This post describes the process for an Australian Citizen with a specialty skill-set to obtain the US E3 Visa. I applied for mine in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, using my BSc(Hons) degree, Enterprise Architect experience and qualifications to meet the “specialty skill-set” requirement.
If you are an Australian with a specialty skill-set, you are entitled to the E3 Visa to work in the USA. This is with non-immigrant resident status, where 10,500 are issued annually, renewable every 2 years and you can change employers via a Department of Labour process.
This is a lot easier and cheaper than the H1B visa and allows your spouse to work in the US also.
What do you need from your prospective employer to get started?
- Signed Job Offer on Company Letter Head, including the Job Description.
- LCA ETA Form 9035E. This was waived in January 2016, however I asked my employer to submit it anyway. This form has a unique reference code (format A-NNN-NNNN-NNNNNN).
What do you need to do?
- Have a photo of each applicant in JPG format.
- Complete the DS-160 form for yourself, each form has a unique reference code (format AANNNAAANN). This reference code is used to identify your application and passport through the entire process.
- Each Dependent needs their own DS-160 form. You will classify them as E3 Dependent Spouse or E3 Dependent Child and use your DS-160 reference code to link to the primary E3 visa applicant.
- VisaPoint of the US Embassy you are planning to attend (make sure you can prove your residency outside of Australia, otherwise you will be required to attend the US Embassy in Canberra, Melbourne or Sydney).
- Via VisaPoint, start the eForm application for a Non-Immigrant Visa with the specific US Embassy you plan to visit. This form requires the DS-160 codes and passport details of all applicants.
- Pay the Application Fee of US$205 per person (including dependents). You will probably be required to visit a specific bank and complete the deposit slip for the local US Embassy bank account. You will receive an email once the deposit is linked to your application number. You will then be able to book the interview.
- Supporting Documents – Copies of CV, University Degree, Specialty Certifications, Specialty Training Certificates, etc.
- Schedule the Interview via VisaPoint.
- Important – Engage a US Tax Consultant who specialises in Expatriate affairs to understand how your global income will be taxed in the US.
- Bring the following:
- Printout of Appointment Confirmation for all applicants.
- All applicants must attend the interview.
- Passport Photo for all applicants (in case JPG does not meet requirements).
- DS-160 Confirmation for all applicants.
- Australian Passports of all applicants.
- Copy of signed Job Offer.
- Copy of your LCA ETA Form 9035E (if your employer applied for it), including reference number.
- Supporting Documents.
- Proof of foreign residency (if attending a US Embassy outside Australia).
- Self-Addressed, Stamped Envelope (depends upon country).
- Booth 1 – Appointment Verification and Labeling of Passports.
- Booth 2 – Application Verification and 10-way Fingerprinting.
- Booth 3 – Fingerprint Validation.
- Booth 4 – Interview with US Embassy Official.
- It takes approximately 2 hours to complete.
- Arrive 30 minutes before to clear security.
- Only bring what you need, leave electronics, wallets, back packs, handbags, etc. in your car.
Checking the Status of your Application and Passport Delivery
- Status via Passport Number.
- Status via Tracking Number (DS-160 reference).
- Status via Email.
- Your Visa Application status will be “Issued” if successful.
- You Passport will be delivered with the E3 Visa occupying one page of your passport. Your dependents will have the “E3D” classification.
- It takes approximately 5 working days to be completed and delivered.
- Passport will be delivered via courier (or self-addressed envelope).
- Receive an SMS with the courier office for pickup and the tracking number.
- Receive an Email from the US Embassy with the courier office for pickup and the tracking number.
After you arrive in the US
- Apply for Drivers Licence.
- Apply for Social Security Number.
- Open Bank Account.