The E-3 is a visa for Australian nationals who wish to work in specialty occupations in the United States (U.S.). It has many advantages over the other types of working visas, including the ability for spouses of E-3 recipients to apply for work authorization.
E-3 visas are like the H-1B visa in that the positions require highly specialized knowledge or expertise, and the minimum requirements are the same.
If the position qualifies as a "specialty occupation," the foreign national must then show that he or she meets the criteria for that position. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations state that the foreign national must meet one of the criteria stated above.
E-3 visa status is granted initially for up to two (2) years, and can be renewed indefinitely.
Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany the principal E-3 visa holder (or join him/her at a later date) in the U.S. for the duration of his or her stay require E-3D visas. They can obtain their visas at the U.S. Consulate along with the E-3 visa holder.
The spouse and/or children of an Australian national in the U.S. may work in the U.S. under E-3D status with the appropriate authorization. However, before working, an application for a work permit must be filed with the USCIS and be approved prior to beginning work. A Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization Document Card must be filed with the local USCIS office that serves the area where they live.
Although most visa application petitions have to be filed through a USCIS service center, an E-3 visa application can be made at a U.S. Consulate. First, City of Hope must request a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor. The applicant then may apply at the U.S. Consulate using the LCA and other supporting documentation (support letter, résumé and applicable academic degrees).