The Australian Special Occupation Visa also referred to as an E3 visa was
established in US law on May 11, 2005 and provides an additional opportunity
for employment in the United States for Australian citizens.
The E3 category permits up to 10,500 Australians each fiscal year to enter
the United States "solely to perform services in a specialty occupation
in the United States. If the alien is a national of the Commonwealth of
Australia" and files a labor attestation (labor condition application
'LCA'). The E3 is similar to the H1B specialty occupation visa
but has separate benefits and requirements. For instance, unlike the H1B,
the spouse of an E3 status holder may work in the United States. Also,
the 'filing fees' for the E3 are significantly less than those
of the H1B as the special fees required for the H1B are not required for the E3.
In order for a national of Australia to qualify for the E3 visa, the applicant
must demonstrate that they satisfy the 'specialty occupation'
requirements. These are the same requirements needed for the H1B. If a
license or permission to practice in the specialty occupation is required,
evidence must be submitted that the applicant will meet the requirements
if it is not required to immediately practice in the occupation. Included
in the H1B, but excluded from the E3 are fashion models of distinguished
merit and ability.
The LCA must be submitted with the application. The LCA is the same for
the E3 as it is for the H1B. Also to be presented with the application
our academic or other credentials demonstrating qualification for the
position, a job offer, or other documentation from the employer establishing
the prospective employee will be engaged in a specialty occupation and
will be the prevailing wage or higher. The applicant must demonstrate
that they intend to depart the United States at the conclusion of the
E3 status. Application is made for the E3 at the US consulate outside
the United States or if in United States to the US CIS at the Vermont
The E3 may be admitted initially for a period not to exceed the validity
of the LCA and the normal term that is granted is for a period of 2 years.
Extensions may be granted indefinitely as opposed to the maximum of 6
years for the H1B. Extension increments may not exceed the term of the LCA.
The cap of 10,500 visas per year, does not apply to E3 extensions as long
as the applicant is with the same employer that had been named in the
original application or petition. Dependent family members are not counted
under the Cap.
Family members of the principal alien received the same visa classification
of E3. They do not need to be Australian nationals and are not subject
to the 10,500 visa limitation. After arrival in United States or after
the principal has been granted a change to E3 the spouse may make application
for employment authorization with the CIS in the Vermont Service Center.
The employment application normally takes about 90 days for the spouse.
In the event the spouse is battered by the principal, the spouse is independently
eligible for work authorization.