Skip to content
Home » Important » E-3 Visas now have Premium Processing with USCIS (I-129s) 2024

E-3 Visas now have Premium Processing with USCIS (I-129s) 2024

It's finally happened! It would have been nice to have this change pushed through 12 months ago, but better late than never. If you're filing an E-3 visa extension or moving to a new employer (a change of status) you can now do so with premium processing meaning that it's approved in days/weeks instead of months/years!

Straight from USCIS to you:

An Australian national who is outside the United States may apply for an E-3 nonimmigrant visa directly through the Department of State or, in the case of an individual already in the U.S., by filing Form I-129 with USCIS. To qualify for the E-3 classification, you must demonstrate, among other things, that you:

– Are a national of Australia;
– Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States;
– Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials; and
– Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.

The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee to expedite the adjudication of certain forms, generally within 15 days.

So what does this mean? Well it basically means that instead of having to wait the 240 days to get a yes/no (or RFE – Request for Evidence) back, you can now get it back in (normally) 15 days.

This is a game-changer for those Australians stuck in the US waiting for USCIS to confirm new employers or to extend work with their current employer (yes, both, more on that below).

The difference between a change of status and a new E3 visa

This difference is important and I've written a whole article about how this works here.

Long story short, an I-129 extension/transfer is not a visa. You can stay in the country and keep working, but if you leave the country, you won't be able to re-enter the US without going to a Consulate or Embassy and getting a new visa (just like always).

This changes your status in the country, it doesn't give you the ticket to enter it.

Can you add premium processing to an existing I-129 application?

Yes, you can. According to USCIS:

If you have already filed Form I-129 or Form I-140 and you now wish to request premium processing, file Form I-907 with the service center where your Form I-129 or Form I-140 is currently pending, along with a copy of the Form I-797, Receipt Notice, for your Form I-129 or Form I-140.

So whether you're applying for a new I-129 or you have one pending right now, you can pay the fee, and have it come back a few days later with a result.

How much does premium processing an E-3 visa cost?

As per the fee schedule on USCIS, we can assume this will be updated shortly to include an E-3 visa at $2,500.

Does this apply to new employers or just extensions of existing visas with the same employer?

It's for both! You can use this processing for both applying for an extension to your current E3 visa status, or if you want to start with a new employer and have it ready to go in just 15 days!

This means, in theory, you could be offered a job, file a change of status on your existing visa, get it back in two weeks, start working with the new employer, then when you're ready to, go to a Consulate/Embassy and go get a visa like normal. No more being rushed out of the country!

How do you apply for premium processing on an E3 visa?

All information can be found on the USCIS official website but the long and short of it:

You must complete and sign Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, according to the instructions on the current version of the form.

If you are filing Form I-907 together with Form I-129 or Form I-140, you must file both forms according to the Form I-129 or I-140 instructions.

If you have already filed Form I-129 or Form I-140 and you now wish to request premium processing, file Form I-907 with the service center where your Form I-129 or Form I-140 is currently pending, along with a copy of the Form I-797, Receipt Notice, for your Form I-129 or Form I-140.

If we transferred your petition to another service center and you received a transfer notice, we strongly recommend that you submit your Form I-907 to the service center that is now handling your petition. You should also include a copy of the transfer notice with your premium processing request to avoid delays.
Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh

Josh is a business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh. Josh is also the President of Variety – the Children's Charity of New York, Secretary at The Mateship Foundation, and Founder & CEO at Fortnight Digital.View Author posts

72 thoughts on “E-3 Visas now have Premium Processing with USCIS (I-129s) 2024”

  1. Hi Josh,

    This article is so beyond helpful, I had no idea you could do an employer transfer within the US, I thought it was extensions only! A few quick questions. Do you need a lawyer to do the transfer, or can you do it yourself? When you leave the country, I know you have to go to a consulate to have the new visa stamped into your paperwork. What paperwork do you need to bring to the appointment, and how do you schedule the apppointment? Do you use an existing DS-160 number, or what do you need? I just booked an appt for October 20 but need to be back here to start my job October 16 so I’m think I might do this process with premium processing. Thanks!

    1. Hi Simone, you’re so welcome! So you don’t NEED a lawyer, but it’s always recommended just to make sure you get it right. So when you do the appointment outside the US, you just do a full new appointment as if you’d not done the transfer, you need everything again. You file a new DS-160, LCA, etc. etc. You CAN use the LCA that you used for the transfer, but the best bet is to get a new one so your visa will be the full 2 years!

  2. Hi Josh
    As per the last question, I’m wondering if you can shed any light on expedited extension request specifically relating to E3S.
    My husband is the principal visa holder and I am the dependent spouse.
    Our visa expiry date is coming up in 15 days, my husbands I-94 is still valid through till early 2024, however mine has an expiration date the same as the visa – so in 15 days time.
    I am stressing more than I should be, as his employers immigration attorney has said that it will all be ok, they have applied for an extension of status (only yesterday though). However I have little to zero faith in this situation.
    Can you advise if I need to climb down out of my tree and chill out, or do I just pack my bag and be at the ready to get out of here asap.

    1. Hi Renee, definitely trust the lawyers. It’s my understanding that you will get a confirmation receipt that they are processing your extension which will let you stay while it’s processing. They normally come back within a week or two.

      Your husband should be filing too if his E3 is coming due (even with a valid I-94).

  3. Hey Josh,

    My wife is on E3 S and due for renewal, is she eligible for premium processing? Do you happen to know the process for extension for dependents?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Satya, unfortunately they’re not included in premium processing still, so it makes that part a bit more difficult! That being said, I believe if you file, they temporarily extend status while processing, which would mean she could keep working and living in the US while it’s processed.

  4. Hi Josh,
    I’m unsure if you’re still taking questions in regard to the E3 visa but I am curious for your insight, I spoke with a lawyer and they said that my employer must pay for the E3 visa/premium processing. I’m trying to find information online expressing this but am finding it difficult. Do you know where I can look for this information?

    1. Really good question, Emilie. I’ve heard there is a Department of Labor document that talks about that (in relation to how it’s similar to the H-1B) but I don’t have it on hand sorry!

  5. Hey Josh!
    Thank you for this absolute gem of a site.

    I was previously on my own E-3, but left that workplace and applied for an E-3D (as my husband’s dependent) which is still being processed. While it’s being processed, I’m staying in the US with no international travel.
    Do you know, if I get a job offer with a new employer, is it possible to go from my current situation to an E-3 visa with an in-country application?

  6. Ok thanks Josh, we currently have a lawyer but he is really not shedding much light on the situation. We paid for a second opinion from a second lawyer and they replied saying “it’s tricky because your I-94s don’t match” and wouldn’t really go into it much further because I think it’s a weird situation and then our retainer ran out. So yes not much info from either lawyer unfortunately.

  7. Hey Josh, thank you for making this website! It’s literally a life saver.

    Due to covid and not being able to get an appointment to renew outside of the US… My husband is applying for an E3 extension (not expedited) so he gets the 240 days to give us time to leave the country to get the regular renewal of the E3 (we currently have an appointment booked in Mexico next year which we hope will not be cancelled due to covid). The issue is we have conflicting I-94 expiry dates. I’m his E3D and my I-94 expires in a month, Aug 28 2021, his expires Dec 31 2021. Does this affect my status when I put in my I-539 with his I-129 E3 extension?

    We were told to put in an I-539 to match his I-94, but there is an 8 month wait to process that. Which means I’ll have two I-539s in at the same time saying two different things. Is this a problem?

    Any advice welcomed! Thank you!

    1. Hi Holly. We’re wading into some more legal-crossover areas here so I want to be careful about what I do and do not know.

      But can you explain: Where is the second I-539 you mentioned? I see the one that you put in with his I-94 (I assume you already did that – have you received your receipt for that 539?), but where is the second?

      1. Hey Josh! Thanks for your reply. I haven’t put in any yet because I’m not sure if we should apply for the E3 extension now or if I should just put in an I-539 to match his I-94 to December now (apparently this is taking 8 months to process). So I’ll still be in processing if we then apply for an E3 extension and that’s when I’ll put in another I-539.

  8. Hi Josh,

    I recently change my status from J-1 to E-3 by filing I-129 with premium processing. My current employer had an attorney help me with that, and it was approved without any issue in just 2 days!
    However, the change of status application of my dependents are not processed at the same speed (From J-2 to E-3D and I-539 cannot be expedited). It seems it will take 10 months to get the approval (Vermont center). The attorney told me that my wife can apply for EAD even if in the transition of status. My question now is whether she is eligible to apply for EAD as E-3D? If she can, how long the EAD will be valid for? Do you have more insight in EAD application.

    1. Hi Blake, let me do some research. I’m sorry, my knowledge of EADs and E3Ds is not even close to my knowledge of E3s so I just need a bit more time… unless somebody else here in the comments knows?

  9. Hi Josh,

    Thanks for all the useful information.
    If my current LCA expires in August 30th (and I work with my current employer only until then) but my I-94 is valid until late 2022, what would be my grace period: 10 or 60 days?
    Want to make sure that we leave the U.S. on time to stay in status.

    Could I do a short trip somewhere and come back on visa waiver to find a new employer?

    Also, could someone share info/link with the reasons why USCIS would reply with an RFE or deny an E-3 extension or change of employer via I-129?

    1. Hi Giovana! It’s my understanding that it’s 10 days from the completion of your work. 60 days is only if it’s within the bounds of your work. The whole I-94 being different from each other thing is a bit of a bug in the system so it shouldn’t be relied on too heavily!

      The Visa Waiver strategy is a possibility but you can run into trouble because they might ask what you’re doing so close to your visa (knowing you can’t work etc.). But lots of people have done this before.

      They can respond with an RFE for all sorts of things ranging from your history, your work experience, your job, the business, the job and how it relates to your experience, unfortunately it’s completely custom to each person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *