind and amount of experience which can be used to establish the equivalency of a university degree. As a guide, three years of professional experience may generally be used as a substitute for each year of university-level educatio. This means you would need to show 12 years experience in the field you are applying to work in. During their visa interviews, applicants for U.S. work visas should be prepared to provide documentation outlining their work history, education, and training. A consular officer will determine whether the educational and employment information provided meets the eligibility requirements for a U.S. visa.

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