US E3 Visa Occupations

What are the E3 visa occupations?

If you are an Australian national looking to move to the USA to work, you may be considering the E-3 visa. While the route is open exclusively to citizens of Australia, among the requirements of the route is that you will be working in a specialty occupation.

What constitutes a speciality occupation is not however always straight forward, and E3 applicants will need to dedicate considerable effort to confirm the role is eligible and that they have the necessary qualifications or experience by providing sufficient compelling evidence to support the application. 

Do you have a question about the E3 visa occupations?>>

Under the current US Administration, US visa petitions across all classes are being heavily scrutinized by adjudicators, who now hold greater discretionary powers to approve, deny or request further information about an application. 

For applications that may have been relatively straightforward five years ago, there are fewer guarantees and certainties, making the application and the supporting documentation critical in evidencing eligibility and suitability under the E3 route. With so much at stake, particularly as you will need to have a hob offer in place in the US, it will be essential to get your application right first time. 

What are the E3 visa occupations?

The E3 visa is only available to Australian citizens who are professionals in a specialty occupation. 

The standard for the specialty occupation can be found in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 214 (i)(1) for H-1B nonimmigrants, which is also applicable to E-3 visa roles. It is specialty occupation is defined as an occupation that requires:

  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and
  • The attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university in the specific specialty (or equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States or (2) possess a foreign degree determined to be equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree as required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university; 

There is no definitive or official list of specialty occupations, but the following, among others, would usually qualify: 

  • Accountants, auditors and related finance and administrative occupations
  • Architects
  • Arts-related professionals 
  • Business managers
  • Clergy and other occupations in religion and theology
  • Commercial artists, designers, illustrators, graphic arts,
  • product and related designers
  • Other Occupations In Art,
  • Data and computer scientists
  • Digital, communications and computer-related professionals 
  • Education and research professionals at all levels 
  • Engineers across disciplines including aeronautical, electronic, civil, chemical, industrial, mechanical and nuclear
  • Lawyers, judges and other occupations in law and jurisprudence
  • Mathematicians
  • Medical and health professionals across disciplines including physicians and surgeons, dentists, pharmacists, registered nurses,
  • veterinarians
  • Music and other occupations in entertainment and recreation
  • Sales occupations
  • Scientists across fields including astronomy, chemistry, geology, life sciences, meteorology, physics
  • Social and welfare workers
  • Surveyors 
  • Writers and editors

The Occupations Information Network website can also provide helpful indication of the likelihood that a profession would be considered a specialty occupation. 

E3 specialty occupation qualifications

You will only be eligible for the E3 visa if the role you will be performing in the USA requires a Bachelor’s Degree as one of the requirements or conditions for hiring a candidate. 

However, that is not to say that your degree has to be in a subject directly related to your profession. It may be possible for example to rely on an arts degree if you are a lawyer. It is worth taking advice to confirm if your qualification would be acceptable under the criteria.  

In some circumstances, it may also be possible to be eligible for the E3 visa without a bachelor’s degree, provided you can show substantial, relevant experience within your professional field. Generally, this would mean having 3 years experience as an equivalent to each year of undergraduate study. As the US generally works to four years of university study, for this exception to apply you should be able to show around 12 years (and certainly more than 10) verified professional experience.

Do I Qualify for the E3 Visa?

In addition to the E3 visa specialty occupation and qualification requirements, other criteria apply which you will need to evidence as part of your application.

Australian citizenship

You must be an Australian citizen with a valid Australian passport. Australian lawful permanent residents are not eligible.  

Job offer 

You must have a firm offer of a job in the US for a specialty occupation role that pays the minimum applicable wage or more. 

Sponsorship

Your job must be with a qualifying employer who will sponsor your application and has secured a Labor Condition Application.

The LCA is required for US employers to employ foreign nationals lawfully. Through the LCA, the employer must show they were not able to find a suitable or available US employee for the position and that, by hiring an overseas worker, they are not detrimentally impacting the salary and working conditions of US employees by paying a fair prevailing salary equal to a US employee. The LCA takes up to ten days to process and there is no filing cost.

Only with the LCA granted can the job applicant proceed with their E3 visa application

Licence to perform

Where your occupation requires a licence to practise or perform in the n the state in which employment is sought, such as an attorney, architect or surveyor, you will need to confirm you will take the necessary steps to secure the relevant permission or licence as soon as possible after arriving in the US in order to commence work. 

Do you need help with an E-3 visa application?

The key to ensuring a successful application is careful planning and ensuring you and your prospective employer complete all the stages of the application process in sufficient detail and with the relevant evidence.

NNU Immigration are specialists in US work visas, including the E3 visa applications. We can also help where you are starting a new job in the US with a new employer, as a new LCA and E3 visa will be needed. Contact us for professional support with your E3 visa application.

This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.

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