A question that haunts my nightmares and one that people ask me a lot in a panic 34 minutes before boarding: “What documents (if any) do I need to bring with me to the airport if I’ve got an approved E3 visa and am entering after travel?”

No matter how confident you are, there’s going to be a brief moment when your plane touches down back in the U.S. where you think to yourself “I sure hope this goes smoothly”. Well… it does for me.

I know I’m legally allowed to re-enter the country as many times as I want. I know I’ve got my valid E3 visa. I know I’ve done nothing wrong.

SO WHY AM I SWEATING SO MUCH!?

What documents are actually required?

As far as I understand, you technically only need your approved and valid (date) E3 visa sticker, stuck in your valid passport.

With those documents, you should be able to say to the agent at the gate that you’re back to work as per your visa, and you will stroll right in.

In my personal experience, this has happened almost every time with one or two questions around:

  • What do you do for work?
  • What is the company’s name?
  • What is your role detailed on your visa? and
  • Where have you been and what have you been doing?

An honest reply to each and every one of these has resulted in a stamp, stamp, stamp, and I’m on my way.

But what else do I have in my bag JUST IN CASE?

What documents are recommended?

There are stories from those who have arrived in the same legal way around having immigration officials questioning much further about their intent to stay in the U.S. beyond their visa (suggesting a migrant intent), and how deep the roots are that they’ve laid in the U.S. I’ve also been told by some weary travelers that they were asked to prove that they were still employed by the business on their visa.

So what do you do?

I recommend traveling with a few extra documents where you can. These aren’t required in most cases but carrying a few pieces of paper has absolutely no impact on your carry-on weight and will give you the peace of mind:

  1. Your approved LCA – Sure, it’s a stack of pages and a bit of a pain in the ass to carry around, but it shows preparedness and proof all in one
  2. Recent payslips – An easy way to show that you are still gainfully employed is to show that you’re still being paid. Print a couple of months of payslips out and you’ll be ready to whip them out if any questions arise
  3. Bank statements – To line up with your payslips
  4. (Especially if it’s a long trip away) A letter from your employer – This letter can simply state (on letterhead) that you’re all good for the period you’re away from the business and it is known to them
  5. (At a stretch) Any proof you have of ties to your home country – Showing that you’re still attached to your home country and don’t plan to move is always a great option (e.g. Bank statements from Australia, proof of property ownership etc.)

I know some of you reading this will jump in with “I’ve been doing this for X years and never been asked” and that’s absolutely true, you shouldn’t be, but there are lots of people who have and who needs the stress!?