E-3 Visa


I’ve put together this guide based on my experience moving from Australia to New York and trying to figure the E-3 visa process out on the fly while looking for work in the startup world. The process can be confusing at first, but once you break it down it’s fairly straightforward. Hopefully you read this and get some benefit out of it, saving you some hassle (and more than a few of these moments) while making the move.

I should note that I handled the application process myself as I was applying for jobs at startups with little familiarity with E-3s (or visas generally). If you’re looking for work at a big corporate, their HR department should have you covered, but it always helps to understand the process so you can explain it in interviews.

Also, the content on this page is based on my reading and the process I went through to get E-3-approved. It isn’t legal advice, so please don’t send me hate mail if something doesn’t work out. See a lawyer, direct your frustration at this guy or move to Canada instead.

So, starting from the top.

What is an E-3 visa?

The E-3 visa is a U.S. visa that is only available to Australian nationals who are coming to the United States to work in a “specialty occupation”.1

The visa is a non-immigrant (i.e. temporary) visa that lasts for two years and is renewable indefinitely. There is no age limit on when you can apply.2

What do I need to be eligible for the E-3 visa?

To qualify for the E-3 visa:

  1. You are an Australian national.
  2. You have a job offer from a U.S. employer.3
  3. Your job qualifies as a “specialty occupation”4.
  4. The specialty occupation is related to your field of study.
  5. You will be paid at least the“prevailing wage”5 for your occupation.

What are the steps to get an E-3 visa?

The steps to get an E-3 visa are:

  1. You get a job offer.
  2. Your employer completes the Labor Condition Application (ETA Form 9035) (LCA) online and files it with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for certification.6
  3. You complete the DS-160 visa application online, pay the application fee, and book an interview at a U.S. consulate outside the U.S. 7
  4. Your employer receives the certified LCA from the DOL, which they will sign, date and provide to you.8
  5. You attend your consulate interview with the required documents, including the certified LCA and DS-160 confirmation page.
  6. If you get approved, your visa is processed and delivered to you by courier.
  7. Welcome to New York.

On the next page, we’ll step through the eligibility criteria in more detail.

  1. It came about as a result of Australia agreeing to send soldiers to Iraq after 9/11. Yet another reason to be thankful to our troops.

  2. (Cue 48-year old Aussie bachelor, nodding his head slowly).

  3. If you don’t have a job offer yet, keep hustling. I believe in you.

  4. We’ll get to what this means.

  5. This gets explained later too.

  6. You can complete the LCA instead of your employer, but it needs to be filed by or on behalf of the employer.

  7. Barbados, anyone?

  8. The Canberra embassy website says that a copy of the signed LCA is fine for your visa interview, but I took the original. If in doubt, always roll with an original document.