E-3 Visa

Work Visa for Australian Professionals

E-3 Visa

E-3 visas are used by Australian nationals to work in the US. E-3 visa-holders only need a college degree in a specialized field and a job offer from a US employer to obtain the visa.


Basics of the E-3 Visa

E-3 visas are filed by Australians to enter the US and work on “specialty occupations”. A specialty occupation is one where you will need a college-level education in a specialized field to perform the job.

Though the requirements for a E-3 visa are similar to the H1B visa, unlike a H-1B visa, to obtain a E-3 visa, an Australian national only needs to go to the US consulate to have the E-3 visa issued. H1B visa is the most popular work visa for college-educated professionals. Regulatory requirements to obtain a H1B are onerous. An E-3 visa is an easier, faster and cheaper visa that can be used by Australians to work in the US.


The E-3 visa was created to increase the number of specialty occupation workers in the US without raising the limits on the number of new H1B visas that can be filed each year.

In 2004, the quota for new H1B visas that had been raised temporarily to 195,000 visas per year reverted to 65,000. The H1B CAP is the number of new H1B visas that people are allowed to file each year. H1Bs are the most common visas used by professionals and college graduates to work in the US.

The drastic decrease in the number professional workers allowed to enter on H1B caused a problem. The IT and professional industries needed more qualified workers. At the same time, the Republicans could not seem weak on immigration by increasing the number of foreign workers in the US, especially ones that took higher, professional jobs. As a compromise, the US government created a new rule by signing a treaty with the Australians. Per the treaty, 10,500 Australian professionals who wanted to work in the US could get E-3 visas rather than having to file for the H1B lottery each year.

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Eligibility Criteria

  • Only nationals of Australia qualify
  • You must have a job offer from a US employer
  • The job must be in a specialty occupation, i.e., it must require a minimum of a college degree in a technical field or be a professional position
  • The salary must match the Department of Labor’s prevailing wage for that job in the US.
  • You must have a bachelor’s degree or higher degree related to the job

The Filing Process & Duration of the Visas

Visa holders can go to the US consulate in Australia to apply for the E-3 visa. They must have a job offer and a Labor Condition Application from a US employer. If they are in the US, the employer can file to extend or change their status to an E-3 visa.

  • Duration of an E-3 visa:
    • The visa is valid for 2 years and can be extended indefinitely.
  • Family members enter the US on a derivative E-3 visa. The spouse is allowed to work without having to file for a separate work permit.
  • E-3 visas are single intent visas. This means that filing for a green card while on an E-3 visa is rare. Most times people change status to an H1 or another visa before filing for a green card

To read additional details about the government’s filing process and fees for the E-3 visa, please visit the USCIS website here.

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How We Can Help

Problems When Filing the E-3 Visa

E-3 visas are usually filed directly at the US consulate in Australia. However, the petition must be complete, along with an offer letter from a US employer and a certified Labor Condition Application. Through the job offer letter, the employer must show that the job requires a specialized skills and that you, as the applicant, has those skills.

Once approved:

  • You can only work for the employer who sponsored the E-3 visa. To work for a different employer, you have to file for a new E-3 through the new employer. You can only work once that case is approved.
  • You are considered in legal status for up to 60 days after you stop working for the employer.
  • With very few exceptions, you must first change to another visa before filing for a green card.

The Immigration Desk Solution

We help our clients get E-3 visas approved by filing the LCAs and helping the employer draft job descriptions. For both initial filings and extensions, we review your information and draft the petition for you, including the forms, employer offer letter and the Labor Condition Application.

We will also prepare you for the interview at the consulate so that your visa issuance is straightforward and easy.

Part of our job is to discuss the position with the employer and guide as to whether a H1, another work visa or a E-3 will suit you best. E-3 visas are processed very quickly, but if you want to eventually get a US green card, E-3 visas will not suit you. We help lay out a plan to achieve that goal.

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