This is probably the most common question asked online and the one that seems to trip up every single person I speak to about it. On the face of it, it seems a lot easier to transfer an E3 visa to a new employer than leaving the country and having to go through the whole application process and interview again.
On this page
So is it true? Is it easier to transfer your E3 visa to a new employer? This is the real question you should be asking. So here’s the deal… Because it kinda depends.
How to transfer your E3 visa to a new employer
The honest truth is that yes, it can be done.
So that you can’t accuse me of hiding the facts, here’s how it’s done:
- Your new employer files an LCA, just like you did before.
Now, if you’re already in the US (because you’re working on your current E3 visa, for example) then you can file a petition in the US with a Service Center to transfer jobs. This would be using a document like an I-129.
So why is this a bad way to transfer my E3?
Number one, you don’t get a new visa in your passport!
What you’ve done is adjusted your status in the US to be valid with your new employer, and that is great in the short term but it means you can’t re-enter the United States beyond the visa date in your passport.
You’re stuck in the U.S!
Secondly, it takes forever and they look much more closely into every single little thing:
This route is less often undertaken because it could take approximately 2-4 months for the petition to be reviewed (premium processing is unavailable for E-3 visa petitions) and is typically scrutinized much more heavily than an application presented at a Consulate.
You’ve also got a limited amount of time to do all this:
Transferring to a new employer may be problematic if your original employment ended and you remained in the U.S. beyond the duration of the grace period.
More recently, USCIS introduced premium processing to the E-3 which relieves this issue but comes with a cost. There’s more about premium processing just here.
What should you do instead to transfer your E3 visa to a new employer?
You should leave the country and apply for a “New” E3 just like you did the first time! It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can get up to two more years to enter the US as many times as you’d like.
You can apply inside or outside Australia, and you can see a list of reviews of locations to get your new E3 visa here.
You do the whole process from scratch exactly like the first time except this time you tick the box that says “Yes” you’ve had a visa before on your DS-160.
Don’t be silly. Do it this way.
Hi Josh – Given the current travel restrictions in place (and the fact that most embassies aren’t accepting visa interview requests), have you heard of anyone transferring their E3 from one employer to another (hopefully in less than 2 months)?
Unfortunately not in fewer than 2 months from what I’ve heard, but it can be done. Information is at https://americajosh.com/corona
Hi Josh, do you know what might happen to the spouse or dependent on the E3D visa? If i were to apply for a new one, would they have to redo the whole E3D and work authorization process too?
Hi Bernard, I’m not 100% sure sorry! I will look into it!
When changing employers internally am I able to keep working at my original employer while I wait for the visa changes to be processed?
I see average 4 month wait times right now so curious if that means 4 months without a paycheck
I do believe so, Jack, yes.
I’ve been offered the same reporting role, within my company, just in a different state.
They need me to sign a new contract though.
Can I still use my current visa?
I’m not 100% sure and would definitely recommend speaking to an immigration attorney but you will definitely at least need a new LCA. Whether you need to file an amendment (or get a new visa), I’m not sure.
Thanks for the crisp and clear blog.
Is one allowed to invest in property in the US when on an E3 visa? Also, would you recommend an Australian citizen to go for the H1B if the intent is to settle in the US? If not, is there any other path?
I do not believe there is directly an issue with buying property, however, you can not show “migrant intent” when on an E3 visa, and buying a house may show that you have that intent (to stay). So it’s not directly disallowed but could be argued as such so it’s worth being careful and seeking legal advice beforehand.
If your intent is to stay, then yes, the H-1B has a pathway to a Green Card, whereas the E3 does not!
I m currently on e3 visa and I got offered a job with another company and they are going to file my E3 via premium processing , my question is I need to go to Canada in few months and will I have to get a new E3 visa or can I still enter with my old visa which has an expiry of March 2022
You will have to get a new visa if you want to leave and return. You can’t use your old visa.
Thanks for this! Do you know if one can take time off between E3 visas? Say I already have an existing E3 visa and a new employer were to file a LCA and petition for a new visa, would I be able to take a few weeks off before starting in a new position?
Hey Catherine, you could date your new one to not start for a bit after you leave your last one, as you have up to 60 days that you are allowed to remain in the country after you quit/lose your job!
Am I able to leave and apply for a new visa, while another is processing?
Given no embassies were open, I renewed with my current employer for the grace period. With embassies opening again I wonder if it’s best to leave and file again.
Yep if you leave the country you will have abandoned your existing application with USCIS. It may be worth formally also stopping the request. Did you file with a lawyer or yourself?
Thanks for your reply, Josh!
That’s great to hear, it feels like the simplest option. I filed with my company lawyer.
I just had my E3 re-approved with my employer where I have worked in the US for a while (have renewed my E3 a few times for the same role). It was approved in 2 weeks from submission.
I’m looking at a similar job at another company.
Can you tell me:
– does the E3 approval process take more time when you change jobs?
– can I keep working at my current job while the my new E3 application is pending OR do I need to resign from my current role and then submit the E3 application with the new firm
Thanks for the help!!
Hi Rose! Just to confirm when you filed this time, I assume you used premium processing? If so, and if you do again, yep, it’s the same amount of time whether same employer or with a different employer. The only difference is you MAY get an RFE (request for evidence) with the new employer and therefore it will take another couple of weeks. It is my understanding you can keep working until you receive the approval if you have a valid status and LCA with the current employer.
Hi Josh – thanks for the quick reply! I really appreciate it!!
Yes indeed it was premium processing.
Outside of getting the paper work together for the E3 application, are there any other long lead time items that they would need to work through before submitting? I vaguely remember my current employer needing to advertise for the role for a period of time….
Nope that’s not a requirement on an E3! Just the LCA that takes 10 business days and then the filing.
Hi Josh, I am on E3 visa and changing employment. I will get my LCA in first week of November. Is it advisable to do USCIS premium processing or better to travel Melbourne and get new stamping? Is it ok to do mail in application as my job is in same industry although my new employer is in different industry. Thanks.
Hi Vish, so the in-country transfer will work for now to get you working. And then you can travel to Melbourne when you’re ready. The downside of not traveling is that you won’t have a visa in hand for re-entry to the US. No probs with the new industry, it should just depend on whether you’ve had an E3 before which you have!
Thanks Josh. My preference would be travel and get mail in application as it will allow re-entry, meeting family and travel is open now. Just was not sure about mail in application qualification.
Thanks for this! I am leaving my current job for another and plan to file for another E-3 this way. What do I need to do to let the department know I’ve left this first job?
Nothing! Just make sure you don’t remain in-country too long without status.
Thanks a bunch!
If you change the employer inside the US and so your E-3 visa status, you can also extend or renew the E-3 visa inside the US right ? Why did you mention you will be stuck in the US if you change the employer under a current E-3 visa? The same would apply when you want to renew with the same employer – all would happen inside the US? Many thanks for any comment and attention,
Hi Roberto, you can extend your status and stay in the US, but your physical visa sticker in your passport remains unchanged. So when that document expires, even though you have extended your status and can stay in the US, you can’t leave and re-enter. Whether it’s a new employer or the same.
I have a E-3 visa but I never used to enter the US due the employer cancelled the offer. If I am still outside the US and found a new US employer, what would you suggest, to re-apply to a new E-3 with the new employer or transfer my current E-3 visa from my older employer to the new one?
Hi Rogelio, best bet would be to get a new one. You can’t transfer it because you can’t enter on it.
Hey Josh! Wondering whether the new mail in option is applicable to changing employers as well?
Yes indeed – more here https://americajosh.com/learn-more/immigration/e3-visas/how-to-apply-for-an-e3-visa-by-mail/
Is it possible to change my current E3 employer to part-time and add a new E3 employer (whie in Australia). What should I do to ensure the first E3 remains valid?
It’s difficult, I would recommend getting a lawyer involved!