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The E-3 non-immigrant visa is a professional worker visa very similar in requirements and uses to the H-1B. It was created as a result of a trade agreement with Australia, and consequently only Australians are eligible to use this visa. The E-3 bears almost no similarity to the E-1 or E-2 non-immigrant visa categories except for its basis in a trade agreement/treaty.

For an Australian professional seeking work in the U.S., there are two main advantages to seeking an E-3 instead of an H-1B. First, there is the issue of availability. H-1Bs are numerically limited and are frequently entirely unavailable to most applicants. This will not be an issue for the E-3 visa; although there is an annual limit on these, it has never come close to being reached. Second, an E-3 can be obtained much more quickly than an H-1B. There is no need for the employer to file a petition with the proper U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regional Service Center and wait anywhere from two weeks to three months for approval before the foreign national can even apply for a visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate. A petition can be assembled and sent directly to the foreign national for application at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate, where the case will be adjudicated and (if approved) the visa stamp issued. It should be noted that, as with an H-1B, an approved Labor Condition Application from the U.S. Department of Labor is required.

Yes. There is no separate derivative visa category for family members of E-3s, however immediate family members can be admitted on their own E-3 visas as long as the principal applicant is admitted in that category.

A spouse (but not children) may apply for employment authorization through USCIS once in their respective E status, permitting them to accept employment. But, they cannot work with first obtaining this employment authorization – which may take three to four months from the time they apply.