What is an E-3 Visa?
The E-3 visa is a non-immigrant visa category for Australian citizens who wish to come to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation must require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
Who Qualifies for E-3 Visa?
- Be an Australian citizen: Only citizens of Australia are eligible to apply for an E-3 visa.
- Have a job offer: The applicant must have a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is a professional position that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
- Possess the necessary qualifications: The applicant must possess the qualifications for the specialty occupation. This typically includes a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty, or its equivalent, and any other qualifications required for the position.
- Have a valid Form DS-2019: The applicant’s employer must have a valid Form DS-2019, which is a certificate of eligibility for exchange visitor status, issued by the U.S. Department of State’s designated sponsor organization.
- Intend to leave the United States upon completion of the E-3 Visa program: The applicant should have a non-immigrant intent, meaning that they have a residence outside the United States to which they intend to return and that they have no intention of immigrating to the United States permanently.
How to Apply for E-3 Visa?
To apply for an E-3 visa, you will need to follow these steps:
- Obtain a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation, such as engineering, computer programming, or education.
- Obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor, which verifies that the employer is offering a wage that is competitive with the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.
- Gather all necessary documentation, including your passport, a recent photo, and proof of your qualifications for the specialty occupation, such as a degree or professional certification.
- Submit your visa application, including all required documentation, at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country.
- Attend a visa interview, during which a consular officer will review your application and ask you questions about your qualifications and the nature of your intended employment.
- Wait for a decision on your application.
What is the E-3 Interview Process?
The E-3 visa interview process typically involves an interview with a consular officer at a U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country. The interview is an opportunity for the consular officer to verify the information in your visa application, and to determine whether you are eligible for the visa. The interview process may include the following steps:
- Arrival: You will need to arrive at the consulate or embassy on the date and time of your scheduled interview. You will be asked to present your passport, and will be required to pass through security.
- Interview: A consular officer will conduct the interview, which will usually last around 10-15 minutes. The consular officer will ask you questions about your qualifications, your intended employment, and your plans in the United States. They will also check your documentation and make sure that the information you have provided is accurate.
- Decision: After the interview, the consular officer will make a decision on your application. If you are approved for the visa, you will be asked to pay the visa fee, and will be given instructions on how to collect your passport and visa. If your application is denied, the consular officer will explain the reason for the denial and will inform you of your right to appeal the decision.
What are the Required Documents for E-3 Visa?
The required documents for an E-3 visa application may vary depending on the specific circumstances of your case, but generally, you will need to provide the following documents:
- A valid passport: Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date you intend to enter the United States.
- A nonimmigrant visa application form: You will need to complete the online form DS-160, which is the nonimmigrant visa application form.
- A recent photograph: You will need to upload a recent passport-style photograph as part of your online application.
- A job offer letter from your U.S. employer: This letter should describe the nature of the job, the duties you will be performing, and the length of the employment.
- Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor: This document verifies that the employer is offering a wage that is competitive with the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment.
- Proof of your qualifications for the specialty occupation: You will need to provide evidence of your education, training, and experience that qualify you for the specialty occupation. This could include diplomas, degrees, certificates, or other relevant documents.
- Proof of financial support: You will need to provide evidence of your financial ability to support yourself while in the United States, such as bank statements, pay stubs, or other financial documents.
- Visa fee payment: You will need to pay the visa application fee, which is non-refundable.
What is the E-3 Visa Fee?
The E-3 visa fee is a non-refundable fee that must be paid in order to process your visa application. As of 2021, the fee for the E-3 visa is $205. This fee is subject to change and it’s important to check the U.S Department of State website or the U.S. consulate or embassy where you plan to apply for the most up-to-date information.
It’s important to note that in addition to the visa application fee, you may also have to pay additional fees, such as a fee for the biometric services (fingerprinting) or for expedited processing of your application, if applicable.
It’s also important to keep in mind that, in some cases, dependents such as spouse or children may have to pay separate fees for their own visa.
What is the E-3 Processing Time?
The processing time for an E-3 visa application can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the volume of applications received by the U.S. consulate or embassy and the completeness of the application. However, typically it takes around 4 to 6 weeks to process E-3 visa applications.
E-3 Visa Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the eligibility requirements for an E-3 visa?
- The E-3 visa holder must be an Australian citizen and have a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation, such as engineering, computer science, or medicine.
- How long is an E-3 visa valid for?
- The E-3 visa is typically valid for up to two years, with the possibility of extensions in two-year increments.
- How to apply for an E-3 visa?
- The E-3 visa holder must submit a completed Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application) along with other required documents such as a valid passport, proof of financial support, and evidence of the job offer and qualifications for the specialty occupation.
- Can an E-3 visa holder apply for an extension?
- Yes, it is possible to apply for an extension of stay if the E-3 visa holder’s circumstances have changed and they need to remain in the US longer than the initial period of admission. The E-3 visa holder should apply for an extension before the current status expires.
- Can an E-3 visa holder change employer in the US?
- Yes, E-3 visa holders are allowed to change employer in the US, but they must inform the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the change and obtain a new Form I-129, which is a petition for a nonimmigrant worker, from the new employer.