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US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that as of today, February 24, 2021, it will accept premium processing requests and fees for I-129 petitions requesting E-3 nonimmigrant status. This ends the E-3 visa’s long run as almost the only nonimmigrant work visa which did not permit premium processing.
Premium processing entails the payment of s significant additional (but optional) fee to ensure 15-business-day response time from USCIS upon their receipt of a filing. The response may not be an approval – it can be a Request for Evidence (with another 15-day response period permitted to USCIS on receipt of an employer’s response) or even a denial. However, it does allow petitioners and beneficiaries to receive a decision in a faster and more predictable manner.
The E-3 is a visa created by treaty solely for Australians, and in terms of requirements is similar to the H-1B visa – but is exempt from the H-1B’s numerical cap (it does have its own cap, but this has never been reached).