E3 visa for Australian passport holders.
Unlike other foreign nationals, Australians are not affected by the Citizenship & Immigration Services (CIS) June 1, 2006 announcement regarding the unavailability of work visas for specialty occupations for fiscal year 2007. On that date, CIS announced that it could not accept H-1B visa petitions from employers filed on or after May 26, 2006 because it had enough H-1B petitions to use all 65,000 H-1B visas for the next fiscal year. There are, however, H-1B visas still available to foreign nationals who have an advance degree from a U.S. institution of higher education. Also, U.S. government, non-profit research organizations, and U.S. institutions of higher education and their non-profit affiliates are exempt from this quota of H-1B visas.
Australian citizens and their U.S. employers can breathe a sigh of relief because there are enough E-3 visas--the work visa that is exclusively available to Australian citizens—for those who will be working for a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation.
In order to obtain an E-3 visa, an applicant must submit the following documentation to the U.S. consulate with jurisdiction over his/her place of residence:
- Australian passport.
- A labor condition application (LCA) with proper Department of Labor (DOL) approval.
- A letter from a U.S. employer that describes the position offered.
- Education and professional credentials.
- Proof that the applicant will depart the U.S. upon termination of E-3 employment.
E-3 visa classification is available to Australian citizens, their spouses, and children, based upon an offer of employment from a U.S. employer. Family members who wish to “follow to join” an E-3 worker must submit proof of their relationship (e.g., marriage license or birth certificate) to the principal applicant as well as their passports.
An E-3 visa is valid up to 2 years and may be renewed indefinitely. E-3 visa holders are admitted to the United States up to 2 years and they are eligible to apply for extensions of status through CIS. Significantly, spouses of E-3 workers are eligible to apply for a work permit through CIS.