E-3 Visa Sponsorship

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 which 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. For the most current information on E-3 processing times, please consult our H-1B processing timelines , as E-3 processing times tend to be similar in length. 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 years 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 $290.00 (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.