Hiring an E-3 Employee

The E-3 visa allows citizens of Australia to work in the United States in specialty occupations.

To qualify as a specialty occupation, the position at UC must require on of the following criteria:

  • A baccalaureate degree or higher in a specific field of study must be the minimum entry requirement for the position
  • The degree must be common among organizations in the industry
  • The particular duties of the position must be so specialized and complex that the knowledge necessary to execute the duties is normally associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate degree or higher

There is an annual cap that limits the number of E-3 visas that can be approved each year to 10,500.

Once this cap has been reached, no further E-3 visas can be approved.

Hiring Process

The individual being hired must be able to demonstrate his / her qualifications for the position offered through documentation of the following:

  • A U.S. baccalaureate degree or higher which is specifically related to and required by the specialty occupation.
  • A foreign degree (except those received in Canada, the UK or Australia) which has been evaluated by an accredited firm or organization as equivalent to a US baccalaureate degree and is specifically related to and required by the specialty occupation.
  • Work experience directly related to the proposed duties at UC. Three years of direct work experience counts for one year of education.

eForm Request

The hiring department must create an iBearcatsGlobal record for the employee (if not already employed at UC) and submit an E-3 worker eForm. 

The hiring department must pay the employee at least the average of what others in the department with similar duties, skills, and qualifications make. UC must attest that, for the entire period of employment, the wage paid to the E-3 worker will be the greater of:

  • The actual wage rate paid to workers at the place of employment with similar skills and qualifications in the occupation in question.
  • The prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the area of intended employment as established by the Department of Labor. We are required to pay at least 100% of the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD).

After all documentation is submitted, UC International will request the Prevailing Wage Determination for the Department of Labor.

The wage determinations is based upon a comparison between UC’s requirements as to the degree, training, skills and work experience and the requirements considered by the US Department of Labor to be normal for the occupation, as well as the number of employees to be supervised by the foreign national.

If the department requires additional years of experience above the required degree, the PWD will be significantly higher.

  1. A letter signed by the Head of the Department, addressed to the U.S. Embassy. Contact us for a sample letter. The letter should include:
    • the dates of the employment requested for the E-3 visa (not to exceed 2 years in duration)
    • the salary being offered
    • a description of job duties which demonstrate that the job requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field of study
    • an explanation of why this candidate was selected for the job, including items such as education, experience, special knowledge, background
    • a statement that the department agrees to comply with all terms of the LCA until the end date
  2. A completed “Checklist for Export Control Issues for Hiring International Workers” form, available in the eForm. The form must be certified by the Department/Division Head. 
  3. A check from the University for the I-129 filing fee, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
    1. Let the purchasing department know to send you the check. Do not send it directly to the Department of Homeland Security.
  4. An additional check for premium processing if requested/needed. USCIS premium processing is 15 calendar days.
    1. This fee must be paid by the hiring department if a quick approval is needed for business reasons.
    2. If the need for premium processing is due to the employee’s personal reasons, they pay the fee and attest to the need for premium processing.
  1. A copy of highest diploma and related transcripts. If the degree is NOT from a university in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia, submit an evaluation of the equivalent US degree.
  2. Personal information such as:
    • Curriculum vitae
    • Copies of all current immigration documents (passport, visa, I-94 record) if the employee will not be applying for the E-3 visa at a US Consulate/Embassy abroad
    • if applying from within the US with dependents, a Form I-539 and copies of all current immigration documents (passport, visa, I-94 record) for dependents

Preparing the I-129 Application

After receiving the eForm and all documentation listed in the employer and employee checklists, UC International will:

  1. Obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor. 
    1. We will contact the hiring department if there is a wage problem.
  2. Obtain a Certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.
  3. Prepare the I-129 application for E-3 status.

After the completion of all three steps, the E-3 employee will be given all required documents and will send the application for the E-3 status to the Department of Homeland Security.

If outside the US, the employee will take their offer letter and Certified Labor Condition Application to apply for the E-3 visa at a US embassy / consulate. The E-3 employee will need to pay the customary visa fee.

Upon approval of the petition or entry to the US, the visitor must report to UC International with their passport, visa and I-94 for check-in and onboarding.