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E-3 Immigration Status

Like the TN-status, E-3 status is based on a free trade agreement and its use is restricted to citizens of certain countries. E-3 status permits Australian citizens to come to the United States to work in a “specialty occupation.” Whereas TN status is restricted to a list of professions, E-3 status is available for any “specialty occupation,” similar to H-1B status. To qualify for E-3 status, the foreign national/position must meet the same wage requirements as an individual in H-1B status would have to meet.

The benefits of E-3 status are (as compared to H-1B status):

  • E-3 status can be obtained without the need for a formal petition, unless the Australian citizen is currently in the US and needs an extension/change of his/her immigration status. As a result, there are no filing fees and the process can be significantly faster than the H-1B process.
  • The dependent of a primary E-3 status holder is also eligible for E-3 status (regardless of citizenship) and is eligible to apply for employment authorization.
  • Note: To enter the US on the basis of E-3 status from abroad, the foreign national will need to obtain an E-3 visa at a US embassy or consulate.

Because a petition with USCIS is generally not required, please allow ISS 4-6 weeks to prepare the relevant paperwork.

In those cases where the foreign national is currently in the US and does not intend to travel internationally to obtain E-3 status, a petition with USCIS will be required. Additional time should be allowed for this.