E-3 Reference Guide
The E-3 visa is available to citizens of Australia working in a “specialty occupation.” The decision to sponsor you for an E-3 visa is made by International Scholars Operations (ISO) after a careful review of applicable federal laws and UW policies. Please direct any questions about visa sponsorship to firstname.lastname@example.org. Without exception, Labor Condition Applications and visa petitions based on UW employment are processed by ISO. Only the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel has authority to sign a Labor Condition Application on behalf of the UW. Attorneys are not permitted to represent the UW’s interests in immigration matters.
The number of E-3 visas is limited to 10,500 per fiscal year. Spouses and children of applicants do not count against the annual quota.
- Documentation required upon arrival in the US
- What to expect at the port of entry
- Social Security number
- UW identification card (Husky Card)
- Washington State driver’s license/identification card
- Health care
- E-3D employment
- Study in E-3D status
- Childcare for young children
- Children and schools
- Family activities
- Report address changes
- Do not let your passport expire
- Work only in the position listed on your Labor Condition Application
- Maintain a full-time appointment
- Depart the US in a timely manner
- Extending your stay
- Pay your taxes
- Registration documentation
- Travel within the US
A “visa” is a stamp on a page of your passport permitting you to travel to the border of the US to ask an immigration officer for permission to enter the US. Before you apply for the E-3 visa, ISO must file a Labor Condition Application, Form ETA 9035, with the US Department of Labor.
Applicants for visas are interviewed by a US consular officer. Consulates charge a fee for issuing the visa. Whenever possible, apply for the visa at a US consulate in your home country. It is not possible to apply for a visa from within the US. The visa does not need to remain valid after you have entered the US. Your I-94 record, passport, and Labor Condition Application however, must remain valid at all times.
To apply for the E-3 visa, present the ETA-9035 Labor Condition Application, offer letter, passport, and any required US licensure along with the visa application to the nearest US embassy or consulate. Additional requirements may be found at the web site of the US consulate where the application will be submitted.
Family members applying for E-3D dependent visas present to the consulate their passports and evidence of their relationship to you (marriage certificate for spouse, birth certificates for children).
Documentation required upon arrival in the US
Be prepared to present the following to an immigration officer when entering or re-entering the US in E-3 status:
- Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of your expected stay.
- If entering the US to begin E-3 status, bring a copy of your UW employment offer letter. If you are re-entering the US to continue E-3 status, carry with you a letter from your UW employing department confirming that you are returning to continue employment in the position listed on the Labor Condition Application.
- Photocopies of the ETA 9035 Labor Condition Application. (Copies may be obtained from your host department or ISO.)
- Valid E-3 visa stamp. If the visa has expired, it may be extended by presenting the documents listed above to a US embassy or consulate. For more information about the visa process, contact the US embassy or consulate in the city where the application will be submitted. A valid E-3 visa is not required for re-entry to the US following a visit of less than 30 days in Canada or Mexico. This is called automatic visa revalidation. With automatic revalidation, your visa will be considered to be “extended” (and “converted” to the proper visa category if you previously changed status while in the U.S.) to the date of re-entry, eliminating the need to obtain a new visa at a U.S. consulate before that particular re-entry. If you apply for a new visa while in contiguous territory (Canada or Mexico), you will not be able to return to the U.S. unless the visa is granted.
What to expect at the port of entry
Arrange to enter the US no sooner than 10 days prior to the start date indicated on the Labor Condition Application.
- Hand-carry your documents (you will not have access to your baggage until later) and be prepared to present them to an immigration officer at the airport. These documents will be returned to you.
- Upon entry into the US, the officer will stamp your passport, indicating your class of admission and period of stay.
- You will be issued Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. If you are issued a paper I-94 card, you will be asked to write your Seattle (residence) address on the back of it.
- The officer will take your fingerprints and photograph.
- If the officer cannot verify your information or if you do not have all the required documentation, you may be directed to an interview area referred to as “secondary inspection.” Be patient and cooperative. If the officer has questions about your affiliation with the University of Washington, suggest that he or she contact ISO.
- Admission to the US will be for the validity period of the visa. Occasionally, immigration officers annotate the I-94 record or entry stamp with an additional ten-day “grace period.” We recommend you ask the officer to reflect the grace period on your I-94 record.
Arrival in Seattle
Shuttle Express is a van service from the airport to your destination. After collecting your luggage, follow signs to “Ground Transportation”. Proceed to the Shuttle Express booth. Expect to pay at least $25 plus a 15% gratuity per person. Taxi service is available 24 hours per day. To the UW, expect to pay at least $40 plus a 15% gratuity. If you don’t have much luggage, light rail from the airport to downtown with public bus service connections to the UW is available during business hours at low cost.
Before you arrive in Seattle, ask your UW department for assistance in locating off-campus housing. Apartments in the U-District (the neighborhood surrounding the UW) are within walking or biking distance to campus. Other neighborhoods have good bus service to the UW. Useful resources include:
- UW Visiting Faculty Housing Service
- The FIUTS office in HUB 310 posts housing opportunities for international visitors
- Limited dormitory-style on-campus housing may be available during the summer months
- UW Daily, classified ads
- Guide to Seattle neighborhoods
- Off-Campus Housing Affairs
To transfer money to the US before your arrival, your financial institution will need to make arrangements with a bank that has an office in Seattle. There may be a limit to the amount of funds which may be transferred. Banks within walking distance of the UW campus include:
- Bank of America, 4701 University Way NE
- Key Bank, 400 NE Ravenna Blvd
- US Bank, HUB ground floor
- Chase Bank, 4300 Brooklyn Ave NE
- Wells Fargo, 4100 University Way NE
Social Security number
You must apply for a Social Security number (SSN). Payment of salary may be withheld until the SSN is issued. Once you’ve been issued an SSN, you’ll never need to apply for one again.
UW identification card (Husky Card)
You will obtain from your department a UW ID card (Husky Card), permitting access to most UW services and facilities including:
- Parking and Transportation Services
- Intramural Activities Building (IMA)
- UW Libraries
- UW Benefits / Worklife
Washington State driver’s license / identification card
For a small fee, the Washington State Department of Licensing issues driver’s licenses and photo identification cards for non-drivers. Identification cards can be issued at any age and are valid for five years.
After you arrive in the US, choose a medical clinic and physician according to your health insurance provisions. The Hall Health Center, conveniently located on the UW campus, is a “preferred provider” for many health insurance plans. Hall Health provides service to UW students, faculty, staff and the surrounding community. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 5:00 p.m. Twenty-four hour care is available at several nearby hospitals, including the University of Washington Medical Center. For life-threatening emergencies, dial 911 on any telephone (9911 from a UW campus telephone).
Your dependents (spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age) are eligible for E-3D status regardless of nationality. Although the spouse and children of E-3 employees usually enter on E-3D visas, may enter in other visa classifications for which they qualify, such as F-1, J-1, E-3, or H-1B. Domestic partners are not eligible for E-3D status but may apply for B-2 visas.
After arriving in the US, E-3 spouses may request permission to work in the US by filing Form I-765 with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Study in E-3D status
There is no restriction on study for persons in E-3D status.
Childcare for young children
Many childcare services are available on-campus and in the community.
Children and schools
To enroll your children in school, contact the Seattle Public Schools Admissions Center after you arrive. Be prepared to provide your child’s immunization records, verification of date of birth, and prior academic records.
The Foundation for International Understanding Through Students (FIUTS), a community organization located on the UW campus, provides activities designed to enhance interactions between UW internationals and Americans. FIUTS offers programs of special interest to spouses of scholars from abroad, including conversation groups, cooking classes, and trips and tours.
Maintaining E-3 Status
It is your responsibility to understand and comply with the terms of your visa during your stay in the U.S. A violation of the immigration regulations could have serious consequences. Review this information carefully and contact ISO if you have questions.
Report address changes
Persons in E-3 and E-3D status must notify USCIS of all residential address changes using form AR-11.
Do not let your passport expire
Your passport must be valid at all times. Report a lost or stolen passport to the police, as your government may require a police report before issuing a new passport. To renew or replace your passport, contact your country’s consulate in the US. While in the US, always carry with you a photocopy of your passport’s identity page, and a photocopy of your I-94 record and visa. When traveling, carry the original documents but guard them carefully against theft.
Work only in the position listed on your Labor Condition Application
Your E-3 status is both employer and job-specific. Your UW-sponsored E-3 does not allow you to work for any other employer. In most cases the UW must file a new Labor Condition Application before you are authorized to accept a new position at UW. If you change employers, your new employer must file a new Labor Condition Application before you begin your new position.
Maintain a full-time appointment
Your employment at the UW must remain full-time while you are under UW visa sponsorship. The UW does not provide E-3 visa sponsorship for part-time positions.
Depart the US in a timely manner
Because the E-3 is an “employment visa,” your lawful status in the US ends when your paid employment ends. If your paid employment ends before your Labor Condition Application expires, you must depart the US immediately upon termination of employment. If your paid employment and the Labor Condition Application end at the same time, check the expiration date on your I-94 record as the immigration officer at the port of entry may have indicated an additional ten-day “grace period” for departure.
Extending your stay
A petition to extend E-3 status should be filed by UW with USCIS six months before the current stay expires. Contact your employing department to begin the extension process. Upon approval of the petition, you will receive an I-797 Approval Notice. You may remain in the US even though the visa in the passport has expired. A valid visa is required only when re-entering the US from abroad.
Rather than fililng a petition to extend your stay as described above, you may depart the US with all E-3D dependents before the expiration of the authorized period of stay and simply apply for new E visas. Note that a new E-3 visa (the stamp in the passport) can be obtained only by applying at a US consulate or embassy.
Initial admission as an E-3 can be up to two years; extensions of stay are granted in increments of up to two years. Although the regulations do not limit the number of years the E-3 may be used, E-3 is a nonimmigrant status which does not permit “dual intent” (intent to immigrate). You must establish to the satisfaction of USCIS that the employment opportunity is both temporary and short-term. If the position is a permanent academic appointment leading to UW sponsored Permanent Residence, the H-1B is the suitable visa alternative.
Pay your taxes
You are required to file a yearly tax return with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Contact the IRS for more information.
You may be surprised to learn that US law requires foreign nationals 18 years of age and older to carry “registration” documentation with them “at all times.” For individuals in E-3 status, evidence of registration is your most recent Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record or, if you were issued an electronic I-94 record, the entry stamp in your passport. The law is found at INA § 264(e) and the list of documents that qualify as evidence of registration is found at 8 CFR § 264.1(b).
Travel within the US
If you travel by air, train, bus or ship within the United States you may be required to show your passport and I-94 record when boarding. Keep photocopies of your passport and I-94 in a separate location from the original documents. Photocopies do not substitute for the originals but can make replacing them a bit easier in the event they are lost or stolen. Guard your documents carefully!