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Our Immigration Law Blog

By The Grotas Firm, PC

E-3 “Australian Investor” Visa Information

An Australian national who is seeking employment in a specialty occupation requiring possession of a bachelor’s degree or higher (or its equivalent), and possess the appropriate degree (or its equivalent) in the field in which the alien wishes to work E-3 nonimmigrant status is initially granted for a period of no more than two years. Extensions of stay may be graanted indefinitely in increments not to exceed two years.

Specialty Occupation:  A specialty occupation for an E-3 alien is defined in the Act in the same manner as in the H-1B context. In particular, pursuant to section 214(i)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, specialty occupation means an occupation that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation. As such, in order to be eligible for an E-3 classification, an alien must be able to show he or she will be employed in a specialty occupation in the U.S. and he or she possesses the required U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty to meet the minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the United States.

Congress has established a yearly cap of 10,500 new E-3 workers. For purposes of the cap, “new E-3 workers” are those who, coming from abroad, are admitted initially in E-3 classification or those who change their nonimmigrant status to E-3 classification or change employers while in E-3 status. Unlike the dependent of an alien in H-1B nonimmigrant classification, the dependent spouse of an E-3 temporary worker may apply for and receive work authorization.

An alien seeking to be admitted in E-3 nonimmigrant classification at a U.S. Port-of-Entry must possess a valid E-3 visa issued by Department of State. Aliens already in the United States may request a change of status to E-3 or extend their E-3 staus.   In addition to the Form I-129, applicants must include the following documentation:

  • Proof of Australian nationality,
  • A letter from the prospective U.S. employer describing the alien’s occupation, the alien’s anticipated length of stay, and salary/remuneration arrangements,
  • Evidence that the alien meets the educational requirements for the position to be filled (a bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in the specific specialty occupation),
  • Evidence that the alien meets any licensing or other occupational requirements, and
  • Evidence that the prospective U.S. employer has filed with the Department of Labor a labor condition application (LCA) specifically designated for E-3 Specialty Occupations.

The dependent spouse and children of an E-3 principal may also derive E-3 nonimmigrant status, if otherwise eligible, irrespective of the spouse or children’s nationality. Further, an otherwise eligible dependent spouse of an E-3 principal nonimmigrant may apply for an Employment Authorization Document, irrespective of the dependent spouse’s nationality.

Can Spouses of E Visa Holders Work?

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the same E-3 classification. The spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not the children. To apply for work authorization spouse must file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

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