The E-3 visa is similar to the H-1B Professional visa but is just for Australian nationals. Applicants must possess a bachelor’s degree, or the equivalent, in a field relevant to that in which they are seeking employment. The position must require that the person performing the job have a bachelor’s degree. As with the H-1B, relevant work experience, or a combination of diplomas and work experience, may substitute for a bachelor’s degree, where that determination is made by an acceptable authority. There are 10,500 available E-3 visas a year and they are valid for up to 2 years. They can be renewed on an ongoing basis. If the visa holder wants to change jobs, or becomes unemployed and then finds another position, he or she may apply for a new E-3 visa at a U.S. Consulate overseas. The spouse of an E-3 visa holder may apply for an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) upon entering the US.
Recently, the US Consulates in Australia have been scrutinizing applications more carefully in several respects, namely, who the E-3 employer is, the applicant’s credentials and the position offered. In particular, those who lack a full understanding of the E-3 requirements and process may face repeated denials. Whilst it has been common practice for E-3 applicants to establish their own US corporations and then have the US corporation sponsor them for the E-3 visa, it appears that the Consulates are no longer approving these types of cases easily. Similarly, whilst applicants with little or no formal education would in the past be granted E-3 visas, the Consulate are now requesting more comprehensive documentation in lieu of the degree, especially for start-up operations. Finally, applicants may get rejected on the grounds that the position they are being sponsored for is not deemed to be a professional position requiring a bachelor’s degree. In many cases, it is a combination of factors. Sponsorship by an established, bona fide U.S. company seems to be a prominent factor in the approval of an E-3 visa.
Our most recent E-3 case (approved two weeks ago) was for the position of Public Relations Coordinator with a leading international fashion house. The applicant, who holds a Bachelor of Design with a Major in Fashion Marketing, went to the US Consulate in London for her visa stamp. Many of our clients ask for detailed reports of the actual interview and visa stamping process.
– appointment on Thursday December 29, 2016 at 8.30am
– arrived around 7.45am to the consulate to a queue
– once in line, official asked for my passport, DS-160 confirmation page and appointment confirmation page, was then ticked off list and confirmed
– went through easy security check
– followed path and arrived at the reception of US consulate, who gave me a number
– sat in waiting room until around 9.30am when my number was called to a specific booth
– here the official asked me for my passport, DS-160, my LCA (happy with a copy) and my official letter of employment (I gave my contract which she was fine with but had re-asked if I had a letter instead). also gave fingerprints.
– once confirmed there, I was handed back all documents and told to walk around the corner to a formal interview with an American
– official asked me various questions: is this your first LCA? did you previously work for [employer]? was this a promotion? Also asked about a visa I had when I did my exchange in year 10.
– never asked for my transcript – I even asked if she would like it and she said didn’t need but good to have on hand.
– gave fingerprints for my right hand only and then approved! YAY!
– left around 10.30am. official also said I would receive my passport back a week from appointment. Note: there was a public holiday on the Monday.
– everyone is also very helpful so if you have any questions just ask one of the officials! I was extremely nervous but ended up being one of the easiest processes!
– also good to note there is a 24hr printing place a 5 min walk away should you need to print anything last minute
– you can check your appointment page every day to see the status but once ready they send an email directly to you with updated tracking details.
– when you make your appointment you can select whether you would like to pick up from a DX collection point or if you would like courier. I selected collection as didn’t want to sit around waiting.
– received an email on Tuesday saying my passport was being delivered to the collection point and would be ready Wednesday. Turned out it was ready on Thursday.
Below is a testimonial from our Australian client, Jasmine Bates, who was recently granted an E-3 visa as a Desktop Support Engineer (October 2015). Jasmine did not have a full bachelor’s degree. Instead, we used a combination of academic diplomas and work experience to gain the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree.
“I was in New York on a J-1 visa, working for an IT company that would sponsor me on the E-3 visa after my J-1 expired. I had read up on the requirements for the E-3 and felt uncertain about my chances as I had some years of work experience and an Advanced Diploma – but did not have a University Degree. A good friend highly recommended Jane as she was working towards her O-1 with her.
From the very beginning, Jane put my nerves at rest by explaining what needed to be done and provided realistic outcomes of my case. She is so knowledgeable in this area; it was very reassuring to have her guidance on all aspects of the visa process. Her legal assistant, Kimiko, is a valuable asset also, she is very friendly and helpful. Jane could not have been more helpful when it came to answering my questions, and her timely responses were always appreciated.
I was so relieved and excited when I got my E-3. There is no way I would have been able to do this without Jane and I am so thankful for the opportunities that have now arisen because of her. Without Jane, I would not have been able to continue following my dreams; living and working in New York City.”