E-3 Visa for Professional Workers of Australian Nationals

The E-3 visa is available only to nationals of Australia. It permits the visa holder to work for any qualified American employers. The E-3 visa has most of the earmarks of the H-1B for workers in a “specialty occupation, as defined for that category described immediately below. The E-3 is exempt from the H-1B limitation of 65,000 per year; instead, E-3 candidates will be subject only to a country annual cap of 10,500 numbers and no pre-approval by USCIS is required. But, the Labor Condition Application certified by Department of Labor must first be obtained before the applicants can apply that visa in an American consulate. If the Australian national is outside the U.S., he/she must apply for that visa directly to a U.S. consulate. If the applicant is in the U.S. with other nonimmigrant visa, he/she can apply for change of status to that of E-3.

Like the spouse of an E-1 or E-2 nonimmigrant (but unlike any H spouse), the E-3 visa holder’s spouse should be able to obtain an employment authorization document. E-3 visa is issued for a valid period of two years with extensions so long as they otherwise qualify. The applicants do not have to maintain a residence abroad or “temporary intent” but they are bound by the commitment to depart the U.S. at the end of the E-3 stay.