Period of Stay and Process of the E3 Visa
E-3 Visa Duration and Application Process: Insights into stay periods, renewals, and procedural steps for Australian nationals.
Period of Stay/Extension of StayAustralian residents granted E-3 status may stay for up to 2 years. The LCA's validity period and the E-3 visa cannot overlap. The applicant must apply for an extension of stay with USCIS if they stay in the country past their initial period of stay without leaving. The employer may file Form I-129 on your behalf. A second option is for the applicant to leave the country before their status expires and then submit an application at a U.S. Consulate while overseas using the same forms and papers that were needed when they first applied to be accepted as an E-3 nonimmigrant. The E-3 visa can be extended indefinitely, unlike the H-1B or other nonimmigrant visas, if the applicant has a legitimate job offer from a U.S. business and can demonstrate a temporary intent to stay in the country only for the duration of the visa approval period.
Government ProcessingThe E-3 Visa application can be processed within the USCIS by submitting the application to the appropriate service center. Alternatively, the applicant can apply directly at the U.S. consulate abroad. In addition, if the applicant entered the U.S. on the visa waiver program, then the applicant is required to seek an E-3 visa at the consulate abroad. If the applicant is outside of the U.S., processing at the U.S. Consulate abroad may be more advantageous than applying with USCIS. Applying for the E-3 visa at the U.S. consulate takes significantly less time than processing with USCIS, depending on the next available visa appointment the applicant can secure. If the applicant is inside the U.S. or wishes to have approval before heading to the U.S. Consulate to submit a visa to travel to the U.S., the processing must be done with USCIS. The Service Center typically processes an E-3 petition within 2-4 months after the application is submitted. The time is just an estimate, and USCIS regularly updates its website with information on actual processing timelines. For an extra $2500, the application can be premium processed. Regardless of which application process is selected, it should include the following evidence for the E-3 application:
- A letter of support from the U.S. employer;
- Evidence of the applicant’s professional qualifications, such as a degree/diploma, transcripts, appropriate evaluations, and/or experience letters;
- Evidence of the applicant’s intent to depart the U.S. after the assignment; and
- A copy of an approved labor certification.
- Accept the case. If your petition is accepted, USCIS will send you a Form I-797 as an approval notice in the mail.
- Send a Request for Additional Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). The USCIS officer examining your case may ask you to submit further information to back up particular claims made in your application if the officer determines that there is not enough evidence to support approval. USCIS typically gives applicants up to 84 days to reply to an RFE and a NOID.
- Reject your application; no RFE or NOID is required. If this happens, a client may ask USCIS to reopen their case or file an appeal with an appeals board.
- If filing with the consulate abroad, the visa application fee is $205.
- If filing within the US, the applicant will file form I-129 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. The fee is $460.
- The application is eligible for premium processing for an additional $2,500.
The Benefits of the E3 Visa
- E3 Visa has unlimited renewals. The status is usually valid for two years. However, there is no limit to the number of times it can be extended.
- The E3 visa is not subject to travel restrictions.
- Spouses of E-3 professionals are allowed to apply for employment authorization.