There are multiple specialized visa programs that apply only to nationals of specific countries. One of these, which is often unknown even to those who qualify for it, is the Australia United States Visa – formally the E-3 visa or E3 visa.
E-3 Visa FAQ: What You Need to Know
The E-3 applies only to nationals of Australia. The principal E-3 holder must be going to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation. The definition of “specialty occupation” can be quite vague, so the first step is determining whether you might qualify.
Under the law, a specialty occupation:
- Requires theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge;
- Requires at least the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in the specialty;
- Must comply with rules set out in Admission of Nonimmigrants.
Remember: It is not enough that the E-3 applicant hold a degree. The job being applied for must also require the degree. Since there are no definitive rules on which occupations may or may not qualify, the help of an E-3 visa California lawyer is essential.
Skilled tradespeople do not generally qualify for the E-3, because the specific professions they practice do not require a bachelor’s degree in the United States. If the applicant practices a profession that requires licensing in Australia, he or she must be current on those obligations.
If you do not hold a bachelor’s degree, it may be possible to substitute a minimum of 12 years of professional experience for this requirement. Each year of university study is waived by three years of professional experience. However, you must be able to document your work history.
You must have a job offer before applying for the E-3. You may travel to the U.S. to look for a job or attend an interview. That said, you can’t apply for the visa from within the country. You can apply in Australia or at any embassy or consulate that processes non-immigrant visas.
Applicants for the E-3 must complete the standard DS-160 form. It is not usually necessary to submit paperwork in advance – paperwork can be brought to the interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. From within Australia, visa approvals usually take about five days after the interview.
Spouses and children qualify for the E-3D (dependent) visa. This requires that you submit evidence establishing the relationship. Adult E-3D holders may work in the United States.
More information is always available from the U.S. Embassy in Australia.