The E-3 visa category is designated for Australian professionals coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation, which is defined as an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree for the specific specialization (or its equivalent in experience). The initial E-3 visa may cover a period of up to two years. It may be renewed indefinitely, provided the alien is able to demonstrate that he/she does not intend to remain or work permanently in the United States.

  • Once an employee is in E-3 visa status at Augusta University, IPSO must be informed in writing of any substantial changes in employment, such as a new location, different duties, change in salary, or change in the source of funding. Augusta University may be required to file a new Labor Condition Application or amend the E-3 status of the employee. 

 

Who is eligible for E-3 sponsorship?

To be eligible for E-3 status, a potential employee must:

  • Be a citizen of Australia. Landed immigrants and permanent residents of Australia do not qualify.
  • Possess the minimum qualifications for the position in question.
  • Have plans for a temporary stay. Longer-term positions (such as tenure-track faculty positions) are not appropriate for E-3 status.

 

What positions qualify for E-3 sponsorship?

At Augusta University, positions commonly sponsored by colleges/departments for E-3 status include: Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate, Research Scientist, Assistant Research Scientist, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Instructor. Other positions may qualify and are reviewed for eligibility on a case-by-case basis.

 

What positions are not suitable for E-3 sponsorship?

Securing E-3 sponsorship for those in Housestaff positions, temporary employees, and IT positions have proven problematic in the past. Departments are strongly advised to consider alternatives to the E-3 when contemplating hires for these positions.

 

Who needs to file an E-3 petition?

As E-3 is an employer-sponsored status, the hiring unit is responsible for starting the E-3 process. IPSO will only petition for qualified personnel whom the college/department wishes to employ. The hiring unit must begin this process on behalf of new and continuing personnel.

 

How much does sponsorship cost?

Sponsorship requires that the college/department pay $460 in application fees and $500 in fraud detection fees (for initial applications only, not for extensions).

All fees must be paid by the college/department. E-3 salary requirements may require adjustments (increases) to the salary offered to a prospective employee.

 

How long does it take to hire an employee in E-3 status?

On average, it takes 60 to 180 days for USCIS to approve an E-3 petition once it is submitted. If the employee is not currently in the U.S., the process to obtain an E-3 visa requires additional time. The hiring unit, as well as the applicant/employee, must submit all necessary documents and information to begin the E-3 process at least 4 months before the expected start date.

 

For how long is an E-3 valid?

Australian citizens can be admitted to the United States in E-3 status in increments of up to two years. Extensions of stay are also granted in up to two-year increments. There is no cumulative time limit on the time an Australian citizen can be in E-3 status. Status can be renewed indefinitely, provided the E-3 professional can still prove nonimmigrant intent each time he or she applies for admission to the U.S.

 

Can an employee seek both permanent residency and E-3 status at the same time?

No. E-3 status is considered temporary in nature and does not allow an employee to petition for permanent residency.

 

Will IPSO petition for status for the dependents of E-3 employees?

For a change or extension of status, as a professional courtesy, IPSO will petition for dependents (giving them E-3D status). However, the USCIS filing fee of $370 (subject to change) is to be paid by the employee.

 

Who can be considered an E-3D visa holder?

Qualifying E-3D beneficiaries are the spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age of the principal E-3 visa holder.

 

Can an E-3D visa holder work while in the US?

Yes. An E-3D visa holder can apply for an employment authorization card (EAD), allowing them to work during the period stated on the card.

The Department of Labor (DOL) is involved with the E-3 visa application and employers bear a certain liability. Employers must make attestations about the wages for E-3 positions and they must guarantee the return fare home if an E-3's employment is terminated before the end of the period of authorized stay.

A Labor Condition Application must be filed and approved by the Department of Labor and posted within the Augusta University college/department before the employee applies for an E-3 visa at a U.S. consulate in Australia. As in the case of H-1B petitions, the Labor Condition Application requires that the college/department certify that the salary being paid to the E-3 applicant is the higher of the prevailing and actual wage.

Requesting E-3 Processing

Complete the appropriate forms and email  the necessary documents to IPSO@augusta.edu. Please be aware that every case varies and different documentation may be required for each individual petition. Estimated processing times referenced are subject to change without notice due to changes in regulations/laws and/or due to backlogs within a particular government agency. IPSO cannot control delays of this nature.


1. From the Hiring Department

An E-3 Application consists of the following documents, submitted from both the hiring department and the E-3 applicant.

 

For Postdoctoral Fellow positions, please see the Postdoctoral Guidelines  for information on how to obtain the template offer letter for postdocs.

For classified positions, we will need a copy of the official offer letter generated by Human Resources.

For faculty appointments, we will need a copy of the official appointment letter.

USCIS Filing Fees of $460 and $500.

Two separate checks in the amounts of $460 and $500 payable to:

Department of Homeland Security

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

California Service Center

ATTN: CAP EXEMPT E-3 Processing Unit

P. O. BOX 30040

Laguna Niguel, CA 92607-3004

The $460 is the USCIS filing fee associated with the application to petition for an E-3 visa (Form I-129) on behalf of Augusta University for (name of employee.) View more information about USCIS filing fees.

The $500 is the Fraud Detection and Prevention Fee that is part of the E-3 Reform Act enacted on March 8, 2005.

 

2. From the Applicant/Employee

Applicants currently in the United States, not holding an E-3 through Augusta University

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • Copy of current I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of current work permission document (I-20, DS-2019*, EAD, or I-797)
  • * IMPORTANT: For applicants who have previously been in J-1 or J-2 status subject to the 212(e) 2-year home residence requirement, a copy of the approval of your I-612 waiver is required for a change of status to E-3. A Department of State No Objection Letter is no longer sufficient to change status. Current and prospective employees should consult with their departments and J-1 program managers before beginning the waiver process.
  • Copy of passport (e.g. main information page, visa stamps, passport expiration date)
  • Copies of all academic degrees, licenses, and/or certifications (Foreign documents must be translated to the English language).
  • If the applicant's final degree is from a foreign institution, a document-by-document credential evaluation from American company. Some companies that provide this service: www.ece.org, www.gceus.com, www.lisano-intl.com, www.wes.org
    For Chinese degrees, use one of these two services: www.chsi.com.cn/en/ or www.cdgdc.edu.cn
  • Copies of publications, if any (first page only)

Note: Applicants currently holding an E-3 with another employer who want to transfer to Augusta University will need to provide all documents listed above including their current E-3 Approval Notice (Form I-797) and copies of three (3) most recent pay stubs.

Applicants not currently in the United States

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • * IMPORTANT: For applicants who have previously been in J-1 or J-2 status subject to the 212(e) 2-year home residence requirement, a copy of the approval of your I-612 waiver is required for a change of status to E-3. A Department of State No Objection Letter is no longer sufficient to change status. Current and prospective employees should consult with their departments and J-1 program managers before beginning the waiver process.
  • Copy of passport
  • Copies of all academic degrees, licenses, and/or certifications (Foreign transcripts must be translated into the English language.)
  • If the applicant's final degree is from a foreign institution, a document-by-document credential evaluation from American company. Following are some companies that provide this service: www.ece.orgwww.gceus.com, www.lisano-intl.com, www.jsilny.com, www.wes.org
    For Chinese degrees, use one of these two services: www.chsi.com.cn/en/ or www.cdgdc.edu.cn
  • Copies of publications, if any (first page only)

 

Applicants Extending E-3 status at Augusta University

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form
  • A current resume or curriculum vitae, with all dates listed in month/year format
  • Copy of current I-94
  • Copy of all previous E-3 approval notices (Form I-797)
  • Current copies of publications, if any (first page only)

3. From E-3 Applicant Dependent(s) Currently Present in the U.S.

  • Nonimmigrant Applicant Form (dependent section)
  • Copy of passport (must be current through the period of stay requested for the E-3 visa holder)
  • Copy of I-94 (front and back)
  • Filing Fee of $290 via check or money order payable to the Department of Homeland Security (Note: The total fee of $290 covers all dependents.)
  • Copy of marriage and/or birth certificates (Foreign marriage and/or birth certificates must be translated to the English language.)
  • Foreign address in home country
  • Dependent will need to sign USCIS Form I-539

4. IPSO Will

  • Conduct Prevailing Wage Analysis with the National Prevailing Wage and Helpdesk Center (Note: The salary offered must meet or exceed either the current Prevailing Wage as determined by the Department of Labor, or the Actual Wage as determined by IPSO, whichever is the higher value.)
  • Draft Support Letter to be signed by Department Chair, Institution or Center Director. The Support Letter will include a summary of the position being offered as stated in the Department E-3 Request Form and a description of why the individual uniquely meets the qualifications for the position offered.
  • Draft job offer letter for E-3 extension, or change of status to E-3, to be signed by the applicant's supervisor.
  • Complete USCIS Forms, provide institutional signatures, and mail completed package to USCIS.

Take the Next Step

Immigration Consultation