Treaty Alien in a Specialty Occupation (E3)

The treaty alien in a specialty occupation (E3) was the result of a law enacted in May 2005, creating a new visa classification for Australian professionals who wish to enter the United States on a temporary basis to perform in a specialty occupation for a US employer on a full or part time basis.  Australian nationals who wish to apply for this classification may do so at any United States consular post that processes nonimmigrant visas.  Please note, although it is not possible to apply for E3 classification from within the United States, a request for extension of E3 status or change of employer may be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Requirements for an E3 Visa

The requirements for an E3 visa are as follows:

  • The sponsoring United States employer must submit and have approved a Labor Condition Application (LCA).
  • The prospective employment must be in a “specialty occupation,” which is defined as an occupation which requires: “theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge,” and “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.”
  • The E3 visa applicant must present documentation showing his or her academic qualifications for the position.
  • The proposed stay in the United States must be temporary, meaning that the E3 visa applicant will leave the United States at the end of his or her authorized stay.
  • If a license is required as a condition of employment, the E3 visa applicant must show that he or she holds such license or that he or she will obtain such licensure within a reasonable period of time following admission to the United States (if such license is not immediately required).

Family Members

The principal E3 visa applicant’s family members are permitted to enter the United States in E3 classification.  A spouse of the E3 employee is permitted to work, and thus, may request an employment authorization document from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) upon entry to the United States.

Time Limitation

E3 visas are granted for a maximum validity period of 2 years.  E3 status may be extended while on the United States in 2 year increments.  There is no cap on the number of years that an E3 worker may remain in the United States as long as he or she maintains the terms of his or her authorized stay.

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