The E3 “Aussie visa” is a nonimmigrant work visa available exclusively for Australian nationals and was established in 2005 as part of a larger trade agreement between the United States and Australia. Australia was first rewarded with the E3 in 2005 following its support for the US during the Iraq War and the signing of the US-Australia free trade agreement.
The E3 is similar to the H-1B, but has several advantages.
It’s similar to the H-1B in that it requires you to have a job offer in the United States and be in a specialty occupation, which means an occupation that requires at least a bachelor’s degree or higher. The advantages over the E3 include a more expedited application process, no cap, no restrictions on renewals. Furthermore, the spouse of an E-3 applicant can also obtain work authorization as well.
The main advantage over the H-1B is that there are no restrictions on renewals. With the H-1B, you are limited to a period of 6 years total with the potential for a one year extension. With the E3 visa, the visa is for a 2 year period, but the applicant can renew it indefinitely, meaning they could work at a company for a longer period of time. Furthermore, while the H-1B has a cap, or limit on the total number of visas granted, there is essentially an unlimited number of E3’s available every year, since only about half of the annual 10,500 quota are taken up every year since its inception.
As with all other visas, the E3 requires a Form I-129 to be filed, or alternatively, applicants can bypass the USCIS petitioning process and apply directly at a U.S. consulate outside the United States. Similar to the H-1B, it is necessary to file a Labor Condition Application to prove that your hire is not adversely affecting the wages and employment of US workers.
If you are an Australian national looking to work in the United States and want to learn more about the E3 visa, contact our Immigration Practice Group at 718-539-1100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.