The E-3 visa is a specialty occupation work visa available to Australian citizens, allowing an Australian citizen to work in the United States for renewable two year periods.
In order to qualify for an E-3 visa, you must have a sponsoring employer and a degree relevant to your prospective job.
While this visa is specific to Australian citizens, you may apply for an E-3 at any accepting U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S., although applying in Australia is usually the safest bet.
Some important things to note if you are seeking to obtain an E-3 visa:
- You must secure a job with an employer who is willing to sponsor you for the visa;
- You must have a Bachelor’s degree in a field relevant to the prospective job;
- Your employer must agree to pay a wage equal to or above the prevailing wage for the job being offered to you;
- Your employer must be willing to provide detailed information about their business and the job that is being offered to you; and
- You must include relevant background information, such as a copy of your passport, copies of academic degrees and transcripts, copies of any relevant certifications, documentation in connection with any prior visa status, resume, etc.
While it is possible under certain circumstances to apply for the E-3 status through USCIS if you are already in the U.S., it is usually recommended that applicants trigger the E-3 status by securing an E-3 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad.
Some important steps you will need to take to secure an E-3 visa appointment are as follows:
- Obtain a certified Labor Certification Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor;
- Draft a detailed support letter describing the sponsoring employer, your position and your background;
- Gather important documents about the sponsoring employer and your background to be included in the E-3 visa application package;
- Complete and submit a DS-160;
- Secure a visa appointment at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad; and
- Attend a scheduled visa interview with a completed E-3 visa application package.
Once an interview takes place, an Embassy or Consulate will typically hold onto your passport for approximately 3-5 business days while they process the visa. They will then stamp the E-3 visa in your passport and either ask that you come back to pick it up, or they will courier it to you.
Once you have received your passport back with the E-3 visa stamp, you can return to the U.S. and enter in the E-3 visa status to begin employment.
Once you have triggered your E-3 status, you are free to live and work in the U.S. for the duration of the visa in the specific job role and for the specific employer under which you were approved.
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