Are you an Australian professional who wants to come to the US to work?
If you have an offer of employment in the US in an occupation which requires a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree, you are in luck. This is the same requirement as the H-1B visa, but here is the difference: Only 50% of qualified professionals who companies sponsor for H-1B visas actually get them. Why? Because the worldwide quota is 85,000 and last year, over twice that many people applied. However, since you are an Australian, you can skip the H-1B “lottery” and apply for an E-3 visa. The 10,500 annual limit on E-3 visas has never been reached!
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Initially, your employer can submit an E-3 petition on your behalf for you for up to 2 years. The number of E-2 extensions permitted is unlimited.
In order to qualify for an E-3 visa, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be a national of Australia
- Receive an offer of professional employment in the US
- Possess the necessary academic credentials
- Fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation
To apply for the E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification and change your status, your employer must file Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. This form must include the following documentation:
- A Labor Condition Application (LCA), this cannot be the same application used in a previous H-1B application
- Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
- Job offer letter or other documentation from your employer establishing that the job is in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
- If required, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation
Due to the complexity of the application process, it is beneficial to consult an experienced immigration attorney before applying for an E-3 visa classification.
If your Form I-129 is approved, a Form I797 Notice of Action/Approval will be forwarded to your employer who will then forward it to you. You must apply for a US visa at a US Consulate is Australia.
Your spouse and unmarried children will also be eligible for apply for E-3 visas together with you. If your spouse wishes to apply work authorization, he/she must file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the USCIS.
If you have received an E-3 visa classification and wish to change jobs, your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application and a new E-3 visa petition. It is important to note that the gap between jobs must be 10 days or less.
E-3 Visa Resources
- E-3 Certain Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia (USCIS)
- Applying For E-3 Visa (US Embassy Australia)
- Application Procedure for Spouses and Children (US Embassy Australia)
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening an 8 attorney firm specializing in immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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