E3 Visa

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

36. Difference between the E-3 and H-1B visa?

The major differences between the E-3 and H-1B visa are as follows:

  1. The spouse of an E-3 visa holder may apply for employment authorization and work while in the US. There are no restrictions on the type of work a spouse can do. H-1B dependents cannot accept employment while they are in H-4 visa status.
  2. The E-3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in two-year increments) whereas H-1B visa status is valid for only up to six years (unless the H-1B holder begins the green card process within certain time constraints, in which case the H-1B may be extended during the time the green card application is pending).
  3. E-3 visas are nonimmigrant visas. Accordingly, E-3 visa holders must prove their intent to return to Australia when the E-3 job is finished. However the H-1B visa, which is also a nonimmigrant visa, allows the doctrine of dual intent, i.e., it allows the H-1B visa holder to pursue both permanent resident status and H-1B status at the same time.