Australians wishing to live and work in the United States are in a very fortunate position as they may be entitled to receive an E-3 visa.
To be eligible for the E-3 visa, you must:
- be an Australian citizen;
- be coming to the United States to fill a position that qualifies as a “specialty occupation”;
- hold a degree (or the equivalent in work experience) in that field; and
- have received a legitimate job offer from a US employer in that field.
What is a “specialty occupation”?
A “specialty occupation” is defined in § 214(i)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as an occupation that requires:
- theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and
- attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in thespecific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
There is no definitive list as to what occupations qualify as a “specialty occupation”. We suggest consulting an immigration attorney to determine whether the job you are interested in is suitable.
Will I qualify if I have a degree and a job offer in a related field?
Whilst these are two of the requirements to be eligible for the E-3 visa, there is an additional element which links the two to satisfy the question of eligibility. The position itself must require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. If the position has no minimum education requirements, for example, then it would not be sufficient for E-3 purposes. The job advertisement or position description will specify whether there is a minimum educational requirement, or if you are unsure, ask the employer.
Can work experience count towards satisfying the minimum educational requirement?
Yes, the law provides for the ability to count certain work experience towards the minimum educational requirement required for the position. For example, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D)(5) provides for the ability of a degree equivalency to be obtained using a combination of education, specialized training, and/or work experience in areas related to the specialty. It provides that for the purposes of determining equivalency to a baccalaureate degree in the specialty, three years of specialized training and/or work experience must be demonstrated for each year of college-level training the individual lacks.
I’ve got a suitable job offer, what now?
A Labor Condition Application (LCA) is the first step of the process. We can ensure that this is completed correctly and filed for you. The submission of incorrect documentation can delay the process considerably. Once an approved LCA is obtained, we will assist in scheduling your interview at a US Consulate or Embassy.
Why is the E-3 visa preferred over other visas?
Some of the reasons why this visa is preferred include:
- the filing fees are low compared to other visa types such as the H1B visa [$205 v $1,500-$7,500]
- the processing time is much quicker compared to other visa types such as the H1B visa [approximately 2 weeks v 3-6 months]
- the visa is available all year round unlike the H1B where applications are only open for a few days in April;
- there is no limit on the number of times the E-3 visa can be renewed, whereas the H1B visa can be renewed only once; and
- historically, the allocation of the available E-3 visas has never been exhausted, as compared to other visa types which can become exhausted due to their high demand [for example, in 2015, only 6,127 of the available 10,000 E-3 visas were granted].
Ready to apply?
Email us today at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be more than happy to work with you to secure an E-3 visa, should you qualify.
The information provided above is intended to be for educational and general information purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Before taking any action which may rely upon the above information, you are advised to seek professional advice specific to your circumstances.