e-3 Visa guide
Step 1 - CREATE AN ONLINE PROFILE
Step 2 - PAY THE VISA APPLICATION FEE
Following payment, you will receive an email confirmation with a receipt number. Print a copy of the email and make a note of the receipt number. You will need it for your visa interview.
STEP 3 - BOOK YOUR VISA INTERVIEW
You will need three pieces of information to book your interview appointment:
Receipt number from payment of the visa application fee.
10-digit barcode number from your DS-160 confirmation page.
Schedule your appointment via the link on your account home page. The site displays the available time slots at the selected consulate. The wait times vary depending on the consulate, so ensure you factor that in when booking flights. For example, I booked my visa interview for Perth on a Wednesday and the first available slot was the following Tuesday. Sydney and Melbourne can have wait times of two weeks or more, depending on the time of year. Canada and the U.K. tend to be longer, Barbados shorter.
Note: If you are in a rush, you can request an emergency appointment in certain (and very rare) circumstances. If you don’t qualify for an emergency appointment, your best bet is to continue checking your account for an earlier slot to open up due to a cancellation.
STEP 4 - REQUIRED DOCUMENTS
In most cases the interview is very straightforward. That said, you do hear horror stories, so it’s always better to be prepared. Check this website to make sure you have the required documents. The following is a list of documents that I brought to my interview, including whether the consular officer required the document or not:
Visa interview appointment confirmation – Consular officer required this document.
DS-160 confirmation page – Required.
Current passport – Required.
Letter of offer from employer – Required.
Letter of support from employer – Required.
Visa application fee payment receipt – Required.
Original certified and signed LCA – Required. (The U.S. Canberra Embassy FAQ states that a copy of the LCA is sufficient, but I brought the original. You should do the same if you can.)
Original and copies of university degrees – Consular officer asked to see the originals and took the copies.
Original and copies of university academic transcript – I wasn’t asked for these document.
Resume – I wasn’t asked for this.
Old passport – I wasn’t asked for this.
Letter from previous employer confirming employment – I wasn’t asked for this.
Itinerary for travel to New York – I wasn’t asked for this.
List of previous employers – I wasn’t asked for this.
Bank statements from local banks detailing connection to Australia – I wasn’t asked for these.
STEP 5 - Attend the interview
The interview confirmation states that you should arrive no more than 15 minutes before your scheduled interview time. I arrived for my 10am interview at 9:50am. Security put my bag through an X-ray machine, asked me to walk through a metal detector, and once that was all clear, asked me to put my bag, laptop, phone and other electronic devices in a locker. I could only take my documents and wallet to the interview.
A security guard then escorted me by elevator to the interview area, where I was told to take a numbered ticket and wait until my number was called.
When my number was called, I went to the appropriate counter to speak with a consular officer. The consular office sits behind a glass security screen, similar to a bank teller. The officer scanned my fingerprints and asked me to pass my documents through to him. He then reviewed the documents and asked me to sit down and wait to be called for my interview. (If you get the documents wrong here, the consular officer will turn you away.)
It took 30 minutes for my name to be called for the interview. The interview itself was very straightforward. The consular officer reviewed my documents and asked me three questions:
What does my company do?
What is my new job title?
Where have I been traveling in the past year?
That was it. The officer said my visa was approved and that I could expect my passport and visa to be returned by courier within a couple of days. Security then escorted me back to my locker to collect my belongings and out of the building. The whole process took 1.5 hours.
Step 6 - RECEIVE YOUR PASSPORT
The time taken to receive your visa depends on your location. You can track the status of your visa on this site. My passport was returned by courier within two days. I had my interview at 10am on a Monday. The tracker indicated that my passport was logged for processing for the remainder of Monday. I then received confirmation of dispatch on Tuesday and the courier attempted delivery at 1pm Wednesday. I wasn’t home at the time, but I was able to collect my passport from the courier depot on Thursday, ready for my flight back to the U.S. on the Saturday.
Note: When you get your passport back, double check that all of the information on the visa is correct and matches your passport information. If not, contact the embassy to get it fixed before you head back to the U.S.
STEp 7 - ARRIVE IN THE U.S.
On arrival back in the U.S., the customs officer asked me the purpose of my trip. I explained that I had a job and visa approval. The officer reviewed my visa, asked me what my job was and then stamped my passport for two years to match the two-year visa period. I wasn’t asked for any other documents, but I had my letter of offer, DS-160 confirmation and LCA in my carry-on luggage and suggest you do likewise. I have had friends who have been asked for those documents by U.S. customs.
That completes my E-3 visa guide. I hope you found it helpful. For next steps, please view the Frequently Asked Questions and Template Documents for further information and copies of documents to use in your job search and E-3 visa application.
I have been contacted by a number of people asking how they can thank me for the advice contained in this guide. If you are interested in making a contribution towards the maintenance of this website, please use the link below. I would very much appreciate it.
Look forward to seeing you in the U.S.