understand the e3 visa

Understand the E3 Visa

This article will you understand the E3 Visa, the benefits of hiring an Australian National on an E3, and how it is very different from an H1-B Visa.

Many HR departments do not understand the E3 visa: A Specialty visa for Australian professionals that is available all year. The cost is di minimus, and the employee can start working for the company in as little as a few weeks.

E3 Visa Highlights:

Understand the E3 Visa – Soup to Nuts

The first step in any onboarding of an employee is an offer letter. An E3 visa requires a more detailed Letter of Support.

Letter of Support Example

To Whom It May Concern:
This letter is being submitted in support of the E-3 visa petition filed by [Company Name] on behalf of [Employee], a citizen of Australia.
The [Department] of [Company] intends to [employ/continue employing] [Employee] as a full-time [Title] with an annual salary of $N. This will involve [list duties from Job Description]. 
The position requires a Bachelor’s degree in [Field/s] and all other minimum and desirable qualifications such as [List other qualifications from Job Description].
[Employee] is extremely qualified for this position. [he/she] received [his/her] degree in [Field] from [Institution]. [Briefly describe work history and any accomplishments, special skills, and/or other notable qualifications making him/her especially suited to or qualified for this position].
[If the request is for visa renewal, state whether any terms or conditions of employment have changed since the prior E-3 visa was filed. Also explain the reasons for requesting an extension of employment].
Because of [Employee]’s outstanding background, we wish to [employ/continue employing] [him/her]. We will end this appointment upon the expiration of the authorized period of stay, including any subsequent extensions of stay that are granted.
Your kind attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Labor Condition Application

The Employer also needs to file a Labor Condition Application Form ETA 9035 online with the Department of Labor. Instructions and video tutorials for filing an LCA are found on the Department of Labor’s website. While the form references the H1-B visa, as the DoL’s website states, this form is also used for the E3 visa.

Usually, after five business days, the Employer can check online to see if the LCA is Certified through the Foreign Labor Application Gateway or FLAG portal.

DS-160 Application

Once the LCA has been certified, the Australian national employee will then complete a DS-160 application. The DS-160 takes about ninety minutes to complete.

After a DS-160 is completed, the Employee can apply for a visa appointment at any U.S. Consulate outside the U.S. Wait times can be dependent on local Consulates and access to certain consulates may be restricted due to COVID. However, it is possible for an appointment to be scheduled, and a subsequent emergency appointment sought to reduce the wait time to a few weeks.

Booking and attending a Consular Appointment

Consular Appointment wait times can be checked by using the U.S. State Department website. You can use the USTravelDocs website or the U.S. Department of State website to book an appointment at U.S. Consulates in different geographies.

When the Employee attends the visa interview they will need:

The Interview

Based on feedback, interviews can take less than ten minutes. The Consular agent generally asks questions about the company and the position, the applicant’s work history, how they learned about the position, i.e. a referral from a friend or a recruiter etc.

After the interview, the applicant is given a receipt and the Consulate retains their passport in order to place the E3 visa stamp inside of it.

The E3 Visa Stamp

After a few days, the applicant receives a notice by email that their passport with the E3 Visa stamp is ready for collection. After making an appointment, the applicant returns to the Consulate to collect their passport with the E3 visa stamp. They then can fly to the U.S. and Social Security Number notwithstanding, can commence work immediately.

An Immigration Attorney helps understand the E3 visa

Unlike the H1-B visa, which is in effect a very expensive 1 in 3 chance lottery, an E3 visa is available all year round.

If you compare the filing fees for an H1-B visa to an E3 visa you can see why for around the cost of H1-B filing fees alone, you can retain an Immigration attorney to prepare and file the application and coordinate the Consular appointment.

Filing Fee$205$460
Fraud Fee-$500
ACWIA Fee-$750 if <25 Employees
$1500 if >25 Employees
Premium Processing Fee-$2500
FeatureE3 VisaH1-B Visa
Applications AvailableAll Year5 Days
Start Date from Visa Applicationc. 4 Weeks> 6 Months
Is a Visa "Lottery"NoYes
Term of Visa2 Years3 Years
Can be renewed?IndefinitelyOnce
Path to Green CardYesYes
Spouse can work?YesNo

Here an Immigration attorney speaks directly about the advantages of an E3 visa over an H1-B and why it is not the same as “sponsorship”.

In Summary

Hiring an employee on an E3 Visa is very different from an H1-B visa.

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