The E-3 employee will need to have a bonafide job offer from a U.S. employer.
An E-3 visa requires a job offer in a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation is defined as a job that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
What job is a specialty occupation job is often subject to debate between those applying for a visa benefit and U.S. government adjudicators. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recognizes that some positions fall into the specialty occupation definition, while others are considered not to be qualified, yet certain positions can be classified as a specialty occupation in a specific case, even if generally they are not considered to be qualified. Much depends on the complexity of the position in question and the specific facts of each case.
Let’s break down some frequent questions about the E-3 job offer below:
What is a specialty occupation?
An E-3 visa is issued for a position that U.S. government defines as a “specialty occupation”.
The definition of “specialty occupation” is one that requires:
- A theoretical and practical application of a body of 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.
In determining whether an occupation qualifies as a “specialty occupation,” the U.S. government follows the definition contained in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) 214 (i)(1) and applicable standards and criteria determined by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
What if I do not have a bachelor’s degree, can I still apply for the E-3 visa based on my work experience?
According to 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(D) of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, the equivalent of a university degree can be established through a specified amount and type of professional experience. Generally speaking, one year of university-level education can be substituted with three years of relevant professional experience. Thus, an applicant would need to present evidence of 12 years of experience in the field they are seeking employment in.
I have a degree and have found a job in a related profession in the U.S. Do I qualify for the E-3 visa?
It is not enough that an E-3 applicant holds a particular degree. The job offer itself must also require a bachelor-level or higher qualification. The need for bachelor-level or higher qualification for the position itself is often the subject of close examination by U.S. authorities.
Do I need a license for my E-3 specialty occupation job offer?
To qualify for an E-3 visa, an applicant must possess the necessary academic qualifications and professional experience in the field they intend to work in. In instances where a U.S. license or other formal authorization is necessary to perform the duties outlined in the visa application, but it cannot be obtained before entering the United States, the applicant must demonstrate that they will acquire such licensure within a reasonable timeframe after being admitted to the U.S.
I am a skilled tradesperson with many years of experience, does my trade qualify as a specialty occupation for the E-3 visa?
Generally, job offers in trades like plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry will not qualify for an E-3 visa. A major requirement of the E-3 visa is that the bonafide job offer requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specialty occupation. U.S. government takes the position that very few trades, if any, require a degree and thus are not defined as specialty occupations for E-3 visa purposes.