E-3 Temporary Worker Visa

The E-3 visa is intended for Australian nonimmigrants with the requisite qualifications who seek to perform services in a specialty occupation in the United States.

Basic Requirements:
  • A “specialty occupation” is one that requires:
    • Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and
    • Attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
  • The nonimmigrant must hold a U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university; hold a foreign degree determined to be equivalent U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree; hold a license or certification which authorizes practice of and engagement in that specialty in the state of intended employment; or have education, training, and/or experience equivalent to completion of a U.S. baccalaureate or higher degree in the specialty occupation, and recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions.
  • For purposes of determining equivalency to a baccalaureate degree in the specialty, three (3) years of specialized training and/or work experience must be demonstrated for each year of college-level training the nonimmigrant lacks. For equivalence to an advanced (or master’s) degree, the nonimmigrant must have a baccalaureate degree followed by at least five (5) years of experience in the specialty.
  • An employer must complete and file a Labor Condition Application (“LCA”) with the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) prior to the E-3 visa application. The employer attests on the LCA that it will pay the nonimmigrant a wage equal to the higher of either
    • (i) the “prevailing” wage for the specialty occupation in the local labor market or
    • (ii) the “actual” wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar responsibilities and qualifications in the occupation. (The employer must retain documentation supporting determination of both the prevailing wage and the actual wage.)
  • The employer also attests that the E-3’s employment will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed, that there is no strike, lockout or other work stoppage in the occupation in which the E-3 worker will be employed and that notice of the filing of the application has been provided to the company’s employees and the foreign national.
  • Additional requirements relating to recruitment and displacement of U.S. workers are required from employers whose workforce is composed of a significant percentage of foreign nationals (“dependent employers”). The DOL may investigate to determine whether all LCA requirements have been met and penalties for a willful failure to comply can be severe.
Period of Stay:
  • Initial period of stay can be up to two years with extensions in two-year increments.
Dependent Family Members:
  • Dependents including legal spouses and children under 21 years of age are eligible for E-3 status. E-3 spouses are permitted work authorization.
  • Requires submission and approval of the LCA by the Department of Labor. Following approval of the LCA, the nonimmigrant must apply for and obtain an E-3 visa at a U.S. consulate abroad before being admitted to the U.S.
Processing Times:
  • LCA processing averages about ten (10) days. Visa appointment availability is subject to change but appointments are generally available within 1-2 weeks, with visas being issued within 7-10 days following, assuming no government administrative processing delays.
Maintaining E-3 Visa Status:
  • The visa is employer-specific, meaning that an employee cannot change employers without government authorization.
  • The visa is job- and location-specific, meaning that an employee cannot change positions or locations without government authorization if a material change in job duties or worksite will occur.