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.
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.
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.
Spouses of E-3 workers in valid E-3 or E-3S status are considered employment authorized incident to status.
DHS-issued evidence of such employment authorization, particularly that may be presented to employers for completion of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, include:
- An unexpired Form I-94 with a notation reflecting E-3S nonimmigrant status. As of Jan. 30, 2022, USCIS and CBP began issuing Form I-94 with a new admission code for spouses of E-3 workers: E-3S. An unexpired Form I-94 reflecting this new code is acceptable as evidence of employment authorization under List C of Form I-9.
- An unexpired Form I-94 with a notation reflecting E-3, E-3D, or E-3R nonimmigrant status, presented together with a notice from USCIS regarding the new admission code. USCIS will send E spouses with a Form I-94 issued by USCIS before Jan. 30, 2022, that was notated with E-3, E-3D, or E-3R nonimmigrant status, a notice regarding the new admission code that, together with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-3, E-3D, or E-3R nonimmigrant status, serves as evidence of employment authorization for such spouses under List C of Form I-9. For more information, see this web alert.
- An unexpired Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Spouses of E-3 workers are not required to request employment authorization by filing Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, but may still file Form I-765, with fee, in order to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (Form I-766 EAD). A Form I-766 EAD can be presented to employers as evidence of both identity and employment authorization acceptable under List A of Form I-9.
- An expired EAD with additional documentation to show the EAD is automatically extended (as discussed below).
Certain E spouses qualify for the automatic extension of their existing Form I-766 EADs if they meet the following conditions:
- They timely filed a renewal Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, based on the same E nonimmigrant status; and
- They have an unexpired Form I-94 showing their status as an E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or E-3S nonimmigrant.
Normally, DHS regulations provide for an automatic extension period of up to 180 days from the expiration date stated on the EAD. However, DHS has published a temporary final rule increasing the automatic extension period. Effective May 4, 2022, DHS is temporarily increasing the automatic extension period and providing up to 360 days of additional automatic extension time, for a total of up to 540 days, to eligible renewal applicants. The automatic EAD extension will therefore continue until whichever comes first:
- The end date on the dependent spouse’s Form I-94 showing valid L-2 or L-2S nonimmigrant status, as applicable;
- The date we approve or deny their application to renew the previous EAD; or
- 540 days from the “Card Expires” date on the front of the previous EAD.
Additional information on the temporary increase of the automatic extension period is available on the Automatic Employment Authorization Document (EAD) Extension page.
Eligible E nonimmigrant spouses may present the following evidence of the automatic EAD extension to employers for Form I-9 purposes:
- Form I-94 indicating the unexpired E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or E-3S 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.