E-3 is similar to H-1B, but is for specialty occupation workers who are citizens of Australia. Unlike the H-1B which is usually limited to 6 years, there is no maximum stay for E-3 status, although it is granted for a maximum of 2 years at a time.
E-3 status is not appropriate for tenured or tenure-track positions due to its strictly temporary nature. (It does not allow for dual intent.) Persons who are ineligible for H-1B or other employment based visas because they are subject to the J-1 2-year home residence rule can be granted the E-3 visa/status.
To initiate the E-3 application process with ISSS:
- The sponsoring department must initiate the E-3 process for any individual who is requesting E-3 status at the University of Minnesota for the first time (i.e. change of immigration status to E-3, E-3 transfer from another employer, or new E-3 employee arriving from abroad). See E-3 Instructions for the Department.
- The E-3 employee must initiate the process if they are already in E-3 status AND already employed by the University of Minnesota (i.e. E-3 extensions and amendments). See E-3 Instruction for the Employee.
The dependent spouse and children (under age 21) of an E-3 principal, if otherwise eligible, may be granted E-3D status regardless of the spouse or children’s nationality. E-3 dependents may attend school, and the E-3 dependent spouse has employment benefits once they enter into E-3 status.
There are two ways to obtain E-3D status:
- If the dependents are in the U.S., they may apply for a change or extension of status by completing Forms I-539 and I-539A.These forms can be filed concurrently with the E-3 petition.
- If the dependents are outside the U.S., the Forms I-539 and I-539A are not required. After the E-3 application materials are prepared for U.S. Consular processing, the E-3 employee and their dependents may apply for E-3D visas at a U.S. consulate. In addition to the items mentioned on the Travel page, dependents should present a marriage certificate (spouse) or birth certificate (children).
See the Visa Options for Employment Eligibility chart for a comparison to other visa types.