The E-3 treaty professional visa was introduced in 2005 and was created by an Act of Congress as a result of the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), although it isn’t formally apart of the AUSFTA. The E-3 visa applies only to Australian citizens who are employed in a specialty occupation, which means that Australians are no longer required to compete with other nationalities for H-1B visas.
The definition of a ‘specialty occupation’ is one that requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the speciality (or its equivalent). (The definition is the same as for H-1B visas.) It isn’t sufficient that an E-3 applicant holds a particular degree, but the job itself must also require a bachelor-level or higher qualification or its equivalent in terms of experience, or a combination of experience and bachelor level credits (If you don’t meet these criteria, please contact us and we’ll do our best to assist you).
You need a job offer from a US-based employer before you can apply for an E-3 visa. Change of visa status to E-3 isn’t possible if you entered the country under the Visa Waiver. An E-3 visa is usually issued for two years at a time but can be extended indefinitely in two-year increments. You can change your employer when you are in the US (for more information, please contact us).
The E-3 visa is similar in many respects to the H-1B. Important differences include the fact that the spouse of an E-3 visa holder may work or study in the US without restrictions (unlike other US non-immigrant visas). The spouse and children (under age 21) of the main applicant aren’t required to be Australian citizens and spouses of E-3 visa holders are entitled to an E-3D (dependant) visa and work authorization, which doesn’t need to be in a speciality occupation.
GetMeaVisa are happy to answer any questions you might have so please give us a call on: +44 (0)207 0784 127 or alternatively use the call request form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!