E3 Visa For Australians
The E3 visa is a United States visa for which only citizens of Australia are eligible. It was created by an Act of Congress in the aftermath of the friendly but tough negotiations on the U.S.-Australia Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), although it is not formally a part of the AUSFTA. The legislation creating the E-3 visa was signed into law by President Bush on May 11, 2005.
The E3 visa is similar in many respects to the H1B visa. Important differences include the fact that spouses of E3 visa holders may work in the United States without restrictions (unlike other US non-immigrant visas, even the TN visa issued to Canadian and Mexican citizens), and that the E3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in two year increments). Australian citizens applying for an E3 visa are also no longer subject to the 65,000 annual visa limit for H-1B visas; although there is a separate annual quota of 10,500 E3 visas, this is believed to be much more generous to Australians than requiring them to compete with all other nations for H-1B visas. Visas issued to spouses and children are not included in the E3 quota and spouses and children do not need to be Australian citizens.
E3 visa holders do not officially benefit from the doctrine of dual intent, which allows certain US temporary visa holders to apply for the green card without concern that it may jeopardize their temporary status in the US.
The regulations for applying for an E3 visa were published in the United States Federal Register on September 2, 2005. Following these procedures will allow an Australian citizen to apply for an E3 visa at a US consulate in Australia.
Similar to an H1B visa, the prospective employer of the E3 visa holder will first apply for a “Labor Condition Application” (LCA) with the US Department of Labor, with a note at the top of the form indicating it is for an E3 visa for an Australian citizen. After the LCA is granted, the Australian citizen will then apply for the actual visa at a US consulate in Australia, and then enter the US. Australians who are already in the United States on another type of temporary/non-immigrant visa may also apply to change their status to an E3 visa. Change of visa status is not possible if the applicant has entered the country under the visa waiver program.
Call us at 877-872-9666