Finally the long wait ended. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
issued guidance today regarding E-3 nonimmigrant Specialty Occupation Workers.
In particular, the guidance provides specific information on the eligibility requirements
and documentation needed for individuals wishing to either change their nonimmigrant
status to that of an E-3 worker or to extend their E-3 status.
Established by the REAL ID Act of 2005, the E-3 nonimmigrant classification allows
for the admission of a temporary worker who is national of Australia and is entering
the U.S. to perform services in a “specialty occupation.” As is generally
the case, nonimmigrant aliens who are already legally in the United States may
apply to change their status to that of an E-3 specialty worker and, eventually,
apply to extend their stay in E-3 classification.
To qualify for E-3 classification, an alien must, among other things, be 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 granted indefinitely in increments not to exceed two
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 posses a valid E-3 visa issued by the U.S. Department of State. Aliens already
in the United States may request a change of status to E-3 or extend their E-3
status by filing a Form I- 129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker) directly with
the Vermont Service Center. The cost for filing the request for change of status
or extension of stay is $190. In addition to the Form I-129, applicants must include
the following documentation:
If you have any questions regarding the eligibility of the Australian national
whom you wish to transfer to the U.S. on E-3 visa, or if you are an individual
with an employment offer from a U.S. employer and are wondering whether E-3 visa
is the best option available to you, please consult
an immigration attorney.
- 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
- 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,
- Evidence that the prospective U.S. employer has filed with the Department
of Labor a labor condition application (LCA) specifically designated for E-3