E-3 Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia

The E-3 classification applies only to nationals of Australia. You must be coming to the United States solely to perform services in a specialty occupation. The specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly 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.

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate, among other things, that you:

  • Are a national of Australia
  • Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
  • Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
  • Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation

Applying for an E-3 Visa from Within the United States

The Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, is used to apply for a change of status to or an extension of stay in the E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification.

Supporting Documents

Your Form I-129 should include the following documents:

  • A Labor Condition Application (LCA) that indicates that it has been filed to support an E-3 classification
  • Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
  • Job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that you will be engaged in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
  • If required, before you may commence employment in the specialty occupation, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation

Period of Stay/Extension of Stay

Initial Period of Stay Extension of Stay
2 years Up to 2 years per extension; no maximum number of extensions, with some exceptions.

Change of Employer

To change employers while remaining in the United States your new employer must obtain a certified Labor Condition Application for the position in which you will be employed and properly file a Form I-129 petition. The Form I-129 petition must be approved before you are authorized to work for the new employer. USCIS may consider you to be maintaining E-3 status, following cessation of employment, for up to 60 days during the period of petition validity (or other authorized validity period).

Note: Form I-129 is also used to apply for an extension of stay or change of employment with the same employer.

Family of E-3 Nonimmigrant Workers

An E-3 nonimmigrant worker’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to dependent E-3 classification. Children of E-3 workers may not be employed in the United States. Your spouse is considered employment authorized incident to status. Such spouses are not required to but may choose to request an employment authorization document by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with fee, in order to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766 EAD). The Form I-766 EAD can be presented to employers as evidence of both identity and employment authorization acceptable under List A of the Employment Eligibility Verification form (Form I-9).

DHS is taking steps to modify Forms I-94 that show nonimmigrant status issued to E dependents so that E dependent spouses can be distinguished from E dependent children on the face of the document. Once these changes are made, the revised Form I-94 containing a notation indicating that the bearer is an E dependent spouse will be acceptable as evidence of employment authorization under List C of Form I-9.

For more information on the application procedures for obtaining an EAD, see the Employment Authorization Document page.

Certain E-3 dependent spouses qualify for the automatic extension of their existing Form I-766 EADs if they meet certain conditions:

  • They timely filed a renewal Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, based on the same E-3 nonimmigrant status;
  • They have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an E-3 nonimmigrant.

The automatic EAD extension will continue until whichever comes first:

  • The end date on the dependent spouse’s Form I-94 showing valid E-3 nonimmigrant status, as applicable;
  • The date we approve or deny their application to renew the EAD; or
  • 180 days from the “Card Expires” date on the front of the EAD.

Eligible E-3 dependent spouses may present the following evidence of the automatic EAD extension to employers for purposes of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification:

  • Form I-94 indicating the unexpired E-3 nonimmigrant status;
  • Form I-797C for a timely-filed EAD renewal application (Form I-765) stating “Class requested” as “(a)(17)”; and

The expired EAD issued under the same category, Category A17.

More Information


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