The E-3 visa is available only to citizens of Australia. In many ways, it is like the H-1B visa, which is available to a wider number of people from different nations. The E-3 visa grew out of the Australia-United States Fair Trade Agreement. The E-3 visa came into existence when legislation authorizing its creation was signed into law by the U.S. President in 2005.
The Essential Elements of the E-3 Visa
The E-3 visa is similar to the H-1B visa in that both are utilized to permit foreign nationals to work in the United States is specialized occupations. For example, if an Australian national possesses a unique professional status that is directly beneficial to a U.S. company, that enterprise can serve as the visa sponsor for that Australian.
Because of the requirement that an E-3 visa applicant be involved in a specialty occupation of sort, this type of visa does not apply to every Australian that may desire to enter the United State to work. Part of the visa approval process involves confirming that the specialty employment requirement of the visa is in fact satisfied by the applicant and the sponsoring employer.
The process of confirming that the Australian national qualifies for this type of visa commences with the prospective employer filing what is known as a Labor Condition Application with the U.S. Department of Labor. A note actually is made at the top of the application that an Australian national is involved.
Once the Labor Condition Application is approved by the Department of Labor, the Australian national can then proceed with the visa application process itself. That individual can apply for an E-3 visa at any U.S. embassy or any U.S. consulate in Australia.
If an applicant is already in the United States on another type of visa, he or she can apply for a change of status and obtain an E-3 visa. However, if an Australian is in the United States pursuant to the visa waiver program, this type of change of status is not possible.
Statistical Information Regarding E-3 Visas
Since its inception in 2005, the E-3 visa has been widely utilized. Upwards to 3,000 E-3 visas are issued annually to Australian professionals since this type of vise became available. Thus far, the number of visas issued has not come close to the maximum permitted on an annual basis. U.S. law permits the issuance of no more than 10,500 E-3 visas annually.
In addition to the issuance of these initial E-3 visas, returning visas are also issued. Over the course of the past few years, the average number of returning visas issued annually generally is somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,500 people annually. These represent individuals who obtained an E-3 visa and then left the United States. The initial E-3 visa expired in the process.
Entry and Reentry Under an E-3 visa
The E-3 visa is classified as a multiple entry visa. What this means is that a person can depart the United States while holding such a visa, and return with the visa remaining valid. During the last year a full set of data is available, about 10,000 unique admissions into the United States occurred using E-3 visas.
Short trips to what is defined as the “near abroad” are not included in the admission calculation. In other words, if a person holding an E-3 visa travels to Canada or Mexico for a short stay, the return to the United States is not counted as an admission pursuant to the law governing the E-3 visa.
Reciprocity in Australia
The Australian government maintains the subclass 457 long stay business visa, which offers reciprocity to U.S. professionals along the lines of the E-3 visa. The primary distinction, is the relevant Australian visa is available to any foreign national and not exclusively to a U.S. citizen (in the same manner an E-3 visa is exclusively for an Australian).
Duration of the E-3 Visa
An E-3 visa is renewable for an indefinite period of time. The visa itself must be renewed every two years.
Spouses, Families and the E-3 Visa
Spouses and children of a professional specialist who qualifies for an E-3 visa can also obtain this type of visa. Spouses and children are not included in the annual E-3 quota.
The reality is that complications can arise when seeking any type of visa, including an E-3 visa. The law firm of Joseph Potashnik & Associates has the depth of experience necessary to assist a person seeking an E-3 visa.
The experienced legal team understands how to navigate the immigration system and the intricate requirements associated with the E-3 visa for a professional who desires to work in the United States. Since the inception of the E-3 visa for Australian citizens, we’ve worked closely with numerous professionals who are now working in the United States, including professionals whose families have also taken up residency in the United States through this specialized visa program.