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The E-3 visa was created as part of a free trade agreement between the United States and Australia. As a result, it applies only to Australian citizens. Up to 10,500 E-3 visas may be granted each year, and to date, the annual limit has never been exhausted.
The E-3 permits Australians to enter the United States for employment in a “specialty occupation.” The specialty occupation concept is the same for E-3s as for H-1Bs, and more information about which jobs qualify may be found here. Like the H-1B, an E-3 employer must meet certain wage requirements.
An Australian worker may apply for an E-3 visa directly at a US consulate, by showing an offer of employment in a specialty occupation, and a Labor Condition Application (LCA) certified by the United States Department of Labor. The LCA contains employer attestations regarding wages and working conditions. The worker must also present evidence of a Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent.
An E-3 worker may be admitted into the United States for up to 2 years, and the stay may be extended in 2-year increments. Although there is no upper limit on the number of extensions that may be granted, the worker must have an intention to depart from the United States upon the termination of E-3 status.
E-3 spouses and children qualify for E-3 dependent status, whether they are Australian citizens or not. E-3 spouses may apply for work authorization in the United States.
Ostrom Law Office can help Australian citizens and their US employers obtain an E-3 visa assuming all eligibility requirements are met.
Based in Minneapolis, we assist United States employers nationwide who seek temporary visas for foreign professional workers, including Australian citizens. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice regarding eligibility or the application process.