Australian Professionals (E-3)
The E-3 visa is probably one of the most underused visas considering the major benefits. The E-3 visa arose out of the REAL ID Act of 2005. It enables foreign nationals of Australia to work in the U.S. in a specialty occupation. Although there is a quota of 10,500 per fiscal year, unlike the H-1B visa, there are always ample E-3 visas. So petitioners can sponsor them year-round. Since an E-3 visa is for Australian “professionals,” like an H-1B visa, the petitioner must prove that the occupation is a specialty occupation (require a bachelor’s degree).
There are several benefits to the E-3 visa. First, as mentioned above, the quota of 10,500 is not met so visas are available year-round. Second, unlike an H-1B, L-1, or O visa, the Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is not required.
Third, the initial approval is valid for up to two years, and there are an unlimited number of extensions. Fourth, a spouse of an E-3 visa holder can obtain work authorization. At present, H-4 visa holders can only obtain an employment authorization document (EAD) if the H-1B visa holder has either an approved I-140, Petition for Immigrant Worker or has an H-1B approval pursuant to AC21. Fifth, it is possible for a foreign national to own a corporation that will sponsor his/her E-3 visa. Sixth, the filing fees are much less than an H-1B since there is no $750/$1500 ACWIA fee or $500 Fraud Fee.
The E-3 does have its drawbacks. First, there is no automatic work authorization extension while an E-3 extension is pending. Therefore, you must make sure to file your extension with sufficient time to obtain an approval before your E-3 status expires. Second, you cannot make a request to premium process the petition. So processing could take a few months. Third, the maximum approval period is only two (2) years at a time.
Regardless, given the limitations of the H-1B, L-1, and O visa, the E-3 visa is definitely worth considering. If you believe you are eligible for an E-3 visa, please contact our law firm to get more information.
Must I Have a Bachelor’s Degree to Qualify for an E-3 Visa?
No, but you must have sufficient work experience that equates to a bachelor’s degree. You may also combine education with work experience to meet the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.
Can I Bring My Spouse and Child(ren) With Me?
Yes, your spouse and child(ren) can also apply for E-3 visas at the consulate.
When Should I File for an Extension of My E-3 Status?
You should file with enough time to obtain an approval before your current E-3 status expires. Unlike with an H-1B, which allows you to work while your extension is pending, for an E-3 visa, there is no automatic extension of work authorization while the extension is pending.
How We Can Help.
- We prepare and file the Labor Condition Application. Working with the employer and foreign national, we use the position title and job duties to determine the best occupation as defined by the Department of Labor. We ensure the LCA meets the minimum wage requirement to ensure it is certified.
- Having selected the appropriate title, we review and revise the resume (if necessary) to ensure it is consistent with the proposed duties.
- After we conduct a thorough review of the beneficiary’s immigration history, we prepare and file the consular application.
- We prepare the Employer Support Letter, which is the crux of the application. The letter explains why and how the position qualifies as a specialty occupation, discusses the employer and the beneficiary’s qualifications, and discusses the salary as well as the beneficiary’s intent to return.
- We submit a copy of the filing to the beneficiary and prep the beneficiary regarding how to answer the consular officer’s questions.
Please give us a call to discuss your case. In-person consultations are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and Saturdays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Please call our office at 301.529.1912 or complete the form below. Please be sure to provide a timeline of events along with details of your entire immigration history.