E-3 Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia

Who qualifies for the E3 visa?

The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia as well as their spouses and children. 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. However the U.S. does not recognize De Facto relationships for the purposes of immigration, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate.

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 for 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.

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.

(D) Equivalence to completion of a college degree. For purposes of paragraph (h)(4)(iii)(C)(4) of this section, equivalence to completion of a United States baccalaureate or higher degree shall mean achievement of a level of knowledge, competence, and practice in the specialty occupation that has been determined to be equal to that of an individual who has a baccalaureate or higher degree in the specialty and shall be determined by one or more of the following:

(1) An evaluation from an official who has authority to grant college-level credit for training and/or experience in the specialty at an accredited college or university which has a program for granting such credit based on an individual’s training and/or work experience;

(2) The results of recognized college-level equivalency examinations or special credit programs, such as the College Level Examination Program (CLEP), or Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (PONSI);

(3) An evaluation of education by a reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials;

(4) Evidence of certification or registration from a nationally-recognized professional association or society for the specialty that is known to grant certification or registration to persons in the occupational specialty who have achieved a certain level of competence in the specialty;

(5) A determination by the Service that the equivalent of the degree required by the specialty occupation has been acquired through a combination of education, specialized training, and/or work experience in areas related to the specialty and that the alien has achieved recognition of expertise in the specialty occupation as a result of such training and experience. For purposes of determining equivalency to a baccalaureate degree in the specialty, three years of specialized training and/or work experience must be demonstrated for each year of college-level training the alien lacks. For equivalence to an advanced (or Masters) degree, the alien must have a baccalaureate degree followed by at least five years of experience in the specialty. If required by a specialty, the alien must hold a Doctorate degree or its foreign equivalent. It must be clearly demonstrated that the alien’s training and/or work experience included the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge required by the specialty occupation; that the alien’s experience was gained while working with peers, supervisors, or subordinates who have a degree or its equivalent in the specialty occupation; and that the alien has recognition of expertise in the specialty evidenced by at least one type of documentation such as:

(i) Recognition of expertise in the specialty occupation by at least two recognized authorities in the same specialty occupation;

(ii) Membership in a recognized foreign or United States association or society in the specialty occupation;

(iii) Published material by or about the alien in professional publications, trade journals, books, or major newspapers;

(iv) Licensure or registration to practice the specialty occupation in a foreign country; or

(v) Achievements which a recognized authority has determined to be significant contributions to the field of the specialty occupation. 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D)(5)(i)-(v)

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 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.

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.

Specialty occupation skills/Professions/Occupations

Types of Jobs and Professions that qualify for Specialty occupation skills

“Theoretical” and “Practical” application of specialty occupation skills. For a profession to meet h1b or e3 visa requirements, it has to demand the “application of specialized knowledge” — the kind of knowledge that you get from a Bachelor’s degree or extensive work experience.

U.S. immigration law states that a specialty occupation must require a bachelor’s degree as the minimum for entry into the occupation, and that the applicant has a bachelor’s degree that is related to the occupation. However, the regulations allow for the applicant to have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.

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.

A 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited or recognized foreign university or college will generally be considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. If you have less than a 4 year degree you can combine the years of your degree/diploma with years of study completed on a post-baccalaureate diploma, master’s degree or other studies. The regulations also allow you to combine progressive work experience in the field with university study, or in some cases use work experience only, to meet the equivalency requirement. The regulations specifically state that for H-1B purposes three (3) years of progressive work experience in the field will be considered the equivalent of one year of U.S. university study.

In many cases, unless your education was completed in the U.S., a Credentials Evaluation showing an equivalency to a U.S. bachelor’s degree is required for an H-1B visa. If you are seeking a credential evaluation for H-1B visa purposes the USCIS only requires that the report include an equivalency statement of the diplomas/degrees along with brief information on the institution where the studies were completed.

Below is a list of all the Jobs / Occupations that qualify to get issued an H1B visa (they are Not listed in any specific preference or order)

Occupations In Architecture, Engineering, And Surveying
Architectural Occupations,
Aeronautical Engineering Occupations,
Electrical/ Electronics Engineering Occupations,
Civil Engineering Occupations,
Ceramic Engineering Occupations,
Mechanical Engineering Occupations,
Chemical Engineering Occupations,
Mining And Petroleum Engineering Occupations,
Metallurgy And Metallurgical Engineering Occupations,
Industrial Engineering Occupations,
Agricultural Engineering Occupations,
Marine Engineering Occupations,
Nuclear Engineering Occupations,
Surveying/ Cartographic Occupations,
Other Occupations In Architecture, Engineering, And Surveying.

Occupations In Mathematics And Physical Sciences
Occupations In Mathematics,
Occupations In Astronomy,
Occupations In Chemistry,
Occupations In Physics,
Occupations In Geology,
Occupations In Meteorology,
Other Occupations In Mathematics And Physical Science.

Computer Science & IT, and Telecom Occupations
Occupations In Systems Analysis And Programming,
Occupations In Data Communications And Networks,
Occupations In Computer System User Support,
Occupations In Computer System Technical Support,
Other Computer-Related Occupations

Occupations In Life Sciences
Occupations In Agricultural Sciences,
Occupations In Biological Sciences,
Occupations In Psychology,
Other Occupations In Life Sciences

Occupations In Medicine And Health
Physicians And Surgeons,
Registered Nurses,
Occupations In Medical And Dental Technology,
Other Occupations In Medicine And Health

Occupations In Education & Research
Occupations In College And University Education,
Occupations In Secondary School Education,
Occupations In Preschool, Primary School, And Kindergarten Education,
Occupations In Education Of Persons With Disabilities,
Home Economists And Farm Advisers,
Occupations In Vocational Education,
Other Occupations In Education

Occupations in Writing and Languages
Editors: Publication, Broadcast, And Script,
Other Occupations In Writing

Occupations in Finance and Administrative Specializations
Accountants, Auditors, And Related Occupations,
Budget And Management Systems Analysis Occupations,
Purchasing Management Occupations,
Sales And Distribution Management Occupations,
Advertising Management Occupations,
Public Relations Management Occupations,
Personnel Administration Occupations,
Inspectors And Investigators, Managerial And Public Service,
Other Administrative Occupations

Occupations in Business Management & Administration
Agriculture, Forestry And Fishing Industry Managers And Officials,
Mining Industry Managers And Officials,
Construction Industry Managers And Officials,
Manufacturing Industry Managers And Officials,
Transportation, Communication, And Utilities Industry Managers And Officials,
Wholesale And Retail Trade Managers And Officials,
Finance, Insurance, And Real Estate Managers And Officials
Service Industry Managers And Officials,
Public Administration Managers And Officials,
Miscellaneous Managers And Officials

OTHER Specialty Occupations as listed below
Occupations In Economics,
Occupations In Political Science,
Occupations In History,
Occupations In Sociology,
Occupations In Anthropology,
Other Occupations In Social Sciences,
Museum Curators And Related Occupations,
Other Occupations In Museum, Library, And Archival Sciences,
Other Occupations In Law And Jurisprudence,
Other Occupations In Religion And Theology,
Commercial Artists: Designers And Illustrators, Graphic Arts,
Environmental, Product, And Related Designers,
Other Occupations In Art,
Occupations In Music,
Other Occupations In Entertainment And RecreationEligibility Criteria

To qualify for an E-3 visa, you must demonstrate that you:

  • Are a national of Australia
  • Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
  • Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
  • Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation


Applying for an E-3 Visa from Within the United States

The Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker is used to apply for a change of status to obtain E-3 nonimmigrant temporary worker classification.

Supporting Documents

Your Form I-129 must include the following documents:

  • A Labor Condition Application (LCA) which cannot be the same application used in a previous H-1B application. Until the Department of Labor develops a new LCA for an E-3, the applicant should use the standard ETA-9035 and ask that it be annotated as an E-3 LCA
  • Academic or other credentials demonstrating qualifications for the position
  • Job offer letter or other documentation from the employer establishing that you will be engaged in a specialty occupation and that you will be paid the higher of the actual or prevailing wage
  • If required, before you may commence employment in the specialty occupation, you must have the necessary license or other official permission to practice in the specialty occupation

Applying for a Visa With a U.S. Embassy or Consulate

If your petition Form I-129 is approved, USCIS will forward a Form I-797, Notice of Action/Approval to the employer, who in turn will forward it to you. A Form I-797 approval notice is not a U.S. visa, as the visa must be obtained at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. After Form I-129 is approved by USCIS, the next step is to apply for a U.S. visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate, generally in your country of residence abroad.

  • Initial Period of Stay, 2 years
  • Extension of Stay 2 years: Up to 2 years per extension; no maximum number of extensions, with some exceptions.
  • Change of Employment: Your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application and a new E-3 visa application. The gap between the jobs must be 10 days or less.

Note: Form I-129 is used to apply for an extension of stay or change of employment.

Family of E-3 Visa Holders

Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age are entitled to the same E-3 classification. Your spouse is entitled to work authorization, but not your children. To apply for work authorization as a spouse of an E-3 nonimmigrant, your spouse would file a Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

E-3 Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia

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