Some Interesting E-3 Visa Facts that May Help You:
E-3 Visa Quota or Cap
Like the H1B Visa, there is an E-3 visa quota or cap every year of 10,500.
While this number could hypothetically be reached in any given year, it has not been reached in many years (we’d go so far as saying it’s never been reached, but we don’t have the firm data to back up that statement). This is contrary to the H1B visa quota, which is reached every year, sometimes quite early in the year.
Full-time or Part-time for E-3 Status
You may apply for an E-3 visa for a full-time position or a part-time position. Generally speaking, any position requiring less than 35 hours per week would be considered a part-time position.
E-3 Visa Transfer
You can transfer your E-3 Visa from one employer to another. There is no limit on the number of E-3 transfer applications that can be filed.
You can either transfer your E-3 to a new employer by submitting a petition in the United States or you can apply for the E-3 at a United States Consulate abroad. Although we’re calling this a “transfer”, it’s essentially filing a new application.
Keep in mind that it typically doesn’t make sense to transfer to a new employer by submitting a petition in the US, since it could take approximately 2-3 months until the petition is approved.
Unlike with an H1B transfer petition, you cannot begin working for the new employer upon the filing of the petition with USCIS, you need the petition approval notice. This means that in most situations, you will need to file your E-3 transfer petition utilizing the “premium processing” option which provides a decision within 15 calendar days but incurs additional government filing fees. Hence the reason that it is typically more efficient to apply for the E-3 with the new employer at a United States Consulate abroad.
Spouses of E-3 Visa Holders & Work Authorization
Spouses of E-3 visa holders (they will obtain an E-3D) may apply for work authorization in the United States to allow them to work in any capacity. This is a huge advantage as compared to the H4 status (this is what spouses of H1B holders obtain), as the H4 status does not allow work authorization.
It’s important to note that in order to obtain work authorization in the US, the E-3D visa holder will have to submit a separate application in the United States for a work authorization card.
In other words, unlike the E-3 visa, merely being in the United States in the E-3D status does not give the holder the authority to legally work in the United States.
Duration of the E-3 Visa
The E-3 is valid for 2 year periods at a time. Unlike the H1B status, there is no limit as to how long you can be in the E-3 status. This is a huge advantage compared to the H1B.
E-3 and Immigrant Intent
The E-3 Visa is not a “dual intent” visa, like the H-1B or L-1 visa. This means that it does not tolerate “immigrant intent”, which is the intent to apply for a green card in the United States or stay permanently in the United States. That being the case, one needs to be careful in navigating the green card process when they are on an E-3 visa.
For example, if an individual is in the United States with E-3 visa status and they submit a green card through marriage application, they cannot travel out of the United States while the application is pending before receiving advance parole travel authorization or being approved for a green card. By contrast, an individual in the H-1B and L-1 statuses can travel while a green card application is pending since the visas tolerate “immigrant intent”.
Due to the fact that the E-3 visa does not tolerate immigrant intent, some people prefer to navigate the green card process through the immigrant visa route as opposed to wrapping up the process in the United States through the adjustment of status process.
Alternatives to the E-3 Visa
The following are some alternatives to the E-3 visa: the L-1 visa for intracompany transferees or the O-1 visa for extraordinary individuals. Other visas that may be suitable, depending on the nature of the situation, are the J-1 visa, the E-1 treaty trader visa, or the E-2 treaty investor visa.
If you happen to also be a Canadian citizen, the TN visa is also a great alternative as long as you qualify under one of the professions. If you don’t qualify for an E-3 visa, you will also not qualify for an H-1B visa, as the essential requirements are the same.
Size of Employer
An E-3 petitioning employer can be of any size.
We have successfully obtained E-3 visa approvals for companies with 1,000s of employees just as we have obtained successful approvals for companies with as few as 1, 2, or 3 employees. What is important is that the company is a legit operation and that they have a need for an individual of a certain occupation.
Put our E-3 Visa Lawyer experience to work for you. Contact us to discuss your case: 212-643-0985, email us, or fill out the contact form above.