What is E-3 Work Visa Status
E-3 work visa status is a treaty-based nonimmigrant work authorized status reserved exclusively for nationals of Australia who seek professional employment in the United States. Similar to H-1B “specialty occupation” visa status, E-3 requires certification of a precursor Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) by the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”), after which the petitioning employer can apply via the U.S. Immigration Service (“USCIS”); or E-3 candidates can apply directly at a U.S. consular post abroad for those currently outside the United States.
E-3 status is granted in two-year increments and can be extended indefinitely as long as a legitimate job offer in the United States remains valid, and the E-3 beneficiary possesses the necessary academic credentials—a U.S. Bachelor’s Degree or above, or the equivalent—and is a national of Australia.
E-3 status is employer and worksite-specific, and requires the petitioning employer to affirmatively certify (via the LCA) payment of the “prevailing wage” to the E-3 visa holder for the appropriate occupation and level, at the worksite(s) listed, and for a maximum duration of 24 months (per E-3 status grant). These attestations are made by the agent of the petitioner (usually an HR representative) who must also physically post the LCA “notice of filing” at each worksite(s) to notify their workforce of the professional position being offered to the E-3 worker.
Unlike highly competitive H-1B status which is not limited to foreign nationals of any one country and therefore results in an H-1B “lottery” most fiscal years, E-3 status is exclusively restricted to Australian nationals which has meant the annual quota of 10,500 new E-3 visa numbers far exceeds visa demand. This quota has not been reached since implementation of the E-3 program in 2005, as the annual number of E-3 visas issued generally averages 2,000-3,000 per year. Derivative E-3D family visas are not counted toward the E-3 visa cap.
While similar to H-1B specialty occupation status in terms of qualifying professional criteria, E-3 status does not permit “dual intent” for purposes of pursuing U.S. permanent residence. E-3 visa holders are deemed “single intent” status holders who cannot possess immigrant intent at the time of their E-3 application. E-3 work authorization is therefore truly “nonimmigrant”…of short-term duration and temporary, even though there is no limit on the number of extensions that can be granted to an E-3 work visa beneficiary.
E-3 status holders are permitted to bring their accompanying spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 to the U.S. in E-3D status. E-3D spouses are permitted to work upon approval of a properly filed EAD application, but derivative children are not permitted to work while in the United States. E-3D derivative family need not be nationals of Australia to qualify.
For additional information on the requirements of E-3 or E-3D status, please reach out to Philip Levin & Associates for a consultation where your particular situation can be discussed with one of our immigration attorneys.
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