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E-3 VISA - Frequently Asked Questions


If I get an E-3 visa, how long before I start my job can I enter the U.S.?

You can enter the US up to 10 days before you start your job.


How long can I stay in the U.S. after I finish my job?

ou can stay for up to 10 days after you finish your job.


Can I travel outside the U.S. while on my E-3 visa?

Yes. The E-3 visa is a multiple-entry visa, so provided you have not changed employers, or made any other changes to your E-3 status, you may travel outside the US and reenter on a valid, unexpired E-3 visa.


Can I be self-employed under the E-3 visa?

No. You cannot be either self-employer or an independent contractor while you are in the US on an E-3 visa. You must have a US employer as your sponsor.

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What are the benefits of the E-3 visa?

The benefits of the E-3 visa include:

  • Unlike most other temporary employment visas, your E-3 visa sponsor/employer does not need to submit a petition to the USCIS. This makes the E-3 visa preferable to the H-1B because you do not need a petition approved by the USCIS prior to applying for an E-3 visa stamp at a US consulate.
  • The application process for the E-3 visa is relatively easy when compared to the H-1B visa. It is generally assumed that you can obtain your E-3 visa within a week of your interview at the US Consulate.
  • You can apply for to change status between H-1B and E-3 visa status.
  • There is no limitation on the number of years you remain in E-3 status as long as you can prove that you do not intend to remain in the US permanently.
  • Extensions of an E-3 visa will not be counted against the annual E-3 visa cap.
  • Spouses of E-3 visa holders can apply for employment authorization and work in the US.

What are the limitations of E-3 visa?

The E-3 visa has certain limitations:

  • There are a maximum of 10,500 E-3 visas issued during each fiscal year (October 1st to September 30). However, dependents of E-3 visa holders are not counted against this cap limit. The cap only applies to the principal E-3 visa holder.
  • The E-3 visa does not support the doctrine of "dual intent," i.e., you cannot be seeking permanent resident status in the US while you are trying to extend your E-3 visa status.

Difference between the E-3 and H-1B visa?

The major differences between the E-3 and H-1B visa are as follows:

  • The spouse of an E-3 visa holder may apply for employment authorization and work while in the US. There are no restrictions on the type of work a spouse can do. H-1B dependents cannot accept employment while they are in H-4 visa status.
  • The E-3 visa is renewable indefinitely (in two-year increments) whereas H-1B visa status is valid for only up to six years (unless the H-1B holder begins the green card process within certain time constraints, in which case the H-1B may be extended during the time the green card application is pending).
  • E-3 visas are nonimmigrant visas. Accordingly, E-3 visa holders must prove their intent to return to Australia when the E-3 job is finished. However the H-1B visa, which is also a nonimmigrant visa, allows the doctrine of dual intent, i.e., it allows the H-1B visa holder to pursue both permanent resident status and H-1B status at the same time.
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