E3 Visas

Official pages are always the best, click here to go to USCIS.

For professional assistance, we recommend Doug Lightman from Lightman Immigration.

Wondering about a particular location to get or renew your E3 visa? Check out our regularly updated list of Visa Locations!

What you require to get your E3

Our friend and contributor, Alex, has written a fantastic step-by-step guide to her getting the E-3 which details quite a bit of the process. It’s worth a read!

In a VERY short sentence: You need to show that you have a Bachelor’s Degree, and that you have been offered a job that requires that Bachelor’s Degree and pays above the “prevailing wage” for that job.

While this sounds easy, there are quite a few steps and it’s important that you take care while doing this (see my below note on lawyers).

The advice below is for reference so that you know all the ins and outs of what is required but is not a recommendation that you should go in alone. Like any legal issue, there are elements that are confusing, complicated or specific to your situation and an immigration lawyer is the best person to help you with all of it.

Here’s the most important bit: If you are rejected for a visa, and you didn’t have a lawyer for the process, it can be INCREDIBLY difficult to get a visa in the future. A rejection looks very bad, and will only make your life more difficult if you really want to move to the US. So do it right the first time, seek professional legal help, and do it properly.

That all being said, here are some great resources so that you are across what is required and you can take the appropriate information to a lawyer.

E-3 Visa – Overview

Another really good (but a bit dated) resource is this guide by Geoff McQueen’s.

Most importantly though, this is the OFFICIAL page from USTravelDocs.com.

Explaining the E3 Visa to Employers

Christian Thurston from G’day SF has written an awesome piece about how to explain the E3 Visa with an infographic and all. There’s no point my reinventing the wheel, just check that out below.

E3 visa emails & infographics

Advance.org also has a great lot of information about the subject of telling your employers.

Degree Equivalency

The requirement to move to the US with an E3 is to hold the equivalent of a 4 Year Bachelor Degree (or greater). In some cases you may be told to seek equivalency from an evaluation company in order to prove this (or at the very least, use it as a precaution). As a general rule of thumb, three years work equates to one year of education (who knows how that rule was come to).

I did mine through Silvergate Evaluations who turned out to be great. You send them everything you have, and they will reply with options on who can write your equivalency statement from a University or College in the US. Prices will vary but at the very least you’ll be looking around $250USD for the full document.

Starting your own company

It is possible to bring yourself over on an E3 if you have a legitimate reason and intent to start doing business in the United States.

This is really important and I get asked this question a lot. This isn’t a trick, this isn’t a scam, this is for people looking for help starting a company/business in the US, and subsequently employing themselves to come over.

I don’t think it’s appropriate to list any further information on this site about how it is done because it is something that requires significant research. I am happy to talk personally about this but would again recommend the use of a good lawyer and/or accountant.

Frequently Asked Questions

It appears that they CAN be the same person but they need not necessarily be the same person. The person who signs that declaration of employer must have the authority to enter into binding contracts on behalf of the company (i.e. an officer of the business entity). The person listed as the employer point of contact is just the person with whom the agency (USCIS) can communicate about the application. – Shane H. (June, 2017)

No restrictions. The E3 is a multiple entry visa.

My old passport has already expired. My visa to travel to the United States is still valid but in my expired passport. Do I need to apply for a new visa with my new passport?

No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports, as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism). Both passports (the valid and the expired one with the visa) should be from the same country and type (Example: both Uruguayan regular passports, both official passports, etc.). When you arrive at the U.S. port-of-entry (POE, generally an airport or land border) the Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer will check your visa in the old passport and if s/he decides to admit you into the United States they will stamp your new passport with an admission stamp along with the annotation “VIOPP” (visa in other passport). Do not try to remove the visa from your old passport and stick it into the new valid passport. If you do so, your visa will no longer be valid.

I would suggest using the https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/ website for last entrances, which includes most if not all. Always be as honest as possible and you can’t go wrong.

Yes, you can! I effectively did this. To get your appointment you need a DS-160, and the DS-160 includes a question (that you can leave blank re: LCA). So you can fill the DS-160 in, leave it blank, book an appointment with your confirmed DS-160 number. Then when your LCA gets approved, file a new DS-160, now including your approved LCA number, and then contact the embassy you’re going to and ask to update your DS-160 (because “you needed to update the LCA details”). They should be completely fine with it and away you go. Mine was in Sydney, but I’ve heard the same reflected by others.

Just to note: It is a bit of a gamble (e.g. if your LCA isn’t approved), obviously, and may not be strictly “recommended”. So this is just my personal experience.

Nah you need a new one. Transfers take nearly 3 months to do.

Easier to do a whole new process

I did the same thing last year and it was considered a new E3

Nope – no need

I worked on an E-3 part-time for a year. it is totally permissible. no-one even asked about it in my interview. applied for the E-3 with an hourly wage (as opposed to annual wage) that was over the earning threshold for my profession.

No. You can only work for the company specifically outlined in your E3 Visa.

My old passport has already expired. My visa to travel to the United States is still valid but in my expired passport. Do I need to apply for a new visa with my new passport?

No. If your visa is still valid you can travel to the United States with your two passports, as long as the visa is valid, not damaged, and is the appropriate type of visa required for your principal purpose of travel. (Example: tourist visa, when your principal purpose of travel is tourism). Both passports (the valid and the expired one with the visa) should be from the same country and type (Example: both Uruguayan regular passports, both official passports, etc.). When you arrive at the U.S. port-of-entry (POE, generally an airport or land border) the Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer will check your visa in the old passport and if s/he decides to admit you into the United States they will stamp your new passport with an admission stamp along with the annotation “VIOPP” (visa in other passport). Do not try to remove the visa from your old passport and stick it into the new valid passport. If you do so, your visa will no longer be valid.

Yes, you can, there are two ways!

Yes, but your e-3 will only be valid for that long

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