Created by Congress in 2005 as an indirect result of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement, the E-3 visa option presents a valuable opportunity for Australian citizens to travel and work in the United States. At Alcorn Immigration Law, we work closely with startups and companies to secure the E-3 visa efficiently and expeditiously. To learn more about how we can help, consider contacting our team of experienced E-3 visa lawyers at +1(855) 546-0015 today.
What Is the E-3 Visa?
The E-3 visa category is designed for Australian citizens who wish to travel to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. This is a nonimmigrant visa classification, meaning it does not provide for permanent residence in the United States. Rather, the E-3 visa allows eligible Australian citizens to work in the country on a temporary basis.
Only certain employment positions qualify as specialty occupations according to United States immigration law. For a position to be considered a specialty occupation, two criteria must be met:
- The role necessitates that the employee theoretically and practically applies a highly specialized body of knowledge
- The employee holds a bachelor’s or higher degree, which is a minimum requirement for entry into the profession.
What Is the Process of Acquiring an E-3 Visa?
To acquire an E-3 visa, applicants must go through a complex legal process. The specific steps of this process depend on whether the employee is applying from within the United States or abroad. If the applicant is already located in the United States and holds a valid visa, an E-3 visa can be obtained by applying for a change of immigration status. This process is initiated by submitting Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers. There is a $460 filing fee to submit this form. The following documents should be included in the Form-120 application package:
- Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- Educational and/or professional credentials
- A job offer letter or other evidence of employment
- License or other formal permission that is required to perform the job
If the applicant is located outside of the United States and is applying for a visa for the first time (or is renewing a visa), the Form DS-160 must be completed and filed online, with the Department of State. The following documents will be necessary when applying for an E-3 visa while abroad:
- Copy of the confirmation page of the DS-160
- Evidence of previously issued visas to the United States
- A job offer letter and other relevant employment paperwork
- Approved Labor Condition Application (LCA)
- Copies of the required license or other formal permission to perform job activities
- Information about medical conditions that may impact visa eligibility
It should also be noted that all applicants between the ages of 14 and 79 are required to attend a visa interview. At this interview, the applicant will be asked questions regarding the aforementioned documentation. Working with experienced E-3 visa lawyers can help visa applicants prepare for the interview and ensure that all the necessary evidence and paperwork are organized to avoid delays during the application process.
Who Is Eligible?
Only Australian citizens who are offered employment in the United States in a specialty occupation are eligible for the E-3 visa. Permanent residents of Australia do not qualify for this visa classification. If the applicant is a new Australian citizen or is currently applying for Australian citizenship, please note that they will need to hold an Australian passport to be considered for an E-3 visa.
What Privileges Are Granted to E-3 Visa Holders?
There are numerous privileges that E-3 visa holders enjoy. Some of the most notable benefits of this visa category include:
- No time restriction for applications. E-3 visa hopefuls can freely apply at any point during the year.
- Unlimited extensions. The E-3 visa is valid for an initial period of two years but can be renewed indefinitely.
- Family benefits. E-3 visa holders may bring their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 with them to the United States. Their children may attend school and their spouse may apply for an Employment Authorization Document to work in the United States.
- Multiply-entry, meaning it is possible to travel freely in and out of the United States.
What Are the Limitations of this Visa?
While there are several benefits of the E-3 visa, it is also important to acknowledge the limitations of this visa category as well. These limitations include:
- While this number has not been met, there is a limit of 10,500 E-3 visas that can be issued each year.
- E-3 visa holders are not permitted to seek permanent residence status in the United States while attempting to extend their visa status.
How to Choose the Right E-3 Visa Lawyer for Your Needs
Choosing the right E-3 visa lawyer can greatly impact the success of your employee’s application and therefore their ability to work in the United States. The first step to choosing the right attorney is to identify prospective law firms and schedule consultations to discuss your case. During this conversation, you will be able to assess whether the attorney’s legal services are a good match for your needs. The following questions can be used to guide your initial conversation with prospective attorneys:
- What is your record of success and approval rating for E-3 visa cases?
- Have you worked with startups and companies to secure E-3 visas for Australian employees?
- How do you propose to mitigate risk during the application process?
- What is the approximate timeline of the process?
- How can I expect to communicate with you regarding my case?
- What is your fee structure?
How an Immigration Attorney from Alcorn Immigration Law Can Help You
As a startup or company, it is important to note that there are special visa opportunities available to facilitate the work of Australian nationals in the United States. Navigating the extensive legal requirements of the E-3 visa application process can be arduous, however, leading many businesses to seek assistance from experienced E-3 visa lawyers. Connect with Alcorn Immigration Law to get in touch regarding your immigration needs at +1(855) 546-0015 today.