Frequently Asked Questions about E3 Visas

You’ve got questions and I’ve got answers! The E3 Visa is a wonderful resource for Australians, but there are lots of nuances to it and I know some of the questions can get specific, so here you go.

If you’re looking for more general information about how to get an E3, then click here to read everything about the E3 visa!

How much does the E3 Visa cost?

The E3 visa application fee is $205USD ($287AUD).

This is much cheaper than many other visas because there is no additional cost down the road when you actually get approved. Many visas have an issuance fee after the application fee, but that’s not the case with the E-3.

More importantly though there is no cost to the employer. This application fee can be paid by you or the employer, but there is no other work that is required which makes it a much lower barrier than many other visa options available to other international citizens.

Can you study while on an E-3 visa?

Yes. E-3 holders who are attending school incidental to their primary purpose for being in the United States may attend the school of their choice either part-time or full-time (unless otherwise
noted here
). You must make sure though that you live up to all your E3 requirements at all times.

Can you employ yourself on an E3 visa?

This is a question I get asked a lot and the answer is not so straight forward. To do this, and to understand the intricacies of what exactly is an is not allowed, you must speak to a lawyer.

Is it normal for my passport to have arrived at a PO Box in St Kilda when I did a visa renewal in Melbourne?

Yes, it’s normal that your passport has arrived at a PO Box in St Kilda, Victoria. This is the US Consulate’s PO Box and means your passport stamp has arrived back. You should hear from them shortly.

Do I need original LCA for my interview?

Yes, you need to print out your Certified LCA (it says Certified in the bottom left corner) and have it signed by the person who is detailed in the document. You must take that version to your interview and they will keep it at the end.

ETA FORM 9035e (LCA): Is the employer point of contact (d) the same as the person who signs the declaration of employer (e) at the end?

They CAN be the same person but they need not necessarily be the same person. The person who signs that declaration of the 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’s point of contact is just the person with whom the agency (USCIS) can communicate about the application.

Are there restrictions to traveling overseas to Europe while I’m on an E3 visa here in the USA?

No restrictions. The E3 is a multiple entry visa which allows you to travel internationally and re-enter the US for the duration of the visa.

Can I have an E3 visa in an expired passport if I have a new passport as well or do I need to apply for a new visa with my new passport?

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.

When providing the ‘last 5 visits’ on your E3 application, do you have to list all your entries into the US including short holiday trips out of the US?

Yes. 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.

How do I change my current address on my E3 paperwork? Any ideas?

This is a very important step and can be found on the Form A-11

Can I already book my appointment at the US embassy before the LCA has been approved (it was just filed)?

Yes, you can! 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.

All embassy locations are unique, so it’s important you check with the location you are applying to.

I am currently in NYC on an E-3, but have changed jobs so about to leave to process my second E-3. I’m changing employers so it will be my first with the new employer. Is this considered a renewal? Receiving some conflicting information.

This is a new visa. You will need to leave the country or apply for an internal transfer or status.

Can you get an E3 for a part-time role (say 3-4 days a week)?

Yes, you can get an E3 for a part-time role, it is totally permissible. You can apply for the E-3 with an hourly wage (as opposed to an annual wage) that’s over the earning threshold for your profession.

Can you freelance for clients outside of the part-time role (ie. for other clients not connected directly to the E3?)

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

Can you transition from an E-3 to a Green Card?

Yes, you can, there are two ways but you need to be cautious because the E-3 visa is a non dual-intent visa and therefore this can not be your plan when you enter the country.

Does anyone know if it’s 10 days, 30 days, or 60 days after you stop working with your E3 employer?

It’s a combination. If you’re ending your visa before the length of time allocated on your visa, it’s 60 days. If you’ve finished the visa, then it’s 10 days. https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/uscis-publishes-final-rule-certain-employment-based-immigrant-and-nonimmigrant-visa-programs

Does anyone know if you can get an E3 visa on a 6 or 12-month contract role?

Yes, but your E3 visa will only be valid for that long

Do I have to already have a job in the United States first before applying for an E-3 visa?

Yes. You need to have a job offer from your employer in the United States before you can apply for the E-3 visa.

Can I apply for an E-3 visa from outside Australia?

Yes. Many lawyers will recommend you get your first in Australia, which is a “safer” bet, but there’s no requirement for that. You can apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate which processes nonimmigrant visas, outside the US.

Does my employer need to file an I-129 petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) before I can get my E3 visa?

No, unlike the H1B, the employer in the United States is not required to submit a petition to USCIS as a prerequisite for the E3 visa. However, the employer must obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA), from the department of labor by filing form ETA Form 9035. There is no fee to submit the ETA9035.

Is there a limit to the number of E-3 visas?

There is a limit of 10,500 visas issued each year, however we’ve never reached that cap.

How long before I start my job can I enter on an E3 visa?

You can enter up to 10 days before your job starts.

How long can I stay out of the United States if I have an E-3 visa?

There is no limit to how long you stay outside the United States, however a condition of your visa is that you are working for your employer so you must remain employed for that period.

Can I take a sabbatical or leave work without pay from an E3 visa?

In reality, no. There are exceptions like pregnancy which will allow you to take extended leave from your work but as a general rule, you are not allowed to take unpaid leave from your work (as this pay is a requirement for your visa).

Do I need to use a lawyer to apply for an E3?

Technically no, but it is recommended to ensure your visa is issued correctly and many employers will insist on using a lawyer.

How can I check the status of my LCA?

Head to the FLAG, the US website for filing LCAs here https://flag.dol.gov/case-status-search

Can you renew the visa and stay working for longer than two years?

Yes, you can, in theory, renew the visa indefinitely for up to two years each time. This is always up to the discretion of the immigration officer you are speaking to.