E-3, Australian Professional Workers
Australian Professional Workers – E-3
This nonimmigrant classification was created pursuant to the Australian Free Trade Agreement. The requirements for this classification are nearly identical to the H-1B requirements. However, the E-3 category is only available to nationals of Australia who are coming to the U.S. to be employed in a specialty occupation. Generally, a specialty occupation is one which requires at least a bachelor’s degree or higher, or the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, in a specific field of study. The annual cap on the number of new E-3 visas which can be granted in any one fiscal year (1 October to 30 September) is 10,500.
Unlike the H-1B category, no petition is required for an E-3. The application is made directly at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. However, a Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) showing that the foreign national will receive at least the prevailing wage for the occupation in the particular geographical area is required for both an E-3 and an H-1B. Whereas a beneficiary of an H-1B petition initially may be granted up to three years of H-1B classification, an E-3 applicant initially may only be granted up to two years of E-3 classification. After that, an E-3 may receive two-year extensions indefinitely so long as he or she remains eligible for E-3 classification and is able to demonstrate that he or she does not intend to stay permanently in the United States.
Another major difference between the E-3 category and the H-1B category is that the spouse of an E-3 is eligible to apply for work authorization in the United States. The spouse does not have to work in a specialty occupation.
How to Apply for an E-3 Visa:
- A prevailing wage survey must be completed to ensure that the applicant will be paid a wage that is at least 100% of the current salary received for similar employment in the area where he or she is to be employed.
- Once the prevailing wage survey has been completed, the U.S. employer submits a Labor Condition Application (LCA) online, which is immediately certified by the Department of Labor. The U.S. employer then prints the certified LCA, posts it for 10 business days at the worksite where the applicant will be employed and places it in the applicant’s LCA Public Access folder which the U.S. employer is required to maintain.
- In addition to the certified LCA, the applicant must submit the following items to the consular officer at the visa interview:
- A DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Application, which must be completed and submitted online. A passport-style photograph must also be scanned and uploaded when completing the DS-160.
- A valid passport. There should be at least six months of unexpired validity and at least one blank page to insert the machine readable visa.
- Payment of the visa issuance fee, where required. Please contact Ferman Law which can advise as to which nationalities must pay a visa issuance fee and the fee amount based on reciprocity.
- Evidence of the following:
- There is a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S.
- The position to be filled qualifies as a specialty occupation.
- The applicant is an Australian citizen.
- The applicant has the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials.
- The applicant’s stay in the U.S. will be temporary.
- If applicable, the applicant has acquired the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation.
Applicants between ages 14 and 79 will need to attend in person a pre-scheduled H-1B visa interview at a US Embassy or consulate.
How We Can Help You
At Ferman Law, we review with our clients the feasibility of the application and the documentation needed. We obtain for you an evaluation of your education and work experience to show that you have the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree. We also obtain for you a prevailing wage determination or an alternative wage survey. We then prepare all of the necessary forms and submit a Labor Condition Application to the U.S. Department of Labor on your behalf. We prepare any visa applications which you and your dependents may need and assist you with the collection of the necessary supporting documentation. We schedule your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy and then prepare you for that visa interview.