E-3 Visa Lawyer in NYC

E-3 Specialty Occupation Workers from Australia Overview

Australian nationals may be eligible to enter the United States with an E-3 visa.  The E-3 visa is specifically intended to provide nationals of Australia with admission to the United States to provide services as holders of a “specialty occupation.”  This particular type of visa is especially advantageous as compared to many other kinds of work visas, partly because spouses of E-3 visa holders can apply for work authorization.

Determining Whether or Not One Qualifies for an E-3 Visa

There are special things to take into consideration when determining whether a person is qualified to apply and be eligible for an E-3 visa.  Here are some things of which to take special note:

  • Only Australian nationals plus their spouses and children can have an E-3 visa classification.
  • The E-3 visa is not available for persons who are Permanent Residents of Australia.
  • A marriage certificate from the Department of Births, Deaths, and Marriages is needed to prove that someone is a spouse of an Australian national.
  • Status in a de facto relationship or civil partnership does not provide eligibility for immigration to the United States with an E-3 visa.

Definition of “Special Occupation”

E-3 applicants only have a chance of being granted an E-3 visa if they are intending to go to the United States with the sole purpose of working in a special occupation.  Persons with E-3 applicant status who are citizens of Australia are considered treaty aliens in specialty occupations that correspond with 214(i)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act’s occupational and academic requirements. The following points are useful in determining what qualifies as a special occupation:

  • Special occupations require one to have specialized knowledge that he or she applies in both a theoretical and practical way.
  • Special occupations require that one hold a degree at the level of bachelor’s or higher (or the equivalent).

There is no final list of which occupations are considered special occupations.  However, it might be helpful to consider whether the occupation in question could be deemed that of a graduate specialty.  Helpful websites on this subject include O*NET Online, the Occupational Information Network website.

E-3 Visas and the Application Process

Applicants for the E-3 visa may apply at any U.S. Consulate or U.S. Embassy that processes petition-based, non-immigrant visas.  E-3 status, however, may be obtained via the U.S. Department of State through the application process or, if one is already an alien in the United States, by filing Form I-129 for status change or extension in applying to the Vermont Service Center.

Several supporting documents are needed for inclusion with the E-3 application:

  • A United States-based employer’s job offer letter
  • Form DS-156, the Electronic Visa Application Form
  • Male applicants between the ages of 16 and 45 must fill out Form DS-157, Supplemental Application Form.
  • Form ETA 9035 or Form ETA 9035E (dated after January 4, 2006). Both forms must have a label or annotation showing that it is to be processed as part of the E-3 Australia application.  These forms provide notifications that one’s Labor Condition Application, or LCA, has been approved.  The U.S. employer obtains approval of Labor Condition Applications from the United States Department of Labor.  Interview appointments cannot be made until after applicants have received this form.  The employer must have issued a certified labor attestation on behalf of the E-3 worker in accordance with Department of Labor guidelines.
  • Evidence of qualifying credentials, such as relevant academic credentials, in compliance with 214(i)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • An employer-issued written job offer or other documentation demonstrating that the applicant, upon entry into the United States, will be engaged in a specialty occupation as meets all necessary criteria, and that the applicant will be the actual or prevailing rate in wages in accordance with 212(t)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • Usually no U.S. equivalence documentation is required for degrees and higher level qualifications and certifications from Australian institutions. However, applicants with such degrees and certifications should bring original certificates to their visa interview.  Also, if possible, such applicants should bring academic transcript from relevant institutions to their interview.
  • E-3 applicants who have studied at non-Australian institutions and are presenting such information as part of their application can provide evidence, along with a certified copy of the academic degree, of its U.S. degree equivalency. This can be used to meet the requirement for “qualifying credentials.”   However, applicants may prefer to wait to see if this is necessary when they attend their visa interview.  Applicants should bring originals of transcripts and certificates to their visa interview.  Certified copies of certificates and transcripts and evidence of their U.S. equivalent can be sent to the U.S. Consulate or consular section of the U.S. Embassy after the interview if these documents are also required.  Visas will not be approved until these documents, if necessary, are received.  In addition, the minimum standard of evidence in terms of these qualifications can be met by submission of a certified copy of a U.S. bachelor’s (baccalaureate) degree or higher.
  • If the applicant lacks academic credentials or other qualifying credentials, he or she can furnish evidence of all education and experience equivalent to the U.S. degree required.
  • Evidence of the temporary nature of the applicant’s stay in the United States.
  • Documentation of official permission to practice the occupation in the state where the applicant intends to
  • If a license or other officially designated permission is necessary in order to hold the occupation in the intended state of employment, applicants must provide a certified copy of this.
  • In cases where such a license or other such document is needed but not needed immediately before starting work, the applicant must provide evidence that he or she will obtain such documentation within a reasonable time upon entry into the country and commencement of specialized work.

Evidence of the application fee, which is called the Machine Readable Visa (MRE) fee.  This fee can be paid at Australia Post.  Applicants should furnish evidence of payment upon request during the interview and should therefore retain and bring their post office receipt to the interview.

C. Admission

E-3 workers, also known as Specialty Occupation Workers, may initially be admitted to the United States for a period not in excess of the period of validity stipulated in their E-3 labor attestation.  In other words, the initial period may not exceed two years.  Extended stays may be granted for an indefinite period in increments.  However, this period may not exceed the period of validity of the E-3 labor attestation.  This means that such extensions can be granted in increments of no more than two years each.  The number of extensions is not limited by law and there is no limit on an E-3 alien’s total length of stay.  Based on current restrictions, E-3 visa holders who are non-immigrants must have and maintain the intention to depart the country upon their E status’ expiration of termination.  However, there cannot be a denial of one’s initial application for admission of stay in the United States under the E-3 classification, or such an application of a change of status or extension of an E-3 stay under the sole basis of an approved permanent labor certification request or a filed or approved petition for immigration visa preference.

Information on Change of Status and Extension of Stay

Those interested in changing their status to E-3 who can be qualified as aliens to practice a specialty occupation in the United States are required to submit a certified copy of official permission to practice the occupation.  This documentation can include a license if applicable.  If it is unnecessary to provide such documentation to start immediate employment in an E-3 capacity, one is still required to submit proof of otherwise meeting the license or other documentation’s requirements or the requirements for taking the exam for licensure in the specialist field in the appropriate jurisdiction.  It is also required to show evidence that, upon passing the exam, one will obtain the necessary license within a reasonable time period after being granted the E-3 status.

Extension of Stay

Applicants in the United States with E-3 visas wishing to extend their stay in their capacity as someone working in a specialized field that requires official permission, such as a license, must submit an extension application along with a copy of documented proof of official permission, such as a copy of the relevant license, in order to work in the specialized occupation in the jurisdiction where they intend to be employed.

  • L-1A Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager
    The L-1A visa allows a U.S. employer to relocate an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States and allows a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send an executive or manager to the United States with the intention of establishing one. If an employee is coming to the United States to establish a new office they will be granted a visa that will allow them an initial stay of one year. All other employees will be granted a maximum initial stay of three years. No employee will be allowed an extension over seven years.  Family members of L-1A visa holders are eligible for visa and spouses of such an employee may be eligible for a work visa.

As an employer you are eligible for this visa if:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company; and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.

As an employee you are eligible for this visa if:

  • You have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding your admission to the United States; and
  • You are seeking to enter the United States to render services in an executive or managerial capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

Our firm will discuss your options and file the appropriate forms.

  • L-1B Intracompany Transferee Specialized Knowledge
    The L-1B visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States. It also allows a foreign company which does not yet have an affiliated U.S. office to send a specialized knowledge employee to the United States to help create one. If an employee is coming to the United States to establish a new office they will be granted a visa that will allow them an initial stay of one year.  All other employees will be granted a maximum initial stay of three years. No employee will be allowed an extension over five years. Family members of L-1B visa holders are eligible for visa and spouses of such an employee may be eligible for a work visa.

As an employer you are eligible for this visa if:

  • Have a qualifying relationship with a foreign company; and
  • Currently be, or will be, doing business as an employer in the United States and in at least one other country directly or through a qualifying organization for the duration of the beneficiary’s stay in the United States as an L-1.

As an employee you are eligible for this visa if:

  • You have been working for a qualifying organization abroad for one continuous year within the three years immediately preceding your admission to the United States; and
  • You are seeking to enter the United States to render services in an executive or managerial capacity to a branch of the same employer or one of its qualifying organizations.

Our firm will discuss your options and file the appropriate forms.

  • O-1 Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement
    The O-1 visa is for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics and has been recognized nationally or internationally for those achievements. An O-1  nonimmigrant is granted an initial stay of three years and may be granted an extension in increments of one year. Family members can join the O-1 nonimmigrant but will not be permitted to work in the United States. However family members will be able to study full or part time during their stay in the United States.

You are eligible for an O-1 visa if:

  • You demonstrate extraordinary ability by sustained national or international acclaim and come temporarily to the United States to continue work in the area of extraordinary ability.
  • You demonstrate extraordinary achievement evidenced by a degree of skill and recognition significantly above that ordinarily encountered to the extent the person is recognized as outstanding, notable or leading in the motion picture and/or television field.

Retaining an E-3 visa lawyer with experience and knowledge of the process is absolutely necessary when handling such important immigration visa matters.

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