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USA's E3 Visa: Catering to Australian Professionals

USA's E3 Visa: Catering to Australian Professionals

The United States of America has long been a land of opportunities, attracting professionals from all corners of the world to seek employment and build their careers. Among the various visas that facilitate this journey, the E3 Visa stands out as a unique and advantageous option for Australian professionals. In this guide, we will delve into the details of the E3 Visa program, its relevance to Australian professionals, the Labor Condition Application (LCA) process, the DS-160 Form, and the Spouse Employment Authorization. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of how the E3 Visa can be a game-changer for Australian professionals aspiring to work in the USA.

The E3 Visa

The E3 Visa is a specialized visa category exclusively available to citizens of Australia who wish to work in the United States. This visa was established as a result of the United States-Australia Free Trade Agreement, making it easier for Australian professionals to pursue employment opportunities in the USA, including the us visa application. The E3 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, which means it is designed for temporary employment, and it comes with several unique features that set it apart from other work visas.

Key Features of the E3 Visa:

Occupational Eligibility: To qualify for an E3 Visa, the applicant must be coming to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. This typically requires a higher education degree or specialized skills.

Employer Sponsorship: 

Unlike some other visas, the E3 Visa requires employer sponsorship. The applicant must have a job offer from a U.S. employer to apply for this visa.


The E3 Visa is initially granted for up to two years but can be renewed indefinitely, providing that the applicant continues to meet the eligibility criteria.

Spouse and Dependents: 

E3 Visa holders can bring their spouses and dependent children to the USA. Spouses are also eligible for work authorization, known as the Spouse Employment Authorization, which we will discuss in detail later.

No Annual Cap: 

One significant advantage of the E3 Visa is that there is no annual cap on the number of visas issued. This means that eligible Australian professionals can apply for the visa at any time of the year without worrying about quota limitations.

Dual Intent: 

E3 Visa holders can maintain dual intent, meaning they can seek permanent residency (a green card) while on an E3 Visa.

Now that we have a broad understanding of the E3 Visa, let's explore the specific requirements and processes involved.

The Labor Condition Application (LCA)

Before an Australian professional can apply for an E3 Visa, their prospective employer in the United States must complete a crucial step known as the Labor Condition Application (LCA). The LCA is a mandatory process that ensures the protection of both U.S. and foreign workers and is designed to prevent the exploitation of foreign labor.

Key Aspects of the LCA:

  1. Wage Determination: The LCA requires the U.S. employer to determine the prevailing wage for the position in the specific location where the employee will work. This ensures that the Australian professional is offered a fair and competitive salary.
  2. No Adverse Impact: The employer must attest that hiring the E3 Visa holder will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. This commitment is a crucial element of the LCA.
  3. Public Posting: The employer must post notices at the worksite for at least ten consecutive business days to inform employees about the LCA filing. This is to ensure transparency and allow any potential complaints or objections to be raised.
  4. Documentation: All documentation related to the LCA, including the prevailing wage determination and postings, must be kept on file and made available for public inspection.

Once the LCA is certified by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Australian professional can proceed with their E3 Visa application.

The DS-16 0 Form: Completing the Application

The DS-160 Form, also known as the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is a critical part of the E3 Visa application process. This form is used by the U.S. Department of State to collect information from visa applicants and determine their eligibility for a non-immigrant visa.

Key Steps in Completing the DS-160 Form:

Step 1 .Access the Form: 

The DS-160 Form can be accessed online through the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC) website. Applicants should ensure that they are using the correct version of the form.

Step 2 .Personal Information: 

The form begins by collecting personal information, including the applicant's full name, date of birth, nationality, and passport details.

Step 3 .Travel Plans: 

Applicants are required to provide information about their intended travel to the United States, including the purpose of the trip, intended dates of travel, and U.S. address where they will stay.

Step 4. Security and Background Information: 

The form includes questions about the applicant's background, including criminal history, previous visa denials, and security-related issues.

Step 5. Photo Upload: 

Applicants are required to upload a passport-sized photo that meets the U.S. visa photo requirements.

Step 6. Payment of Visa Fee: 

The DS-160 form requires payment of a non-refundable visa application fee, which varies depending on the visa category.

Step 7. Confirmation Page: 

After completing the form, applicants will receive a confirmation page with a barcode. It is essential to print and keep this page, as it will be required for the visa interview.

Spouse Employment Authorization

One of the significant benefits of the E3 Visa is that it allows the spouse of the primary E3 Visa holder to apply for employment authorization in the United States. This is a valuable perk that can greatly enhance the financial stability of the family during their stay in the USA.

Key Points about Spouse Employment Authorization:

  • Eligibility: To be eligible for Spouse Employment Authorization, the spouse of the E3 Visa holder must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  • Work Authorization: Once approved, the spouse will receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), commonly referred to as a work permit. With this document, they can legally work in the United States.
  • No Specific Job Offer Needed: Unlike the primary E3 Visa holder, the spouse does not need a specific job offer to apply for employment authorization. They have the flexibility to seek employment in any field.
  • Renewable: The EAD is typically issued for a limited period but can be renewed as long as the spouse remains eligible.
  • Independent Income: Spouse Employment Authorization provides the opportunity for the spouse to contribute to the family's income, making it a crucial aspect of financial stability for E3 Visa holders and their families.


The E3 Visa is a testament to the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Australia, offering a streamlined pathway for Australian professionals to work in the USA. With its unique features, such as the absence of an annual cap and the provision for Spouse Employment Authorization, the E3 Visa program has become a preferred choice for many Australian professionals seeking career opportunities in the United States.