E-3 Visa

What is E-3 Visa?

E-3 visa is a temporary US visa that allows Australian citizens with a specialty occupation such as fields in architecture, finance, computer programming, education, engineering, science, medicine, health, modelling, research, law and so on to enter US to take the job relevant to their profession. The visa’s initial approval is valid for up to 2 years but can be renewed in 2 year increments indefinitely.

To be eligible to apply for an E-3 visa, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be an Australian citizen
  • Completed a bachelor or higher degree in the field of the specialty occupation OR have accumulated years of specialist experience in a field of experience corresponding to a degree – at least 12 years of experience will be used as a substitute of a bachelor’s degree
  • Have a legitimate offer of employment in the US
  • Approval of Labor Conditional Application (LCA)
Visa Cap

Unlike the H-1B, there is less competition over quota allocation as the visa cap for E-3 visa is 10,500 per fiscal year and the cap does not apply to dependents.

How to Apply
  1. Applicant accepts the formal offer of employment
  2. Employer files the Labor Certification Application (LCA) – ETA Form 9035 to the Department of Labor
    – Employer certifying that the foreign worker will be paid a fair wage and that the worker’s employment will not adversely impact other employees
  3. Applicant applies for the visa by filing the online Form DS-160 once the LCA has been approved
  4. Schedule an appointment for E-3 visa interview with the US Embassy or Consulate
    – All applicants between 13 – 80 years old are required to have an interview
  5. Enter US and work for the sponsoring employer once the visa has been approved
Family members

Spouse and unmarried children (under the age of 21) can join the main applicant by applying the dependent visa – E-3D visa and they do not need to be Australian citizens. Once a child turns 21 years of age, the child will need to apply for another visa to remain in the US.

Unlike the H-4 spouse visa for the H-1B visa, once the spouse enters US holding an E-3D visa, spouse can request to obtain a work permit by filing Form I-765. A child holding an E-3D visa is not permitted to work in the US.

H-1B Visa E-3 Visa
Nationality Any Australian citizens only
Visa Cap 65,000 per year 10,500 per year
Visa Length 3 years – maximum 6 years* 2 years – indefinite
Renewals Once only No limit
Application Window April All year around
Employer Sponsorship Required Required
–          Petition Required – approx. USD $500
*Will increase to USD $555 on 02/10/2020
–          Premium Processing Available – approx. USD $1,450 Not available
Spouse Work Permit Not permitted* Permitted
Dual Intent
*Option of applying for a green card in the future
Yes No

Comparison Chart

*For more information, please refer to H-1B visa page