E-3 Visas: Australian Specialty Occupation
Australian nationals are now able to apply for their own working visa class for America, known as the E-3 visa.
The new E-3 Visa allows nationals of the Commonwealth of Australia who have an offer of employment already in place to enter the United States to work in a “Specialty Occupation” . The term “Specialty Occupation” means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent). In order for someone to qualify for the E-3 visa, they must meet several minimum requirements.
For an E-3 visa to be processed, the petitioning employer is required to file a Labor Condition Application with the U. S. Department of Labor, but unlike the H1B category, no petition with the U. S. immigration authority is required.
The American Government sets a limit on the number of E-3 visas it issues each year and the current cap is set at 10,500. These E-3 visas are issued on a first come, first served basis.
E-3 visas are valid for 2 years but can be renewed for another 2 years on an indefinite basis, as long as the applicant continues to have a sponsor in the United States. As the E-3 visa is considered a nonimmigrant visa, the E-3 visa is not intended to lead to permanent residency and the applicant must prove they intend to leave the United States.
The spouse and dependents of E-3 visa holders are also granted temporary residency inside the United States, and spouses are also able to take up employment under the E-3D visa category (subject to further authorization by the USCIS), which need not be in a specialty occupation.
To qualify for an E-3 visa, an applicant must firstly demonstrate that:
• He or she has a legitimate offer of employment in the United States;
• The position he or she is coming to fill qualifies as specialty occupation employment;
• He or she is an Australian citizen;
• He or she has the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials;
• His or her stay will be temporary; and
• If required before the applicant may commence employment in the specialty occupation, that he or she has the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation.
If you are an Australian interested in working in America on an E-3 visa, please Contact Us for a free evaluation of your E-3 visa case and to discuss timing and the application process.