E-3 Visa – “Australian Visa”
The E-3 visa is exclusively reserved for Australian nationals. The visa allows Australian
Professionals to come to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation, similar in
many aspects to the H-1B nonimmigrant worker visa.
The new E-3 visa classification is limited to 10,500 Australian nationals annually.
E-3 principal nonimmigrant aliens must be coming to the United States solely to
perform services in a “specialty occupation”. This term is used and defined in the
Immigration and Nationality Act in the same context as the H1B visa program, and
will be interpreted in accordance with the criteria used for H1Bs. The category
has requirements with respect to the education of the beneficiary and the job duties
to be performed which mirror the H1B requirements. It thus will be helpful in some
situations where the H1B otherwise would be the logical category.
To be eligible, the Australian citizen must possess a bachelor’s degree or higher
(or its equivalent) AND the specialty occupation must require the theoretical and
practical application of a body of specialized knowledge.
The E-3 Visa allows the spouse and/or children (under 21) to accompany the Australian
national when entering the U.S. The spouse and children do not need to be Australian
nationals, only the principal foreign national must meet this requirement. In addition,
the spouse is eligible to apply for work authorization. This is a significant benefit
not available to many nonimmigrant dependent spouses. The work performed by the
spouse of an E-3 does not have to meet any particular requirements. Additionally,
the spouse and children are not counted against the 10,500 annual limits.