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E-3 Status for Scholars

The E-3 status is for treaty aliens in a specialty occupation. At this time, only citizens of Australia are eligible for E-3 status and there are only 10,500 E-3 visas available annually.

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) defines a “specialty occupation” as one that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

Departments may consider E-3 status for a scholar if:

  • The scholar is a citizen of Australia
  • The scholar will be employed by the university
  • The position fits the definition of a specialty occupation
  • The scholar has at least a bachelor’s degree
  • The department will pay at least the prevailing wage as determined by the State Workforce Agency (SWA)
  • The department will comply with attestations regarding working conditions and actual wages (see Memo Requesting E-3 Status below)

The employee can obtain E-3 status in one of two ways:

1. If the employee is currently overseas, he/she can obtain the E-3 visa from a U.S. embassy overseas and then enter the United States with this visa and obtain E-3 status. The employee must have a certified Labor Condition Application when applying for the visa (see Documents Required for E-3 below).

2. If the employee is currently here in the United States and does not want to exit the country and re-enter on an E-3 visa, ISSS can assist by filing for a change of status to E-3 (see Documents Required for E-3 below).

Please see the following pages for more information regarding:

Dependents
Immigration law must always take family into consideration. When an incoming scholar is applying for a change of status, the status of family members must be considered as well.

It is possible for a scholar in E-3 status to have his/her family (spouse and children) in the dependent E-3D status. Spouses in E-3D dependent status can be employed while in the United States, but will have to apply for an Employment Authorization Document, which must be approved before they can begin working. If the E-3 temporary worker is in the United States with dependents, the dependents must apply for either extension of their E-3D status or change of their current status to E-3D status when the E-3 principal applies for either extension of status or change of status. Additional fees are charged for these dependent applications. Consult ISSS for more information.

Immigrant Status
All international scholars who come to the university on regular tenure-track faculty appointments must eventually obtain immigrant or permanent resident status. E-3 status is not appropriate for those seeking permanent residence status. We suggest that tenure-track faculty or faculty who want to begin the permanent residence process move into the H-1B status since H-1B status affords “dual intent” (can be an intending immigrant while on a nonimmigrant visa). Dual intent does not apply to those on an E-3 visa.