The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia, their spouses and children under the age of 21. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens.
Qualifying for the E3 visa (Treaty Aliens in Specialty Occupation)
I am a permanent resident of Australia but don’t have citizenship. Can I apply for an E-3 visa?
No. E-3 visas are only available to Australian nationals. If you are a new Australian citizen or are in the process of becoming one, please note that you will need to possess an Australian passport by the time of your visa interview.
Is there an upper age limit for applicants?
No, there is no upper age limit.
What is a specialty occupation?
The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:
- A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
- The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
In determining whether an occupation qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” follow the definition contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) for H-1B nonimmigrants and applicable standards and criteria determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Please see the USCIS page for more information.
Although there is no definitive list of occupations eligible for the E3 visa, a useful general guide for applicants to check if their occupation might be considered a graduate specialty profession and thus might be eligible for an E3 visa, is the Occupational Information Network website O*NET Online.
I have a degree and have found a job in a related profession in the U.S. Do I qualify for the E-3 visa?
The job will qualify provided that it requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation. It is not enough that an E-3 applicant holds a particular degree; the job itself must also require a bachelor-level or higher qualification. For example, someone with a degree in Business Studies planning to work as a Personal Assistant would not be eligible for the E-3 unless the job actually required a bachelor-level qualification.
I am a skilled tradesperson with qualifications and experience in plumbing/electrical work/carpentry for example. Do these kind of trades qualify as specialty occupations for the E-3 visa?
Not generally, because a requirement of the E-3 visa is that the job in the United States requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation. As very few trade positions require a degree, they are not appropriate for the E-3 visa.
Do I need a license for a specialty occupation?
An E-3 applicant must meet academic and occupational requirements, including licensure in Australia where appropriate. In certain cases where a U.S. license or other official permission is required to perform the duties described in the visa application, but such permission or license is not available prior to entry into the United States, the applicant must show that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States.
I do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Can I apply for the E-3 visa based on my work experience?
U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D), describes the kind and amount of experience which can be used to establish the equivalency of a university degree. As a guide, three years of professional experience may generally be used as a substitute for each year of university-level education.
This means you would need to show 12 years experience in the field you are applying to work in. During their visa interviews, applicants for U.S. work visas should be prepared to provide documentation outlining their work history, education, and training.
A consular officer will determine whether the educational and employment information provided meets the eligibility requirements for a U.S. visa.