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How to get an E3 visa

Posted by Immigration Bureau | Tips |
November 09, 2015

Australians! The USA awaits you on an E3 visa. Find out what you need to know about applying.

How to get an E3 visa

With a recent decline in the Australian dollar, and the US economy trending back upwards, Australians are looking abroad to opportunities in the USA to earn a stronger foreign currency. Lucky for Australians, there’s a visa category available exclusively to them to come and live and work in the USA: the E3 Visa.

The E3 visa is available exclusively to Australians and enables them to live and work in the USA for a US company for a period of 2 years at a time. It is similar to the H1-b visa in the requirements and in what it permits you to do, however, as it is only available to Australians, there’s less competition over quota allocation. In fact, the E3 visa is available to up to 10,000 Australians every year – a quota which has never been close to being exhausted in any given year.

E3 requirements

  • The E3 visa for Australians is classified as a ‘specialty occupation’ visa. This means that you must be employed to work in a job by a US company in a field that  requires  at least a bachelors degree and that  you have a bachelor’s degree qualification (or higher). If you do not have any college or university credit in some instances you can still be eligible to apply for the E3 by proving you have at least 12 years specialist experience in a field of expertise; less than 12 years work experience if you have some college or university credit -- depending on the details.
  • You must be a national (citizen) of Australia. It is not enough to just be a permanent resident of Australia.
  • The job you are being employed for pays the minimum specified hourly wage for that area of specialization as per US Dept. of Labor regulations.
  • Part time work may also be acceptable depending on the details.
  • You can find out more about qualifying for the E3 visa at this website: http://www.ustraveldocs.com/au/au-niv-typee3.asp
  • A proper employer-employee relationship is established between you and your employer (see below in the section “setting up your own company and  being  sponsored for an E-3 visa and then employed by the company  you have set up or helped to set up”   for more information).

Spouses on the E3 visa

If you obtain an E3 visa, your E-3 “status” allows your spouse and children to obtain E-3D status. However, the USA does not recognize defacto relationships for the purposes of immigration, so you will need to be legally married with a marriage certificate. Further, your spouse and children do not need to be citizens of Australia to obtain E3Dvstatus.

Basic summary of steps to get an E3 visa

  1. Find a US employer who is advertising a position you are qualified for (qualified with at least a bachelor’s degree qualification, or higher)
  2. Ensure your employer is permitted by the US Department of Labor to hire foreign nationals for the job position
  3. Employer fulfills posting requirements and then files an LCA and complies with LCA public inspection file requirements.
  4. Obtain a letter of offer from the employer
  5. Make sure you have the requisite education  equivalence and or work experience combined with education  in the requisite major that meets the job offer requirements for  the correct professional specialty occupation
  6. Complete a DS-160 application
  7. Book a visa appointment at a US Consulate. In some cases even US Consulates outside Australia can handle this smoothly.
  8. Attend your interview. If all goes well, the consulate will keep your passport and send it back to you by post or prepaid courier with your new visa!

US Companies looking to hire Australians

If you’re a US company looking to hire an Aussie on an E3 visa, you’re going to need a couple of things:

  • You need to complete an ETA Form 9035E for Labor Condition Application (LCA). This form is required as the US Department of Labor needs to give you permission to employ a foreign national for the job. You need to meet certain posting requirements and maintain a public inspection file.
  • You need to ensure you are paying equal to or above the prevailing wage for the specified position
  • You need an FEIN

We work with companies on an ongoing basis to prepare documentation to employ staff on E3 visas. Contact us to enquire about how we can help your business in the same way.

Setting up your own company and employing yourself

There are numerous misleading blogs and articles on the internet about this issue. In fact, we caution against the use of blogs and free advice as your sole source of information about visas. In some circumstances you may not need a visa lawyer, but you should be aware of the implications of a denied visa application before you try and go it alone. One of our clients, who came to us after a visa rejection, discovered that he could no longer travel to the US on the ESTA waiver program- perhaps even  for the rest of his life due to being declined for an E3 visa. Luckily for him, we were able to put together a strong case for him to re-apply and he received an E3 visa only a few months later. Not everyone is so lucky.

There is no loop-hole in the immigration system that you can exploit by simply starting a company in the USA and employing yourself. One of the foundational requirements of the E3 visa is that a legitimate employer-employee relationship is established in the position you are hired for. The rule of thumb there is that you need to be able to truthfully answer the question “does someone have the power within the company to fire me?” This requirement is not likely to be met if you are both the employer and the sole employee.  Remember Donald Trump: “you’re fired”.

There are no restrictions on you owning shares in the company employing you, however there needs to be others involved in the company in legitimate positions of power who can hold the hiring and firing power over your position. If you’re the entrepreneurial type looking to move to the USA to start a company and employ yourself on an E3 visa, you’re going to need others involved. We can help you navigate this requirement and ensure that you’re set up correctly.

How we can help you obtain an E3 visa

Immigration Bureau has a superb track record in successfully obtaining E3 visas for our clients –and we’ve had some very tricky yet successful cases  for Australians with no college or university experience plus prior immigration problems with the USA and prior E3 visa refusals! You can get started today by requesting an initial conversation (for a small fee of $250). We will assess your situation, your case and advise the best method to proceed. If you choose to proceed with us, you could be enjoying a new life in the USA very soon!

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Information contained on this website is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Case specific advice and guidance should be sought and obtained from competent legal counsel.

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