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E-3 Visa Lawyer:
Treaty traders and investors:
Australian Free Trade Agreement

The E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows for the admission of a temporary worker who is national of Australia and is entering the U.S. to perform services in a “specialty occupation.”

To qualify for the E-3 visa, an alien must be an Australian national, who is seeking employment in a specialty occupation requiring possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent), and possess the appropriate degree (or its equivalent) in the field in which the alien wishes to work.

Although INA § 101(a)(15)(E) requires that all E non-immigrants maintain an intention to depart the United States upon expiration of their authorized E stay. The guidelines issued by the USCIS state that applications for E classification, including extensions or change of status, cannot be denied solely on the basis of an approved permanent labor certification or pending or approved immigrant visa petition. Therefore, immigrant intent should not be a bar to eligibility for E-3 classification.

Non-immigrant aliens who are already legally in the United States may apply to change their status to that of an E-3 specialty worker and, eventually, apply to extend their stay in E-3 visa classification. Although, change of visa status is not possible if the applicant has entered the country under the visa waiver program. E-3 non-immigrant status is initially granted for a period of no more than two years. Extensions of stay may be granted indefinitely in increments not to exceed two years. The dependent spouse of an E-3 visa may apply for and receive work authorization.

Congress has established a yearly cap of 10,500 new E-3 visa workers. This 10,500 cap applies to “new E-3 workers” are those who, coming from abroad, are admitted initially in E-3 visa classification or those who change their nonimmigrant status to E-3 visa classification or change employers while in E-3 status.

The prospective employer of the E-3 visa holder will first apply for a "Labor Condition Application" (LCA) with the U.S. Department of Labor, with a note at the top of the form indicating it is for an E-3 visa for an Australian citizen. After the LCA is approved, the Australian citizen will then apply for the actual visa at a U.S. consulate and then enter the U.S.

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