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E-3 Visa
What is an E-3 Visa?

The E-3 is a new visa for Australian nationals to work in specialty occupations in the U.S. It has many advantages over the other types of working visas, including the ability for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization.

Who is eligible for E-3 Visa?

The new E-3 visa classification currently applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. However the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships or same- sex Civil Partnerships for the purposes of immigration, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

E-3 visas are only available for Australian nationals. If you are a new Australian citizen or are in the process of becoming one, please note that you will need to possess an Australian passport by the time of your visa interview

E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupationThe definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:

  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  • The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

Although there is no definitive list of occupations eligible for the E3 visa, a useful general guide for applicants to check if their occupation might be considered a graduate specialty profession and thus might be eligible for an E3 visa, is the Occupational Information Network website O*NET Online .

How do I Apply?

You can apply for an E-3 visa at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate that processes non- immigrant petition-based visas. A list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates worldwide can be found at . However, because an E-3 Specialty Occupation Worker does not require a separate petition, E-3 status may be obtained either directly through the Department of State (by applying for an E-3 visa) or, in the case of an alien already being in the U.S., by applying to the Vermont Service Center for a change of status or extension of status on Form I-129. Supporting documents to be submitted with an E-3 application include:

  • A job offer letter from the prospective United States-based employer. A treaty alien (i.e. the Australian applicant) in a specialty occupation must meet the general academic and occupational requirements for the position pursuant to Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214(i)(1). In addition to the Electronic Visa Application Form DS-160, completed online ( and print out the confirmation bar code page and bring it with you to your interview along with the following documentary evidence must be submitted for an application for an E-3 visa:
    • Form ETA 9035, clearly annotated as “E-3 - Australia - to be processed,” or an ETA 9035E dated after January 4th, 2006, specified for E-3 Australia. Now either form is acceptable. This is the notification of an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) that the U.S. employer obtains from the Department of Labor. You cannot book an interview appointment until you have received this form.
    • Evidence of academic or other qualifying credentials as required under Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214(i)(1) (see weblink above), and a job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that upon entry into the United States the applicant will be engaged in qualifying work in a specialty occupation and that the alien will be paid the actual or prevailing wage referred to in INA 212(t)(1)
      If your degree and higher-level qualifications are from an Australian institution, you do not usually need to provide certified copies or evidence of their U.S. equivalent, but please bring to your visa interview the original certificates, and if possible, transcripts for the course of study. If your qualification(s) are not from an Australian institution, a certified copy of the foreign degree and evidence that it is equivalent to the required U.S. degree could be used to satisfy the “qualifying credentials” requirement, but you may prefer to wait until your visa interview to confirm whether this is necessary. You should take your original certificates and transcripts to your visa interview, and if it is also necessary to produce certified copies of certificates and evidence of U.S. equivalence, you can send these to the Consulate after the interview, although your visa will not be approved until this is received. Likewise, a certified copy of a U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree, as required by the specialty occupation, would meet the minimum evidentiary standard.
    • In the absence of an academic or other qualifying credential(s), evidence of education and experience that is equivalent to the required U.S. degree.
    • Evidence establishing that the applicant’s stay in the United States will be temporary.
    • A certified copy of any required license or other official permission to practice the occupation in the state of intended employment if so required or, where licensure is not necessary to commence immediately the intended specialty occupation employment upon admission, evidence that the alien will be obtaining the required license within a reasonable time after admission.
    • Evidence of payment of the Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Fee, also known as the application fee. This is payable at Australia Post, and applicants should bring the post office receipt to the interview as evidence of payment.
Admisson and validity of E-3 Visa

The validity of the visa should not exceed the validity period of the LCA. The Department of State and DHS have agreed to a 24-month maximum validity period for E-3 visas. This validity may be renewed.

Congress has established a yearly cap of 10,500 new E-3 workers. For purposes of the cap, “new E-3 workers” are those who, coming from abroad, are admitted initially in E-3 classification or those who change their nonimmigrant status to E-3 classification or change employers while in E-3 status. Unlike the dependent of an alien in H-1B nonimmigrant classification, the dependent spouse of an E-3 temporary worker may apply for and receive work authorization.

E-3D Dependant Visa

The dependent must make a separate visa application, which involves most of the same steps as the principal applicant’s application, namely completing the required forms, paying the application fee, and scheduling a visa interview with a U.S. consular officer. Further details can be found on our page on how to apply .

The dependent does not need to provide the principal applicant’s Labor Condition Application (LCA) or evidence of employment, but needs to show that the principal applicant is the recipient of an E-3 visa by providing a copy of the visa or, if the applicant has obtained E-3 status in the U.S., the I-797 Approval Notice. The dependent can apply and arrange a visa interview at the same time as the principal applicant, or can apply and be interviewed later, once the principal applicant’s E-3 visa is issued. The principal applicant does not need to be present at the dependent’s interview. Each dependent must make a separate visa application, but children under 14 who are Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia are not usually required to attend an interview.

Please Note: You must demonstrate to the consular officer that the established relationship exists. Usually this can be accomplished with a marriage certificate for spouses or a birth certificate for dependent children. Please note that the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships or same-sex Civil Partnerships, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages. You must also show that the principal applicant is the recipient of an E-3 visa.

May spouses work?

E-3 spouses are entitled to work in the United States and may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-765) through U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The spouse of a qualified E non-immigrant may, upon admission to the United States, apply with the Department of Homeland Security for an employment authorization document, which an employer could use to verify the spouse’s employment eligibility. Such spousal employment may be in a position other than a specialty occupation.

If you need to apply for an E-3 visa or have any other questions, click here >

USCIS issues guidance on E3 visa applications