The E-3 visa is similar in many respects to the H-1B visa, being that it is for skilled workers, but the E-3 is only for Nationals of Australia. Important differences include the fact that spouses of E-3 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 under NAFTA), and that the E-3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in two-year increments). Australian citizens applying for an E-3 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 E-3 visas. Visas issued to spouses and children are not included in the E-3 quota and spouses and children do not need to be Australian citizens.
The regulations for applying for an E-3 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 E-3 visa at a US embassy or consulate.
Similar to an H-1B visa, the prospective employer of the E-3 visa holder will first apply for a “Labor Condition Application” (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor, with a note at the top of the form indicating it is for an E-3 visa for an Australian citizen. After the LCA is granted, the Australian citizen will then apply for the actual visa at a US consulate 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 E-3 visa. Change of visa status is not possible if the applicant has entered the country under the visa waiver program.
The immigration attorneys of NPZ Law Group are skilled at helping businesses of all types and sizes meet their workforce needs by hiring skilled foreign workers. We have experienced great success with E-3 petitions for our clients, from international students to small companies to large, publicly traded corporations. To discuss your E-3 visa needs with an experienced immigration lawyer, please contact our law firm today.