E3 visa FAQ

Wow, I’ve really been inundated with emails from visitors to my weblog asking about the E3 Visa. I’ve done the best I can in answering everyone’s questions but now it’s gotten so frequent (particularly in the last couple of months) that I just decided to just post up this FAQ up. Most of the information I provide here is available from government sites and other blog/FAQs, but here I’ll answer for you in Layman’s terms.
Please remember I’m not an immigration lawyer and I don’t take any responsibility for the correctness of any of the info I just provided. Read at your own will!
If your question isn’t answered here, please feel free to send me an email, but please remember I am a really busy guy but will do my best to answer your question in a timely manner.

I’d like to thank all the people who have helped me keep this information up to date including applicants and immigration lawyers.

Best of luck to everyone
These are the most common questions asked (last update April 24 2010):

1. Who qualifies for an E3 visa?
An E3 visa can be granted to an “Australian Citizen” whom has found a sponsor for employment in the United States. The job must be categorized as a “specialty occupation”. This term is a little vague but it generally goes for professionals such as IT occupations, Engineeering, Medical Professionals, etc. Typically a bachelor’s degree from a credited university or equivalent work experience is required (3 years experience for every year of education lacking). The speciality occupation category is the same as that defined for the H1b visa.

2. How long does the whole process take?
Typically from what I’ve seen from others who have successfully attained an E-3, It takes about 3-4 weeks. That said, mine has taken approximately 3 months, but I had a special case as mine underwent administrative processing.

3. What is the process?
Well, first thing is first, and go and find yourself a sponsor!
Let them know that you are Australian and are eligible for one of those nice and cheap E3s (compared to H1bs).
Second, you or your employer (most likely employer) will need to lodge a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US dept of Labor. This is form ETA 9035 and MUST be annotated with the words: “E-3 – Australia – to be processed”. You should have your LCA returned to you within 7 days. If the employer’s FEIN has not been verified by filing an LCA in the past, it can take longer.
It seems you can do this online now and receive your LCA immediately at http://www.lca.doleta.gov/
Once you have your LCA, you then make an apointment with the US consulate and apply for the E3 visa. Depending on which consulate you go to, you should make your appointment as soon as you get your LCA as the wait times (especially in Sydney) are super long, and you may need to wait up to a month before you actually attend your appointment.
At your appointment, you must not forget to bring with you the following:
1. Your LCA
2. A completed visa application (DS-160)
3. The letter of job offer from your employer
4. Evidence of Academic or equivalent qualification (typically your bachelors degree)
5. Evidence of ties to your country, e.g. Real Estate, Family, Educational, Financial ties etc.
6. 2 passport sized photos (American passport photos are (5x5cm)
7. Your current Passport
8. A reciept from Australia Post saying that you paid the “US non-immigrant visa fee”
9. A self addressed stamped envelope (preferably registered post) for the return of your passport

ok, phew so after all that! If all goes well in your appointment, you might be lucky enough for them to tell you to come and pick up your passport the next day with the visa in it.

4. Is the visa dual intent? Can I apply for Permanent Residency/Green card later?
“Technically”..No! That said, if you speak to an immigration lawyer, they maybe able to accommodate you by knowing the specifics of your case. Generally, you must provide evidence that Australia is your No.1, and that you intend to return to it once employment ceases. I had family, educational, and financial ties to show as evidence of my intent to return. Usually a statement to the consulate officer is sufficient.

5. Well, can I switch to H1b from E3?
You are going to have to do some great convincing to your employer though on why they should switch you from a cheap E3 to an expensive H1B but technically yes you can. In fact I have done this after my E-3 visa expired.

6. How long is it valid for?
The visa expires after 2 years but it is indefinetly renewable, so as long as your employer is willing to sponsor you, you can potentially stay as long as you like. (But forget about residency!)

7. How do you find a job?
Well, it’s about the same way you would back in Australia. So whatever approach you would use there, it’s the same way here :)
Just ring around, research your industry, find those companies that would be desperate for your ‘special skills’ and get in contact with them. Might even be worthwhile giving the US a visit.
Be weary of agents who claim that they can help you with this. Make sure you research any company or agent thoroughly before signing anything.

8. Is it possible to work freelance with this Visa?
I seriously doubt it! Although I can’t find any official information on this regarding the E-3, I’m taking an educated guess!
Since the E3 practically follows 90% of the rules and regulations governing the H1B…
Under H1B, the visa holder MUST ONLY WORK for the sponsoring employer and MUST ONLY do the job duties specified in the visa petition. Under H1B, You can however change employers by having the new employer file an I-129. The I-129 (Petition for non-immigrant worker) also just happens to be the same form used to extend an E-3 visa and the same details regarding your employer, work, qualifications must be submitted again.
E-3D (E-3 dependent) visa holders however are entitled to work without restriction once they have successfully filed and received a work permit (form I-765).
It is often annotated on your E-3 visa who your sponsoring employer is.

9. How do you transfer an E3 visa from one employer to the next?
To be honest, not 100% sure cause there is still currently a lack of information on it. However, if it is anything like the H1-B process (which it likely is), then all you would need to do is to tell your new sponsor to apply for a visa transfer which will likely involve filling out a form I-539 (change nonimmigrant status) and maybe a new I-129 (Petition for Non-Immigrant worker). You will probably need to obtain a new LCA too. All you need then is your current I-94 and a few pay stubs from your original sponsor. You wouldn’t need permission from your original sponsor.
Unfortunately though, one thing is for certain, and that is that portability provisions do not apply to E-3 holders so unlike the H1-B you can’t move to a new employer until you have a new E-3 approved.
If you change employers or renew the E-3 with USCIS in the US, you need to file an I-129 (petition for non-immigrant worker) and I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) for family members.

10. How did you qualify for the visa?
I am currently a motion picture digital effects specialist (Technical Director). I use to work for one of Australia’s leading post-production houses. When I first filed for my E-3, I had a job offer with a major digital effects company in Los Angeles to work on the feature film “Beowulf”.

11. Can you change status to E-3 after entering on the visa waiver program?
No!, you can’t change status to any visa on the visa waiver program. You must leave the country.

12. How long should you wait before re-applying for an E3 visa if denied?
If you were denied your visa, you may re-apply for the visa any time you wish. You should only re-apply if the circumstances that had you denied in the first place has changed, or if you have additional information that was missing last time. If you were denied due to lack of proof showing ties to your country, then it might be a good idea to hang around for a bit before re-applying. You will need to pay a new application fee.

13. How long can you stay in the US after you have quit/lost your job, and do you have time to transfer to a new employer?
You have 10 days to depart the US after termination of employment. I think it’s difficult to get a visa transfered within 10 days as it should usually take around the same time as it did when you applied for one in the first place. The only way I see this working is if you had a new job lined up before you quit your old one, and thus began the transfer process well before you actually quit your first job. This is how some of my friends on H1-b have gone about it.

14. What is administrative processing, and why did the consulate not give me my visa?
Unfortunately, I know all about this one, as it’s happened to me not once, but twice!
Administrative processing is a blanket term for “background checks” on the applicant. Something in your application may have triggered it, and I don’t know specifically but my guess from experience is that it could be something as simple as a “name check”, a “dual citizenship”, whatever..
The Consulate needs to clear any conflicts before issuing you a visa. Funnily enough, the system is so bureaucratic that it doesn’t matter if you’ve gone through it once before, each case is considered a “new case”, so if you’ve had to go through it once, then sadly you will most likely have to go through it again the next time you apply for a visa.

15. How long does administrative processing take?
When I applied for my E-3 in early 2006, it took 6 weeks, the second time when I applied for my H1-B in late 2008, it took 4 months!
There seems to be no real schedule for how long this process takes. I’m sorry.

16. Is there anything I can do to speed up my administrative processing?
Unfortunately no. Some people however claim that consulting with a local congressional representative seems to help out but I can’t verify this nor do I advise it (in case it could make matters worse).

Anyway, I’ll keep adding to this post as more questions keep coming up! I hope this helps a bit! If you found this post helpfull, then leave a nice little comment will ya? :)

Also, if you have any updates or notice any misleading information on this FAQ, I would appreciate an email so that I can update accordingly.

….oh yes, and this is all subject (and likely) to change in the future, so don’t come back in 5 years and tell me I was wrong.

A link to previous E3 post!

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157 thoughts on “E3 visa FAQ”

  1. I am on e-3 visa and currently working for an employer.I got permannet job offer from some other employer.Can i change the emploers?if so can you please tell me the procedure?

  2. I am in the midst of arranging my E-3 now. I have a question that I cannot find an answer for.

    Did you have to show proof of a return airfare? or what type of airfare did you buy, one-way.

    Please advise (or anyone else out there that knows this).


  3. I have a question: If I need to change job after I get the E-3, do I have to go thru the whole thing again getting the new employer to agree on sponsering me? You mentioned it in your article, but I am still not quite clear about it.
    Please help

  4. Wagar,
    I would think Getting the job is more of a common sense approach than technical.
    Practically, you need to “test” the market in your field of work in the location you want & stick to it but be flexible, ie LA preferred but would consider Southern California. You may have to holiday there & seek an interview whilst there armed with the knowledge that your market/skills are in demand.
    Make sure you use recruitment agencies beforehand that you know would be interested in you. Tell them you will organise the visa as its so straight forward. Try not to emphasise on the visa process as employers shy away with too much detail. A keen recruitment agency will arrange an interview with a prospective employer within 24 hrs if u r the right one irrespective of visa status.Make sure you have hotmail Resume available to issue to Recruitment company whilst there & while you wait for the decision enjoy the holiday.
    Just an idea but may work.

  5. I have an E3 and am sponsored in a specialty occupation. Do you know if it is possible to work freelance with this Visa? If you have your sponsoring Employer’s blessing and are not intending to work outside of the specialty field and your employer is encouraging it, is this allowed?

  6. I find your website adequately covers E3 queries – good work indeed! While these help to understand E3 and its perspectives, many including myself tried to reveal the secret of having an employer sponsorship. Since you can’t give away all your top secrets, perhaps you may give us a clue.

  7. 8. A reciept from Australia Post saying that you paid the “US non-immigrant visa fee”

    this probably a dumb question but what do you take to the post office to pay for this fee? the Application form?

  8. Hi faze_2
    My immediete family resides in Australia and this would usually be considered sufficient as a tie to Australia. I also have educational ties. Usually a statement to the consulate officer is sufficient.


  9. Appt at US Consulate is a very lengthy. You can apply fore an expediated interview. Reduces the wait to smasller time but musty have a valid reason eg employer wants u to start asap

  10. What a nice FAQ! You pretty much answered all my questions in one hit. I don’t know why the government websites don’t have such a detailed and well explained FAQ!
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us Yasser


  11. Hi Yaseer,
    A very good website indeed. A couple of questions for you:
    * I have been told by my employer that there needs to be some evaluation process for my educational qualification and they are doing it right now, do you know how long this takes and if the LCA is dependant on this?
    * In your FAQ you had mentioned that LCA should be back to you by 6 weeks, is that dependant on the state? also is there any priority processing on that?

  12. Hi Deepak
    The LCA is just a government process to check that your employer will be paying you the prevailing wages of a US Citizen and to demonstrate they don’t intend to hire cheap labor from overseas. It has nothing to do with the actual visa verification process.
    All the prerequisites for the visa are checked on the spot when you make your appointment at the consulate.
    It’s recommended that you demonstrate that your qualifications are equivalent to the corresponding certifications you would get in the United States. I don’t however believe this is so necessary if you have a bachelor or higher degree from an accredited university in Australia. The process of having your qualifications analyzed by a 3rd party assessor shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks.
    Also I believe the LCA is now verified immediately online and no longer takes up to 6 weeks (old manual way).

  13. Kat,

    I found return tickets to be cheaper than one way tickets anyway unless you find something with China Air or many stops on the way to the US.

    Best proof that you are temporary is to show bank statements, assets, family and be prepared to be grilled :)

    And I’m in the US right now applying for jobs. Most people only know the H1-B visa and you have to educate them on the whole E-3 visa and how it works and the bonus of no financial costs involved.
    So you need to convince them and make it sound like a breeze.

    Good luck to everyone trying to apply.

  14. I currently live in New York and am in an L1 visa. I’m going to try switch to an E3 because it’s great to be able to renew indefinitely. If you ever want to apply for residency you can switch to a H1B which will allow you to apply for residency. (my company retains the best immigration attorneys in new york so i’ve got the skinny if anyone needs further info)

  15. I’m an Australian citizen, but was born in the UK (have EC passport), and grew up in NZ (had NZ passport, too). Can non-Australian born, Australian citizens apply for E3 visas?


  16. I came in the US on an E3 visa in July. last week my employment was terminated on a one day notice leaving me with 10 days to find an employer to transfer my E3 to.
    My question is how long does it take to process the transfer of an E3 visa to a different employer? Because if it takes more than 10 days then it is basically impossible to do the transfer after termination of employment.

  17. I think it’s difficult to get a visa transfered within 10 days. It should actually take around the same time as it did when you applied for one in the first place. The only way I see this working is if you had a new job lined up before you quit your old one, and thus began the transfer process well before you actually quit your first job. This is how some of my friends on H1-b have gone about it.

  18. Hi Yasser,

    I saw that you had to undergo ‘administrative processing’ i am in the same situation and so far its been 3 months, with no indication of how much longer it will go on. i was wonderinbg if you found a way to track your case?

  19. hey

    Well im applying for the E3 visa and i have a question about the DS-156 visa application form.

    Qestion 26. How Long Do You Intend To Stay in The U.S.?

    what do you put there if you dont know how long you’ll be staying, what would be a safe anwser?

    And also after being on the E3 visa for 6yrs can switch over to apply for green card or do i need to switch to a H1B visa in order to get a green card? thanks

  20. Hi Yaseer,
    Just wanted to let you know that I got my E3 visa no problemo … no questions asked… I was a bit surprised …. hoooray ! thanks heaps for all your help, I have lost count of the number of times I have visited your website to date.


  21. hey Yaseer
    i am already in america on a student scholarship, what would be the process to get en e-3 visa because i cant have an interview. would that be a problem?

  22. Hi Charles
    Yes, that’s a problem, you have to apply for the E-3 outside the US.

    From: http://canberra.usembassy.gov/consular/visa-e3.html

    Q: Can I go to the U.S. to find a job and then apply for the E-3 visa from there?
    A: No. You cannot apply for an E-3 visa from within the U.S.

    Q: Can I apply for an E-3 visa from outside Australia?
    A: Yes. You can apply at any U.S. Embassy or Consulate which processes nonimmigrant petition-based visas, but you cannot apply from within the U.S.


  23. hey

    I recently accepted a job offer from an american employer. Currently they are getting my paper work sorted. The contarct they have offered me has a “at will” clause in the employment duration term which says i have to provide them two weeks notice before quitting. I dont know how american system works, but in australia my employer has to provide me four weeks notice before termination, and I have to do likewise.
    I will be check with some professional before accepting this position once I get all the documents but how would you rate the situation is on ground in america with regards to hiring and firing. I mean a permanenet or contract position is pretty stable in australia.


  24. hi yasser,
    I am a overseas born Aus Citizen,I am a Masters in IT which I completed in 2005,since then ,however,I am not working in IT.At this stage I have a Job offer and sponsor in US for E3.

    What are my chances of getting the Visa as I am not working in the field currently.

    What documents do I need to show as a evidence of my intent to return to Australia.

    Plz help me with these.
    thanks in advance!

  25. Hi Yasser and all…

    I am just collating all my documentation together for my E3 (still looking for work, but I will be in the states at the end of this year). I have two questions if anyone is able to help:

    1. I don’t have a University degree, but I have 13-odd years of work experience as well as industry certifications (IT related, MCSE, MCNE etc). What kind of documentation will I need to bring to prove the “academic or work experience”? I have a number of written references, my resume and my certification proof.

    2. If I can’t get a job offer before I leave Australia, I plan to get the E3 visa in Toronto like a number of others. Does anyone know the average wait time for an interview?

    Thanks in advance

  26. Hey Paul

    I suggest you bring absolutely everything you got. Your certifications, your CV, and references from previous employers, a portfolio if you have one. The more the merrier!
    The US values education more than experience, so you really need to dig through whatever you have to outweigh the bachelors degree.

    I don’t know about Toronto, but the average wait times in Sydney are between 2-4 weeks for an appointment. I would think Toronto is comparable.


  27. Hi Paul,

    Thought I’ll contribute to this forum as I obtained my E3 visa from Toronto.

    The wait time there is approximately 7-10 weeks as we speak for an interview but you usually get your E3 approved and picked up the next day – unless they have to do the DS-157 search on you. Now that could take a few weeks or months depending how quick it goes through Homeland.

    Like Yasser mentioned, bring your certifications etc but I would advise that you have them scanned on a memory stick as well. Depending where your point of entry is in the US, customs may choose to be difficult. I’ve heard of people who have travelled here for leisure but were put on the next plane home when resumes and certificates were found in their luggage. (That sort of gave away their intentions of “travelling for pleasure” to that of “looking for a job”)…so you need to be careful there.

    US do value their education more than experience, usually a Bachelors’ is all you need but they are fair as well, they will take your industry experience + your other certifications in place of a Bachelors’. The rule of thumb would be 3 years of work experience to 1 year of Bachelors’ study. Where you work and the content of your work with relavance to your new US job would also be taken into account.

    Hope this helps. It’s not a hard process to get E3, you just need to throw in a few pounds of patience in there!


  28. Hi Yasser,
    I have 6+ years work experience in my specialty and a 3 year B. Arts degree (non-related) from an Australian university. I’m expecting to apply for my interview in Sydney in the next couple of weeks – would you recommend I get an education evaluation?
    Thanks in advance.

  29. Hey All,
    I went to American consulate in melbourne for E3 interview and got a letter 221(g) saying the visa is suspended and more information is required. Basically what the dude interviewing said was i am happy with your credentials but the American company hiring you seems be dodgy, and now they required more information about the employer. So I was handed this check list of documents that the employer has to provide.
    Did someone else had similar experience?
    I am happy with the outcome though as I was in doubt about the employer which i found through seek. Even tough they answered all my queries but the list of doco’s consulate asked for is very thorough and leaves no room for dodgy companies.
    I recommend people spending time researching about the company they are going to as Ive found on the internet that there have been numerous companies hiring people and dint have projects for people being hired or people not been payed full prevaling wages and so on.
    It’ll be a shame to quit present job and have to come back in few weeks as company is not what you thought it would be.

    I will post about the progress of my application, but if someone has some other information about this please post it.


  30. Can the employer for e3 purposes be an australian company set up in the us with a subsidiary . Also is there any room to set up your own company if you are trying to start up a business and employ yourself under an e3 visa ? does any one know a good imigration advisor in Sydney ?

  31. Hi Tom
    What do you mean by Australian company? Do you mean a company with it’s parent company in Australia, and a satellite in the US? If so, then I see no reason why that company couldn’t sponsor an E3 candidate.
    Bear in mind though that the sponsoring companies are also under scrutinization when applying for an E3 and will probably be investigated.

  32. Hi Yasser,

    I hv completed B.SC(computer science) a 3 year bachelor degree , MCSD(C#.Net) stream, and has 6yrs+ experience in IT Industry. I got sponser, he sent my credentials to US evaluators( i think academic), they evaluated to 3 yr. US equivalent study.

    is it possible to show work experience in lieu of education( from my case its one year), I went thru e3 guidelines, its clearly written that in absence of academic qualifications, applicant can show part of or full work experience in lieu of education.

    I was evaluated by WES , they clearly mentioned on the website, that they only do academic evaluation. Do u know any other evaluators who will do academic and professional evaluation?

    Please help me, im worried much.


  33. Hello,

    I am reading alot of people experiencing wait times of weeks to months. Are you able to commence your job while you wait for the interview, and if not, are US employers willing to wait for you to have your visa approved?

    A poster above mentioned a wait time of 7-10 weeks in Toronto. I’m just worried that if I was offered a position, the wait times will create a problem with the employer.


  34. Greetings

    Firstly I’m just a developer (well ok I think I’m more than just a developer but you get my meaning) and not associated with the company I’m about to mention. I dont get anything from them for this!

    Ok now that the disclaime is over. For those serious bout E3’s you MAY want to check out management companies that will basically do all the leg work for you. I use a management company here in Oz for tax reasons anyway so using one in the US shouldn’t be any different. One that I’ve found (currently investigating my situation now) is CXCUSA.com (they have an Oz office here too for normal Aussie contractors cxc.com.au). The core advantage as I see it they do all the work (yeah you’ll pay a bit but seems reasonable) and they have job agencies lined up in the US already. So my take is that I’ll get them to get my first job (you decide everything though) then once there act like a local. Oh btw because they are the sponsoring company you can act like an independant contractor moving between jobs as you would here! couldn’t hack being a full timer!!! Arrhhh

    Anyway thought this info might be useful given no-ones talked about sponsoring companies and the benefits thereof… (DISCLAIMER: I’ve not signed up with them yet – still investigating…. IF/WHEN I do I might add a new post to let you know how well it went)

    Oh and if anyone knows of similar companies LET US KNOW!!!

  35. My sister is a Chinese-Australian. She is going to travel to US holding a B-2 Visa.

    How long will she be allowed to stay in the US? She booked a round way tickets for 85 days’stay. But she just applied 3 weeks on the Form DS156. Will the immigration officer at the port of entry(LA)find out the differences?

    She wanted to have more time and get her E-3 done.

    Thank you for any response.

  36. HI,
    First of all I would like to congratulate Yasser for this blog. It is really useful. I am planning to relocate to USA on an E3 (Systems Analyst with 8+ years of IT experience with a Masters). Most of my doubts/concerns were cleared after going through this blog. I am left with some questions in relation to the E3 dependant. My questions/dounts are below:
    1. After landing in USA and after applying EAD for the E3 dependant, can he/she come back to AUS and continue working? As the wait period for getting an EAD is more than 3 months and instead of sitting idle in USA and wait for the EAD can he/she come back to AUS and work until EAD comes through. Once they have this EAD they can go back and start applying for jobs. Is this possible?
    2. As E3 visa is an employer based, what happens to the EAD of the dependant, once the primary visa holder decides to change the employer?
    Do they have to apply for the EAD again? Any ideas?

    I would appreciate the time and help of any one who knows any thing about these issues.

    Thank you.


  37. Hi guys,

    I went to American consulate in melbourne today for E3 interview and got a letter 221(g) saying the visa is suspended and more paper work is required from the employer. Did anybody else face the same situation? If so, how did you go about it?


  38. That’s odd. Did you get the letter after your interview? Did the interviewer indicate to you how things were going to turn out?

    Do you have a degree? I have a BA in Philosophy and my employer had to get an “Education Consultant” to analyse my work experience and conclude that I had the equivalent of a Masters in IT as that’s the field I’ll be working in.

    Perhaps this is the sort of backing evidence they’re looking for?

  39. Yes you can go in to the States on a B1/B2 and then transfer to the E3 visa (if you pay a $1000 USD fast process fee, it can be done within 10 days). Also if you are using Canada to process your E3 visa (instead of flying back to Australia) make sure you chose a smaller US consult i.e. Ottawa, Quebec etc as wait time can be within 48 hours…instead of six weeks! Your sponsor can lease or hire you out to another client, the H1B guidelines do not apply to the E3. A way around the 10 day rule is to be sponsored by a Managed company who hire you to end clients, if the project is terminated or ends, you are placed on unpaid leave (limit of up to 30 days) until a new contract is put in place. Have a look at http://www.cxcusa.com they are Australian owned and operated. Hope this helps!! Cheers

  40. Hi,

    I have been in the States working with my E3 since MArch. My husband has been waiting about 6 weeks for his “work Permit’ to be able to work as a dependant. I have accessed the website to monitor the progress and see that they are still procesing dependant permits that were lodged in JAnuary. Is there any way of speeding the process up?


  41. Hey, Thanks for all the info..its awesome…I’m an AU citizen in the US on an E3 visa. I want to change my job…..What is the procedure for E3 renewal, if i have a employer lined up? Do i need to go out of US to get my visa renewed? This is ASAP..appreciate a prompt response..Thanks mate!


  42. Hi Yasseer,

    I am Australian(of Indian Orgin) Professional working on E3 Visa. I am getting married next month, My finance is of indian orgin too and holds an Indian Passport.

    Can you please suggest, how to apply from India for a E-3D?

    The default online Appointment system in Chennai, India only shows H4 spouses link right now. Can you please specify the process steps to follow. Appreciate All Responses/Suggestions.
    I am hoping that you can answer this query…Thanks a lot in advance…

    Best Regards Mate

  43. Your website is very informative…thanks for doing this….U are doing a great deed for all australians abroad…

    Please don’t do spell check on my prev message, I know..sorry.Mis-spelled many.. 😉

  44. Hi,I am facing the same situation.I am on E3 and getting married early next year so how should i approach for E3d as there is nothing give on the web site to take appointment and all.Please reply if someone knows about it.


  45. Hi All,
    Two questions, can anybody help? Thanks a lot!

    How much tax do I (under E-3 visa ) have to pay out of my pocket if the salary is $50,000.00 per year?

    How much tax money does my employer( located in Chicago) have to pay for me?

    I was told it should be 30-40% of the gross income. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to make a living there. Is it true?

    Thank you very much for your help!

  46. Hi All,
    Would you know the process for tax while on a E-3 visa? I have read a small article about a treaty tax exemption which means you dont pay tax here in the US but will pay the tax in AUS and also get some tax benefits for it ! I know the tax rates are higher in AUS but from what I could understand it read as if it would be beneficial to do this….any ideas?

    Thank you,

  47. Hi All

    I’m in the US on the visa waiver program, and used the time to find a job. It’s all working out very well and I just got the E3 interview booked in Dublin, Ireland. The wait times there are very short (6 days for appointment, 2 days to process), and it’s not too expensive to fly there from the US.

    You can see the wait times for the various US embassies here:



  48. Hello –

    Has anyone had to renew their E3 yet ? I just wondered what the process was to get it renewed since my visa – (and my passport!) is coming up for expiry soon.


  49. My E3 has expired, but my company switched me over to H1-B which involves a completely new application. I’m not sure what the deal is with renewing an E-3, but that’s a good question, and I’d be interested to know if anyone has done it yet.

  50. I have a job offer (in writing) from an Engineering Company in Colorado. The thing is that I do not have a 4 year degree. Not even close! I have a Trade, Engineering Certificate (TAFE) and a Diploma in Engineering. I have about 9 years work experience in the Engineering industry. I went through one of those education assessement organisations and all they gave me was en equivalency to an Associates Degree.

    I have just finished with my appointment at the Sydney Consulate. I would have been there about 1-1/2 hours. The Consulate visit was straight forward and we were approved! Our visas will come in 2-5 days.

    My advice to people is, just because you do not have a degree, just take a chance…

  51. Hello,

    Does anyone know what documentation is required to prove “sufficient ties to Australia” if applying for the E3 visa outside of Australia?

    I am in the US and have all the paper work prepared. I fly to London next week for my visa appointment. I am worried that I might get rejected in London and told I have to fly back to Australia to apply for my E3 visa.

    Has anyone applied for their E3 visa in London and can share their experiences with me?


  52. I would just go to Sydney to have the interview…

    They never checked my education, work history or ask for proof of sufficiant ties to Australia.

    I got the actual Visas in the mail the following day!

    I would be keen to know what the re-newal process is like.

    Why did you go to H-1 Yasser? You can now go for Green Card if you choose.

  53. I was bought into the US on an E3 by a large recruiting company in Houston, they were to contract me out as an Electrical Engineer.

    I got here and the project I was to be employed on fell through.

    I’ve been here 2 months now and have received no work and have been told I will not receive pay till I do.

    Is this legal?

  54. Hi Chris,

    My husband and I just got our E3 and E3D visa.
    For sufficient ties to Australia we had letters from family proving that we had family ties and stating that we would eventually return to Oz.
    We also had a letter from my husband’s previous employer saying that they would again hire him.
    If you had property in Oz that would also help to demonstrate that you would return.

    We had so much paper work and they only looked at my husband’s job offer letter! Be well prepared though. As long as you have all your documents you won’t be rejected.

    Friends of mine applied for the E3 in london and then moved to the states. They had no problems at all.

    My husband and I applied in the Bahamas.

    Good luck!


  55. HI iam living in aus and iam a aus citizen.. i would like to apply e3
    asap but the issue is i lready applied h1b in 2006 whose result is
    still unknown..i called us embassy and been told that it will still
    take more time.. my ? is ..can i apply e3 having my h1b still under
    process..even if i did wat affect will my h1b impose on my e3..thank
    you.. and what are the costs for e3 visa..

  56. Very comprehensive blog. Good to see someone in the same industry was successful in obtaining work in CA. (I’m a cameraman/editor, coincidentally also born Nov 9!)

    I’m about to apply for an E3. I understand you need to provide evidence that you are going to return to Australia eventually ie that it is your #1.

    I’ve also recently entered an application into the 2009 DV (Diversity Visa) lottery, purely as a backup.

    Have I shot myself in the foot? ie if I put in my E3 app and the Dept of Immigration sees that I’ve entered the DV lottery, do you think they might suspect I have intention to remain permanently, jeapordising my chance of an APPROVED status?

  57. Does anyone know if it is possible for an Australian citizen that is currently in the USA on a B-2 visa to apply for an E-3 visa in Canada? or is it better to go back to Australia for the application?

  58. Hi yaser

    I am Ramya. I did Bachelor of Commerce Degree in India and I did Graduate Diploma of Information Systems Management in Australia and I got Au Citizen and I got 3 plus years of experience in IT.Could you please tell me whether I am elgible for E3 Visa.

    Thanks in advance. Your site is really helpful.


  59. hey ramya,
    Yes. But you need to apply for a job in usa first. once you have offer letter then. you can apply for e3. since you are an au citizen you are eligible for all the rights that au citizen have

  60. FYI: Switching or changing jobs.

    You can change your status with USCIS however (according to my lawyers) this takes about three months. Given this is considerably longer than the wait times for new visas the consensus seems to be to apply for a new E-3. Clearly this may change if the quota becomes tight.

    The other thing is that according to the immigration officer yesterday (early 2008) the ‘intent’ to return to Australia is soft. “We hope you’ll stay for several years”.

    I’m on my second E-3 (as of yesterday), there were no issues at all (I applied first in London and now in Canada). Just be honest, we should consider it a privilge to be able to work in this way in the US. I’ve met a few people who have suggested they’ll round up on their experience to get this visa, don’t.

    The fact that Australia hasn’t reciprocated this visa is terrible. (I’d like to hear why)


  61. Chris,

    I have a quick question regarding getting a new E-3 instead of applying for a transfer. I am in a situation where my current E-3 has NOT expired and would like to work for a new employer. Thus, I would like to apply for a 2nd (new) E-3 since transferring the first E-3 to a new employer takes too long. But since my first E-3 has no expired, can I apply for a 2nd one?



  62. hey yasser,
    i have a question. i have an E-3 visa with an X company and i had entered the country with that. Now i come to know that they cant help me with the technology that i am interested. I found a new employer Y who just suits me. Is it easy to just approach that employer and ask him to get me on board with him or do i have to leave the country and re-enter with Y company’s documentation? can u please let me know how will a transfer work in my case?

  63. have a question. i have an E-3 visa with an X company and i had entered the country with that. Now i come to know that they cant help me with the technology that i am interested. I found a new employer Y who just suits me. Is it easy to just approach that employer and ask him to get me on board with him or do i have to leave the country and re-enter with Y company’s documentation? can u please let me know how will a transfer work in my case?
    PS: just been in the country for 5 days

  64. Hi Guys
    I went for E3 visa interview at Melbourne few days ago. The Visa Officer (VO) did not ask many questions. He asked do I have family members in US and asked for their details. Then he asked if I hold any other country Passport.
    After just 2 questions he said he will send the application for clearance from Washington and gave me 221(g). On the form he simply wrote Admin Processing?
    He then returned our passports and said the consulate will contact us.
    Does anyone have any idea how the security clearance takes?
    Are we likely to get the visa after the security checks?
    Will they call us again to get more information or to ask questions?
    Please respond. Thanks

  65. Hi Ramya (and any other IT guys keen to get to the U.S)

    We are keen to speak to any Software Developers interested in working for Microsoft HQ in Redmond, WA. USA. Interviews to be held in Sydney in March 2008! We also have a requirement for Java/J2EE developers for a Consulting company in California plus SAP/Oracle roles for companies right across the U.S.

    We have recently launched our new website http://www.growusa.com.au so any interested Australian candidates, please apply directly to info@growusa.com.au or call me directly on 0424 177 944.

    Please note ALL candidates must be eligible for the E-3 visa ie. Australian citizens + a Degree (or U.S equivalent)

    All the best!

    Rachael Hitch

  66. Does any one know why VO did not ask any questions regarding job etc?
    Are we likely to get the visa after the security checks?
    Will they call us again to get more information or to ask questions?

  67. Hi guys

    Some good news and sorry for the short notice! If you’re looking for an IT job in the USA, here’s your chance!

    Our partner, an IT Staffing and Recruiting firm based in Manhattan, New York is visiting Sydney from Feb 4th-8th to interview interested candidates face-to-face! This company works mainly with end-clients which include Fortune 500 companies in the Investment Banking, Insurance, Pharmaceutical and Biotech sector.

    They are now looking to expand and are seeking IT Professionals from Australia who wish to pursue opportunities within the United States.

    The people they are looking to bring on should be IT professionals with experience in the following fields:

    • C++
    • C#
    • .Net
    • Peoplesoft, ERP
    • Java J2EE Developers
    • DBA’s/SQL Oracle
    • SAP Tech/Functional Consultants
    • Mainframe developers
    • Informatica, ETL
    • BI Technology and Business Objects

    The successful candidates will have at least 2-3 years commercial experience and excellent communication skills!

    All candidates must qualify for an E-3 visa (Australian citizen + Degree or U.S equivalent)

    They will be holding Information Sessions:
    Sydney Feb 6th & 7th from 3-6pm – Please email us for venue details info@growusa.com.au

    Sound interesting??! To secure your interview, please contact us either via email or you can call Rachael on 0424 177 944.

    Rachael Hitch

  68. Hi there, I am on E3 visa and currently working for a compay A.. but about 4 months ago compay B offered me a better deal and I asked them to have my visa transferred with company B and it is still pending. I am still working for company A, my visa transfer processing is taking so long and i don’t want wait for it… I am still working for company A and I hold a valid visa until march 2009… so, what happens if I withdraw the visa transfer process with company B… will my visa be still valid until march 2009 with company A? pls let me know

  69. Hi all,

    I currently work as an IT contractor for a global company which there headquarters resides here in Oz. They have an office in the US. I still would like to continue to work for them but reside in the US. Is it possible if they can sponsor me to work in the US and still get paid under the Oz tax system? Then at least I can still be technically self-employed (less-tax, higher pay rate). Is it like the same thing as sending a Sales Rep to another country for a year to drum up some business? If so, do I still need a E-3 visa?

  70. I checked out Visa Wait Times webpage

    Typical Wait Time (Workdays**) for a Nonimmigrant Visa To Be Processed****:
    The Bahamas, Nassau is 2 days
    Canada, Vancouver is 4 days
    Canada, Ottawa/Toronto is 2 days
    Canada, Quebec is 1 days
    Japan, Osaka/Kobe is 2 days
    Mexico, Mexico City is 7 days


    It makes a difference on which city you choose to process your visa. Bahamas sounds nice! Does anyone would like to share there visa experiences at any of these locations?

  71. Hi Guys
    I applied for E3 at Melbourne on 17th Jan. The application was sent to Washington for Security clearance. And today 20th Feb I have received letter from US Consulate that Visa is approved.
    I have Pakistan and Aus passports. So in my experience it took 4 weeks to get clearance from US.

  72. Hi all,
    Been at US consulate in melbourne twice, first i was given form 221g (need more company from employer) but the employer told they need some one ASAP and second time all documents were fine but the interviewer said that i was unqualified as i dont have any IT experience. If anyone want’s to look at the form’s mail me at shilpa06s@yahoo.com

    Goodluck all,

  73. Hi,
    I had my interview in melbourne on 21 feb and the officer at the consulate said that i was not qualified as i had retail background with no IT experience. But i have graduation diploma in computer science and had an offer letter from a reputed company who was willing to give me a position, may be the officer didnt feel like giving me a visa (waste of $$$).

  74. Hi,
    Went to the melbourne consulate for e3,VO gave me 221 g form for employer verification and authenticity.He told me he doesnt have any other problems .
    How long does the melbourne consulate normally take to respond to these sorrt of things once they receive the documents.

  75. Hi Guys,

    Any similar case like mine.

    I am an Indian national with Austrlian passport holder.
    It’s been only 3.5 months since I acquired AU passport.
    3 months back I have appeard for H1b interview at Sydney but my case gone into 221(g), administrative processing required without any specific reason. My case is still pending.
    4. Now I was planning to appear for E3 with different employer.

    What do you say my chances of approval considering my H1b is still in inquiry?
    Do you know anybody who has done this and any good ideas of passing this hurdle?


  76. Hi appeared for an interview for E3 on 22nd Feb and they issued me 221(g) and then the empl0yer sent all the docs within a week. And i went to the consulate the other day n its still pending. I am wondering if there is a time limit on how long u have to wait for this. Because its really frustrating. I had other options but had to put them on hold for this. And meanwhile another person who got offered a job in the same company as mine was issues 221(g) sent half the documents requested and got a letter saying its approved and funny thing is that they didnt even ask for her passport to be submitted at the time of interview. Ridiculous. I wonder how they work..

  77. Dpak- I am in the same boat as yours mate.From what I have heard,it might take anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months.They are hopeless.Please do let us if you hear anything

  78. Guys i got declined today saying the company and its beneficiaries do not satisfy conditions under section 212(n) and 212(t) anyway i am off to London as i already got my HSMP there ages ago.. Maybe a better option then goin to USA.. :)

  79. david dont worry mate.. well depends on how good the company is and it all depends on documents. i used to work for a MNC n went to so many countries and got visa without hesitation.. good luck buddy.. n cheers Yasir for this blog..

  80. Hi Yasir,
    First of all cheers for this blob.I am an Australian Citizen of Indian origin.I am planning to apply for E-3 visa.I am wondering how can prove that I will return back to Aus,as i dont have any family and property in Aus.

  81. I am in process of renewing my E3 visa. You need to send a $320 money order to the Vermont Service Centre with all the documents you would need to apply the first time, plus the new LCA and a new letter offering the continued employment. Im hoping it will arrive in less than the three month max wait.

  82. Hey Priyank,

    How You doin .I have same question. Did some one reply ? just wondring if u got any answer from anyone about the question u asked about ties to aus .

  83. Hey

    ATTENTION: Australians applying at consulates overseas

    Wait times for the visa interview are not correct on the dept of State website.

    I called London to book an interview – wait time according to Dept of State website – 15 days. Actual wait time – 6 weeks! Dublin wait time for interview is currently 30 days (not 13). And Canada – gah forget about it. I couldn’t find a consulate with a free appointment for interview for at least 6 weeks.

    Anyone with advice on the best place to get a fast interview date?

  84. Hi Guys,

    Has anyone else heard of non-degree qualified people getting the E-3? I have a 2yr IT Diploma, MCSE NT4/2000/2003/2008, Vmware, ITIL, Prince2 and 10 years experience.

    I am wondering if it’s worth exploring this option even with out a degree.

    Thanks in advance for your response.



  85. Deano: I got my E3 in March this year and have been working in LA as a visual effects artist since then. I don’t have a degree of any kind but I was able to demonstrate 14 years experience in the industry (you need a minimum of 12 years in your field if you don’t have a degree or a degree thats not closely related to what you do) and was approved on the spot, was here working a week later.

  86. Hi Alex. Thank you for your reply. That’s great to hear that experience counts. Hopefully I am successful like yourself in obtaining the E3.

    Good luck with your work in LA.



  87. Hi,
    I had got an offer letter from one company. Due to certain genuine reasons, i had to decline the offer. But right now, i feel that its time for me to join that company. But, how should i write the email stating this to those people?
    Could someone help me writing this mail…please?

  88. Thanks Yasser! I read your postings back in 2007 before I approached US Consulate in Melbourne. I live and work in New Jersey, with my family now. I am really grateful for all the tips! I followed all your advice to the letters! and they really helped, GREATLY.

  89. Has anyone in this nice and educative community has cause to change their employer mid way? i.e. before the expiration of the current E3 visa? I read that it involves getting new employer to get new LCA. However, it’s always handy to learn from those that had actually gone through this process! Thanks

  90. I’ d like to thank Yasser and everyone in this forum. I just went through the E3 process and here I am in the US working for a multinational. Thank you guys.

  91. Hi All,

    Am planning a trip to the States next year to do an Interview run and am wondering if it’s worth speaking to the Consulate here in Sydney first (to see if I qualify if I had a job offer) before spending $$$ on the trip. I have a Media diploma and 10 years experience editing commercials so am slightly concerned that because I don’t have a degree, I may not be eligible for an E3.

    Advice would be welcome.


  92. hey Alex. Very curious…where did you apply? what evidence did they require? Did they ask lots f tricky questions? Did you get an agency to doan equivolency formally before you applied? thanks heaps…

  93. Hi Yasser,

    Do you know how closely related the degree must be to the actual occupation in the US? I hold a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a major in Finance, but I have been working in supervisory/management food & beverage position with a well-known hotel. Do you think that this is ok? Please let me know so if I do need to get further education I can start looking into it. Thank you.

  94. hey Pamela

    I was talking to an ozzie whos over here in nyc the other day and he has a psychology degree but has been working in journalism. He asked the same question to the consulate in oz and they said it would be fine since he had a bachelors degree. You may like to phone them on their $8 a minute line and ask too? Note that he hasnt got the visa yet, but he’s still looking for a job.


  95. Hi everyone,

    *** PS: This is the same message i posted in another forum(Brainbox) ***

    I’m going for my visa interview on 5th september, for my E3 and my wife’s accomompanying me for her E3D.

    – Does anyone know what sort of questions they might be asking to an E3D applicant?

    – Also will it be OK if she travelled to her home town in India (she’s not an australian citizen) and later join me in the US (directly from India) after i have settled-in in the US?

    Any info will be greatly appreciated.



  96. Hi Mark,

    I am in a similar position as you. I have the 12+ years work experience but as a legal secretary and no diploma/degree.

    Can you let me know if you arranged an appointment to see anyone at the us embassy to ask if you would qualify?

    Do they allow you to arrange an appointment just to ask questions?

    I don’t want to waste an employer’s time if i am just going to get declined.


  97. Does anyone know what kind of evidence/documentation that we need to give to prove work experience? I have three year degree and experience in the industry. Do I need letters from employers confirming that I worked for them or is my resume sufficient?

  98. 1. H1b Interview date – Dec 11, 2007 – H1b 221(g) – Sydney US consulate
    2. Status change on 12 August 2008 and USCIS is reviewing case.
    3. Indian background and acquired AUS citizen in Nov 2007.


    Current Status: This case has been received from the State Department with a request we review it.

    On August 12, 2008, a USCIS office received this case from the State Department with a request that we review it. We will notify you when we complete our review, or if we need something from you. If you move while this case is pending, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address. You can also receive automatic e-mail updates as we process your case. To receive e-mail updates, follow the link below to register

    Any user with the similar case or idea of next step by USCIS?

    Kicky, any update with your case?


  99. Hi all. I have a question and would appreciate if someone could help answer asap:

    if i have expressed my intention to apply for an e3 visa (e.g. by completing a ds-156), am i allow to enter usa on the visa waiver program while i arrange and wait for the interview, say, in mexico?
    i am now in us on a visa waiver program. i found i job and have arranged for an interview in paris next week, BUT there is a chance that i wont have all my docs by then! in which case, i would like to come back to the us. does anyone know if i will be allowed back into the us or will i be turned away at the border??

    thanks in advance for your help. i leave for paris in

  100. Congrats on your job Eliza!

    As long as you can prove that you are not staying over 3 months (ie: a return ticket out – however mexico won’t cover it, the 3 months also includes time in mexico and canada). I would suggest UPS-ing the documents instead – probably cheaper than a flight and you dont have to worry about visas.


  101. just a quick question – i can’t seem to find a direct answer on any websites

    I plan on going to the US on the visa waiver program and looking for a job whilst I am there – However, am I technically allowed to seek work while i am on the VWP or is that a direct breach of what I am allowed to do while on the VWP??

    If i got through customs and they ask – do you plan on looking for work – my answer would obviously be yes….

    Any ideas?


  102. Hi Guys,

    Has anyone had the E3 interview in Perth and without a degree?

    I am about to book mine. I have 10 years documented experience, 2 yr diploma and the usual IT industry certs.

    Any feedback would be great.



  103. Hey Dean

    Congrats on scoring a job! I don’t know anyone whos taken that route but all the official documentation reckons as long as you have 9 years of experience, you should be right. Let us know how it goes!


  104. Hi Trev,

    Booked my interview for Feb 12 in Perth. I wish I could do it earlier but I am currently in London.

    I will let you know how I go. Fingers crossed.

    Thanks for your response.


  105. Melissa, its probably better you don’t mention you are searching for work wile on VWP but it would also be wise to begin a lot of your applying prior to coming b/c it can take a while.
    It realy helps to have a US phone number they can call on your applications/resume, otherwise you will probably be immediately discarded. (the britishexpatforum.com and e3visa.info are sites you can asl check out for your questions but i think if you google search you will find lots of other good tips)
    Good Luck,

  106. Hi Guys,

    Got my E3 last week in Perth. Process was very straight forward. I received my passport back today. As I mentioned before I don’t have a degree. I only have 10 years experience, 2yr diploma and the usual IT certs. For those people out there in similar position to me and dont have a degree, you will be ok if you have experience to back it up.

    We’ll be off to the US in the next few weeks.

    From this process I can say to come prepared and be organised. It will pay off.

    Thank you to those who’s blog entries were imformative.

    All the best to those who are in the application process.



  107. Hi folks,

    I have a question that I couldn’t find an answer on any website. Hope you guys can help me out.

    I’m now in the US on an H4 visa and enrolled in a part-time MBA program. But I’m thinking to find a full-time job and change to E3 status. Can I still study once I change to E3?

    Any ideas?



  108. Hi Yasser,

    I am an Australian Citizen. I am planning to apply for E-3 visa. How can prove that I will return back to Australia, as i don’t have any family and property in Australia. I got my Australian citizenship in 2000 and I have been living in Australia since 1994. Any advise would be really appreciated.

  109. Guys, My E3 interview was on 22nd Dec in Sydney and till date my application is goine for background checking and no news as yet.

    Not sure why it takes so long. Anyone in the similar situation?

  110. Hello,
    I am on E3 VISA for the last 2 years and renewed my VISA last month. My daughter is on E3 dependent VISA.
    My question:
    My daughter wants to visit India and come back after 2 months. Can she go on E3 extended VISA (the VISA is not stamped in her passport; we have received the approval from the USCIS).
    Please reply.

  111. Hi Suma

    I’m sorry but I’m not sure, however I would assume that she would need something in her passport to return without border control issues. Perhaps a call to the consulate would be the best next move. Let us know how it goes.


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