E-3 Visa – Australian Professional Workers
The E-3 is a new visa for Australian nationals to work in specialty occupations in the U.S. It has many advantages over the other types of working visas, including the ability for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization. There is a maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas issued annually (during the fiscal year, which runs from 1 October to 30 September). The maximum validity period for E-3 visas is two years; but may be renewed indefinitely, provided the alien is able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States.
To qualify for an E-3 visa, an applicant must demonstrate the following:
What is a specialty occupation?
The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:
A specialty occupation is one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty. For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations.
Do I need a license for a specialty occupation?
An E-3 alien must meet academic and occupational requirements, including licensure where appropriate, for admission into the U.S. in a specialty occupation. If the job requires licensure or other official permission to perform the specialty occupation, the applicant must submit proof of the requisite license or permission before the E-3 visa may be granted. In certain cases where such a license or other official permission is not immediately required to perform the duties described in the visa application, the alien must show that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.
Do I need a petition by my employer to the USCIS?
A U.S. employer of an E-3 principal is not required to submit a petition to the USCIS as a prerequisite for visa issuance. However, the U.S. employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA), ETA Form 9035 or ETA Form 9035E, from the Department of Labor.
Spouses and dependent children
Spouses and dependent children may be granted E-3 classification. They do not need to have the same nationality as the principal and they are not subject to the numerical limitations.
To qualify, you must demonstrate that the established relationship exists. Usually this can be accomplished with a marriage or birth certificate. You must also show that the principal applicant is the recipient of an E-3 visa. Please note that the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
May spouses work?
E-3 spouses are entitled to work in the U.S. The spouse of a qualified E nonimmigrant can apply for work authorization upon entering the U.S. by filing an I-765 Application for Employment Authorization with the appropriate USCIS Regional Service Center.