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Home » What’s on this site? » Immigration to the United States 2023 » E3 Visa USA – Australian Working Visa in the US in 2023 » Frequently Asked Questions about E3 Visas

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 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.

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

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.

31 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions about E3 Visas”

  1. Hi American Josh team,

    Thanks for all the work you do! I have a specific question and am going through another late-night E3 freak out.

    My employer has put on my LCA and posting that I start my employment on March 20th 2023 (currently March 10th). I know considering the wait times and appointment scheduling there’s very little chance I’ll book a E3 visa appointment and get back to the US to start my new job in the next 10 days.

    I know that you have to enter the US up to 10 days before starting a job on an E3, but what about entering the US after the date your employment starts according to the LCA? Is entering after this date allowed?

    Thank you very very much for your help!

    1. No issue at all – Your visa will be stamped as “starting” on the date they stamp it (not the LCA date) – but even if they do, your employer could write a letter as further evidence that you were waiting for an appointment. No issue.

  2. Hey team,

    I’ve got a question with degree relevancy – how aligned does a degree have to be to the work you end up doing?

    I’ve got a Bachelor of arts, and will soon have a Master’s in Journalism/International relations, my professional experience is in the finance industry though – with change and communications.

    Would I be okay going for any roles broadly in communications/change?

  3. Hi America Josh :),

    I’m so happy I found your website. It’s the most helpful resource I have found so far! I have a question about the E-3 visa stamp interview.

    My E-3 visa stamp expires in June 2023. My employer’s lawyers have filed the E-3 extension for me, which has been approved until June 2025. I am planning a visit to Sydney, Australia in October 2023. If my current visa stamp expires in June 2023, do I need to do my visa interview before June? Or since my extension has already been approved, can i do my interview in Sydney in October when Im there?

    Thank you :),

    1. I’m so glad you found me, too!

      If you have an extension (I-797A received and in hand) then you are good to stay for the life of that IN the US. When that expires you would have to leave, but if you leave before then, you can’t re-enter until you get a sticker in your passport. So you can do that when you’re in Sydney in October.

  4. A bit of a rare one for you Josh – I attended my E3 visa interview in London today. The embassy staff member I interviewed with told me that my visa had been approved in the system, however she couldn’t take my passport from me to process as their system was down. This means I am in ‘administrative processing’, which from what I have read is a black hole and could take up to 60 days to have resolved. As I have a job offer and an expected start date of next week, I am extremely worried. Hoping you have heard of this issue before?

    1. Hey Patrick! That term can mean lots of things but for you I think it will come right out (it’s very normal for everyone to be in that phase for a brief moment!) How is it looking now 3 days later?

  5. Hey America Josh,

    So happy to have come across your page! Super grateful for all your efforts and community support.

    I see a few people here are asking about degree accreditation for those with part-degree and working experience, although I’ve got a few questions I’m hoping you may be able to answer.

    – How would you recommend noting a partial/incomplete degree on a resume, trying to avoid any red flags?
    – Would you recommend getting the accreditation from Silvergate before even starting the job application process, or best to do this at offer stage?

    From what I’ve read, there are different accreditation agencies out there, along with different lawyers that can support with being creative wordsmiths to ensure some sort of US degree-equivalent. Is this common and widely accepted?


    1. Hey Sam!

      So I don’t think I would include partial/incomplete degrees on a resume, not for a job anyway. Just because I don’t think you could easily show why that’s important (even though you learned plenty). Yes, I went to Silvergate early and had all that ready to reduce delays later on because once an employer is interested, you don’t want any delays!

      There are many, but it’s worthwhile sticking with the big ones who can connect you to a good US University/College and have a document written which holds some weight!

  6. Hi Josh,

    I’ll be applying for an E3 renewal around July/August (having renewed once already), and am having a tough time finding accurate processing times out there in order to decide where to go.

    Am I to assume that E visas are considered the same as the ‘Interview Waiver Petition-Based Temporary Workers (H, L, O, P, Q)’ on the DoS website? Are there certain consulates that do and don’t process E visa renewals? Are there any consulates that you would recommend?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Tom, unfortunately finding that kind of info is notoriously difficult, but are you talking about processing times or appointment wait-times? Generally London, all of Germany, Australia, Barbados, and the Bahamas are all great options!

  7. Hi Josh,
    Thank you for everything you do!
    My current E3 visa will expire in October 2023. My company would like me to apply for the same visa again so I gathered all the paperwork and have an appointment set for August 2023. I will still be working in the same position I do now.
    My question is: how should the company handle the change to the new visa? Do they need to terminate my current employment and then rehire me? What is recommended?

    1. Hi Nic, no, just another letter that says that you are being hired from X date to Y date in the same position you were previously hired in. It can roll into the next one as long as you never work outside of the admitted dates.

  8. Hi America Josh,

    So glad to find your website, very helpful for Aussies working in America. Our first E3 visa was expired, and employer lawyer applied extension for us and granted. We planed to go overseas this year, and need to have the stamp on our passports. However, we found its super long queue to find a spot in Canada Consulates, and Mexico Consulates don’t allow expats to apply visa extension anymore. If we don’t want to go back to Australia, can you recommend any other countries we can have our stamps quickly?

  9. Hi Josh

    Just wanted to check if you knew what the current processing time is for an E3 visa?
    When I applied in 2018, ti was around 2 weeks. Do you know if this is still the case?


  10. Hi Josh,

    What a great website- so helpful!

    I am wanting to set up in the US for longer than 10 days before my E3 visa begins. Can I travel into the US on a visitor visa or as part of the Visa Waiver Program and THEN change to my E3?

    Thanks heaps!

    1. Hi Eliza,

      You can do that, and leave and re-enter but you may have an issue because they may not believe you won’t start work. I would recommend speaking to an immigration attorney before doing that!

  11. Thanks Josh for your reply, it’s very helpful!
    So when filling the DS-160 and LCA I can select “Continuation of previously approved employment without change with the same employer” instead of “New employment” but I would still get a new visa at the U.S. embassy? I’m don’t want this to get confused with filing an extension with USCIS because I rather apply for a new visa at a U.S. embassy.

  12. Hi Josh

    We are Australians who live in Mexico I was wondering with the E3 visa do you have to physically live in USA or can you say live in Mexico and work for a USA company (working from home) or work on a mine site and fly in and out to USA back to Mexico? Gracias

    1. You don’t need a visa to work for a US company outside of the US, but no there’s no residence requirement for an E3 as far as I understand. You may have tax issues though that you will want to look into!

  13. I am applying for an E-3 and I have submitted the DS-160 and have booked an interview in Canada, where I am currently living. I would like to visit the US for a few days before moving just to familiarise myself with the area and think about what neighborhood I would like to eventually live in. Am I permitted to visit for a few days as a visitor on an ESTA even though I already have a visa application in flight?

  14. Do you know if there are any issues with renewing an E3 early? My LCA end date is 10th April 2024 but I’ll be back in Australia in October 2023 and was hoping I could do my renewal appt then?

    1. No, there should be no issue. They might ask why you’re doing it so early and you can just explain the convenience of being back. Your renewal is just a new visa, so it’s not like you’re actually renewing the former one.

  15. Hi Josh,

    Thanks so much for your help and all the information in your website!

    My sister is an USA Citizen and she applied a petition for me as Alien Relative 4 years ago (still in revision). I am wondering if this can be an issue at the moment to apply for a E3 visa?

    Thanks so much in advance,


  16. Hi Josh,

    Like so many others here, I’m so thankful to have found your website. You are doing god’s work.

    I have a specific question I was hoping you might have some information on.

    I’m currently in Sydney for an extended holiday, but have to renew my visa to re-enter the USA. I need to be back in the USA by end of June, but the soonest visa appointment closest to Sydney is at the US embassy in Tokyo, Japan. To book an appointment time there, I need to pay before hand but they are requesting a Japanese address and/or credit card.

    Do you have any information on how to get past this point of the booking process if I don’t have a Japanese address and credit card? How would I go about that?

    Also, my original DS160 was completed with an Australian address, will I need to redo my DS160 if I want to book an appointment in Japan or any other city?

    Thanks so much!

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