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The E-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa available exclusively to citizens of Australia. E-3 visas are available to citizens of Australia who have been offered employment in the United States in a “specialty occupation” position.
E-3 Visa: A Relative of the H-1B Visa
The E-3 visa is a close relative of the H-1B visa, having many of the same requirements:
- LCA Required – Both require a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor. Both E-3 and H-1B LCAs require employers to make promises regarding the employee’s working conditions in the United States.
- Specialty Occupation – Both require the worker to be employed in a “specialty occupation.” Just like in the case of an H-1B visa, an E-3 “specialty occupation” is a position that normally requires a Bachelor’s degree or above.
- Educational Credentials – Both visas, in light of the specialty occupation requirement, require that the applicant have a Bachelor’s degree.
Due to these close similarities (and the greater popularity of H-1B visas), it can be difficult to have a conversation about E-3 visas without talking about H-1B visas.
E-3 Visa: Key Differences from H-1B Visas
Though E-3 visas are closely related to H-1B visas, there are some key differences between these visa categories:
- Petition Not Required for Visa Stamping – An E-3 visa applicant does not require a prior petition approval from USCIS. Rather, an E-3 applicant can apply for a visa stamp at a United States consulate abroad by submitting an E-3 LCA and other needed supporting documents. E-3 filings with USCIS are only required to extend one’s stay in the United States without leaving the country.
The process is quite different for an H-1B visa applicant. An H-1B visa applicant must first obtain an approved H-1B Petition from USCIS in the United States. Only they can they apply for an H-1B visa stamp at a consulate.
- Shorter Requested Duration – E-3 status can be requested for only two years at a time. H-1B status can be requested in three-year periods.
- No Limit on Extensions – While H-1B status is generally limited to six years, there is no limit to how many times one may extend E-3 status.
- Greater Availability – While there is a cap of 10,500 E-3 visas each year, this cap has never been reached. Meanwhile, though there are many times more H-1B visas available each year, the popularity of the H-1B visa means that new H-1B visas are issued in a lottery, with some qualified applicants being rejected.
These key differences make the E-3 visa an attractive option for the Australian Citizens that have access to it.
Why Consult an Attorney for an E-3 Visa?
The E-3 visa attorneys of Sam Shihab & Associates are experienced professionals in all aspects of U.S. immigration law. We have experience in assisting Australians and their employers navigate the E-3 process, including filing Labor Condition Applications and preparing for consular interviews.
Partnering with a team like Sam Shihab & Associates is the perfect answer for international businesses that may not have in house legal counsel experienced in U.S. visa application requirements. When businesses have in-house legal counsel, our team can work in conjunction with in-house counsel on all matters relating to U.S. immigration law.
Call or email our team today to learn more about the E-3 visa.