E3 Visa: The Complete Guide

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • E3 visa for Australian citizens to live and work in the U.S.
  • Advantages over H1B: easier attainment, lower costs, spousal work eligibility.
  • Eligibility requires Australian citizenship, job offer in a specialty occupation, and academic qualifications.
  • Application process involves various documents, consulate or in-Australia processing, with a cost around $1,000.

Are you an Australian citizen who received a job offer from a U.S. employer? Do you want to temporarily move to the U.S. for work? Well, an E3 visa is exactly what you need.

In this article, we will go over how you can easily obtain this visa, the eligibility criteria, processing time, cost, and other related factors.

What Is an E3 Visa?

If you are a citizen of Australia and want to live and work in the United States, you need to apply for the E3 visa. Originally introduced into the U.S. Immigration system in 2005, the E3 visa provides a wonderful opportunity to the business professionals and people of Australia to make the most out of brighter prospects available in the U.S. as a part of AUSFTA (the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement).

What makes an E3 visa a better choice over a traditional H1B work visa is the fact that E3 visas can be attained easily and also prove to be less costly when compared to their counterparts. Not only that, but E3 visas also allow the spouses of E3 visa holders to work in the U.S., which is not possible with the H1B visa.

This is possibly why E3 visas have grown to become highly popular among Australian nationals. According to an estimate, 10,500 E3 visas are kept reserved specifically for Australians.

Who Is Eligible for an E3 Visa?

In order to qualify for an E3 visa, you must meet a certain set of requirements:

  • You must be an Australian citizen.
  • You must be in possession of a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S.
  • You must fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.
  • You must possess the required academic qualifications.
  • You must assure your stay in the United States will be temporary.

Documents Required for an E3 Visa

Quite predictably, you need to attach an array of documents to your E3 visa application. Here is what you will need:

  • Your current valid passport.
  • The formal offer of employment from your employer which must be addressed to you, signed on the company’s letterhead, and must include a job description specific to your job role.
  • A copy of LCA filed by your employer.
  • A printed VisaPoint confirmation.
  • A printed D-160 confirmation which must include your photo and barcode.
  • An envelope with your address.
  • A copy of your documents related to qualifications and degree.
  • Supporting documents which illustrate that you have ties with your country and you don’t intend to settle in the U.S. permanently. This could be anything like owning property in your name.

How to Apply for an E3 Visa?

  • Once you have the required documents in hand, you must head to the U.S. consulate in Australia or internationally. You can even choose to complete the process in the U.S., but in most cases, doing this in the U.S. makes the process take longer. In this case, you will need to apply with form I-129 and then take it from there.
  • if you are applying for an E3 visa for the first time, it is highly recommended to do it from Australia.
  • Next, visit the proper website and make the necessary payment, and make sure to save a copy of the receipt for future reference.
  • You will then be required to select a date and print your confirmation form. You will need to take this confirmation form to the interview.
  • You will be asked a few questions during the interview, and then your application will then be processed.

How Much Does an E3 Visa Cost?

Currently, E3 visa fees cost $270. This fee is non-refundable. You are not required to pay anything else apart from this. Further, your employer bears no cost as well as there not being a filing fee associated with an LCA. Furthermore, AWCIA and USCIS fees are eliminated.

However, there are a few costs that you need to be aware of. You need to pay $100 as a visa issuance fee. If your spouse is accompanying you, you will need to pay this amount twice. You will also need to pay $131 for a consular application fee, which again, you will need to pay twice if your spouse intends to accompany you. Also, if your spouse wants to work, you will have to pay an additional $340.

Overall, you will be paying somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 in fees to get your E3 visa application processed. Keeping in mind the hefty cost of $4,000 for the H1B visa with the premium processing, this is still a far better deal.

E3 Visa Processing Time

If you are renewing your E3 visa within the U.S. or transferring to an E3 visa from another visa status within the U.S., you will need to file form I-129 and assuming it gets approved, you will have the resultant form I-797 within the next 2-3 months.

If you are applying for an E3 visa at a U.S. consulate, the entire processing time varies depending on the consulate you apply at. It might be immediate or it might be as long as two months to get a date for an interview.

E3 Visa Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: Is the USCIS premium processing available for an E3 visa?

Answer: The option for premium processing for an E3 visa is not available currently.

Question 2: How long does the validity of an E3 visa last?

Answer: The E3 visa is valid according to the validity period of the LCA. Additionally, it has a maximum validity of 24 months, after which the validity must be renewed.

Question 3: How many times can an E3 visa be renewed?

Answer: You can renew the visa indefinitely. All you need to do is demonstrate the need to renew the visa while also showcasing that you don’t intend to settle in the U.S. permanently.

Question 4: Can I change my status while in the U.S. on an E3 visa?

Answer: Yes, depending on certain events and circumstances, you can change your visa status from E3 to any other nonimmigrant status in the U.S.

The Wrap Up

As you can see, the E3 visa is all that an Australian citizen needs to move to the U.S. for work reasons. However, you have to play your cards right and demonstrate your intentions of returning back to Australia clearly in order to get the visa easily and quickly.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )
Join over 100,000 visitors who are receiving our newsletter and learn more about finance, immigration, and more!
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

Get the Checklist