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E-3 Visa

An individual with an E-3 visa must work in a specialty occupation, which is characterized by the "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement."

E-3 visa status is an attractive alternative to H-1B status for Australian citizens because:

  • It does not require an I-797 approval from USCIS. In other words, you can apply for the E-3 visa with an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA)

  • Individuals who are ineligible for H-1B status or have reached the six-year limit on H-1B status may qualify for E-3 status

  • Spouses have employment authorization based on a valid dependent nonimmigrant status (E-3S). Children of those who hold an E-3D visa are not permitted to work


The Immigration and Nationality Act mandates that the employment of a foreign worker should not adversely impact the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers currently employed.

The U.S. Department of Labor's regulations require that the wages offered to a foreign worker must be at least the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment. The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment.

Factors considered when establishing a prevailing wage are the required job experience, qualifications, education, job responsibility and function, and specialized knowledge required for the job. Job descriptions should never describe the applicant. Of course, the department can choose to hire individuals who exceed the minimum requirements.

The E-3 is an "employer-specific" status. This means that the holder of the E-3 visa may only be paid by the specific E-3 sponsor and only according to the terms in each E-3 application. Those with an E-3 status cannot accept funds from another employer or source other than the employer listed in the E-3 application.

How to apply

Your U.S. hospital department will coordinate the E-3 visa sponsorship with you and act as the liaison with our office regarding any questions you have.

Applicants have two (2) options for processing:

1. An applicant may obtain an E-3 visa at the U.S. embassy/consulate. For those outside the U.S. or processing at a U.S. consulate, once the paperwork has been prepared by our office, you will use a copy of your Labor Condition Application (also known as an LCA or Form ETA-9035/9035E) to apply for the E-3 visa at an American embassy or consulate. You may enter the U.S. up to 10 days before the start date noted on the Labor Condition Application and can start working on or after the start date on the Labor Condition Application.

Please visit the Embassy/Consulate’s website at to review the procedures, schedule an interview, and obtain specific visa application instructions. The Labor Condition Application is the only document you will need from our office to schedule your visa interview at the American embassy. E-3 visa status is employer-specific for a defined position and a limited period of time.

2. The GPS office may file Form I-129 with USCIS. This option does not require the foreign national to leave the U.S. and is ideal for change of employers or change of status requests. Premium processing also is available for an additional fee. If filing for a change of employer or change of status, premium processing is required.

Your family

Your legally married spouse and your unmarried children under 21 years old are eligible for E-3S and E-3D visa status. Your spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. E-3S spouses have employment authorized based on their valid E dependent nonimmigrant status. Children on an E-3D visa are not permitted to work.

Your E-3S and E-3D family members can enter the U.S. with you or separately, after you are already in the U.S. If they enter separately, you should provide them with a copy of your Labor Condition Application and a recent copy of your U.S. hospital pay statement/paycheck after you have been paid. Your family should always know your U.S. home address, where you work, and what type of work you do.

What to expect at the port of entry

Place your visa documents in your carry-on bag because you will not have access to your checked-in luggage until after you go through U.S. Immigration. Be prepared to give the following items to Customs & Border Protection (CBP) when entering the United States:

  1. Your passport, which should be valid for at least six months into the future

  2. A copy of your Labor Condition Application

  3. Your job offer letter

  4. The name and address of the hospital at which you will participate, if requested

After CBP reviews the above documentation, the officer should:

  1. Enter your electronic “Form I-94 Arrival/Departure” visa information into the government’s database

  2. Return all of the documentation to you

Please review your I-94 record to confirm that your permitted length of stay is not earlier than the expiration date listed on your Labor Condition Application. If the CBP officer writes an earlier date on the in your I-94 record, your E-3 visa status will expire on that earlier date even though your Labor Condition Application says a later date.

You should review your I-94 record each time you enter the U.S. and inform the immigration officer of any inconsistencies.  Keep your Labor Condition Application and a copy of your I-94 with your passport.  Keep copies of your passport and visa documents in a separate and safe place in case your originals are lost or stolen.