This program is similar in requirements to the H-1B program in that it is for professionals with the equivalent of a Bachelor’s Degree being sponsored for a “specialty occupation” that normally requires a degree, however it is offered only to Australian nationals and can be applied for directly in a U.S. Consulate . E-3 classification is initially granted for a term of up to two years, as opposed to H-1B’s which are approved for 3 year increments up to six years and allow for “dual intent” (making it easier to hold the visa while simultaneously applying for permanent residence status). There are no restrictions on the number of extensions available to an E-3 holder.
Proof that a job qualifies as a specialty occupation can be shown in any of four ways:
- Establishing that a bachelor’s or higher degree (or equivalent) in a specialized field of study is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation on an industry wide basis.
- Establishing that a degree requirement is common in the industry in parallel positions with similar positions.
- Establishing that the petitioning employer has a history of always requiring a degree (or its equivalent) for this position.
- Establishing that the nature of the specific job duties is so complex that the job cannot be performed without a degree in a specialized field of study, or its equivalent.
The E-3 has an annual quota limit of 10,500, meaning that each fiscal year, 10,500 “new” E-3 visas can be granted to eligible applicants. This quota does not apply to individuals who previously have been issued E-3 classification and are seeking extension of stay or a change of employer.An E-3 employee may only work for their sponsoring employer. If an E-3 visa holder wishes to work for someone else, he or she must first have the new employer file a new E-3 petition on their behalf.
An E-3 employee may only work for their sponsoring employer. If an E-3 visa holder wishes to work for someone else, he or she must first have the new employer file a new E-3 petition on their behalf.
The spouse and the unmarried, minor children of an applicant may also be classified as non-immigrants in order to accompany or join the principal applicant. Unlike an H-4, the spouse of an E-3 holder can obtain work authorization in the United States.