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E-3 Visa

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E-3 VISA

The E-3 visa program permits 10,500 nationals of Australia to enter the United States on E-3 status each year. The E-3 status is based on a Free Trade Agreement. 

The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia. The E-3 visa seeker must be coming to the United States on a temporary basis to perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation requires attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field or its equivalent and the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge. 

Immigrant Intent

E-3 is a strictly non-immigrant status. An E-3 worker must not have the intention to remain in the United States permanently. However, E-3 workers do not need to maintain a residence outside of the United States.

E-3 Maintenance of Status

Each E-3 worker is eligible for a two-year period of stay in the United States.  Thereafter, E-3 workers may then be eligible for two-year extensions. There is no maximum number of extensions. 

E-3 workers may only work during the period specified on the LCA and Form I-94. Employment authorization will terminate on the earliest of:

  • The end date noted in the most recent I-94,
  • The end date of the LCA, or
  • The actual date the employment ends.

It is important for E-3 workers to regularly review their documents to ensure immigration compliance. 

E-3 Extension Petition

E-3 workers may file for an extension of stay in the United States. In that case, the petition must be received by USCIS prior to the expiration date on Form I-94. 

If an E-3 extension petition has been filed with USCIS prior to the I-94 expiration date, the E-3 worker may be eligible for continuous work authorization for up to 240 days while the petition is pending. 

E-3 Transfer Petition

To change employers in the United States, an I-129 E-3 transfer petition must be filed on behalf of the E-3 worker.  After the E-3 I-797 approval notice has been received by USCIS, the E-3 worker may commence work with the new employer.

To change employers outside of the United States, the E-3 worker must leave the country and apply for a new E-3 visa abroad. Again, a new E-3 petition must be submitted to the consulate for review. Most commonly, E-3 workers choose to transfer to a new employer by applying for a fresh E-3 stamp abroad as it prevents duplication. 

Concurrent E-3 Petition

An E-3 worker may seek to work for more than one E-3 employer. Working for more than one E-3 employer at the same time is called concurrent employment. Concurrent employment is authorized under the regulations.

Working for more than one E-3 employer will require the E-3 worker to maintain more than one work authorization. Each E-3 employment will have a separate approval with set validity dates. To ensure compliance with immigration regulations, it is important for the E-3 worker to maintain accurate and up-to-date information regarding each employment authorization.

E-3 Amendment

E-3 workers must file amended petitions if substantive, material changes are to be made to the previously approved E-3 employment. A substantial change may include alterations to the job duties, job title, hours, worksite, etc. An amended petition must be filed before material changes are made to the E-3 employment. 

E-3 Visa Grace Period

The immigration regulations allow for a discretionary grace period of up to 60 consecutive days following the end of E-3 employment (whether by termination or resignation) or until the end of that authorized validity period as shown in Form I-94, whichever is shorter. By the 60th day, the E-3 worker must have a new E-3 petition filed on his/her behalf, file for a change of status in the United States, or depart the country. The grace period may only be used one time per authorized stay.  

E-3 Dependents

An E-3 worker’s legal spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek and obtain E-3 dependent classification. Spouses of E-3 workers may be classified in E-3D or E-3S status. 

E-3 dependents must also maintain valid status in the United States.  E-3 dependent extensions are generally filed at the same time as the spouse’s E-3 extension petition.  The E-3 dependents must regularly review their I-94 Forms to ensure they maintain legal status. 

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