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Overview of E-3 Status

E-3 visa category: The E-3 visa allows citizens of Australia to work in the United States in specialty occupations (i.e. position must require at least a bachelor’s degree).  This visa category is regulated by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Department of Labor (DOL).

Applying for the E-3 visa: The E-3 visa can be obtained inside the USA (through USCIS) or outside the USA (through a US consulate in Australia).   For persons applying at a US consulate, a visa interview is required to review the documentation and confirm Australian citizenship.  Applicants for an E-3 visa will need to schedule an appointment to attend the consular interview. OIS is responsible for the E-3 visa process regardless of whether the petition is for an employee outside or inside the USA.

Changes in employment and transfers of E-3 status within Vanderbilt:  Employees in E-3 status at Vanderbilt should be aware that their current E-3 status only provides work authorization to work at Vanderbilt in the job specified on the Labor Condition Application and/or immigration filing. Therefore, employees in approved E-3 status at Vanderbilt may only transfer within Vanderbilt to another position in the same specific occupation. If the occupation category changes, employment is possible but will likely require notification to the DOL and USCIS.

OIS should be contacted prior to any change in employment to review the position change and determine whether federal agency notification is required. Generally USCIS and DOL must be notified, and a new E-3 petition filed, if there are significant employment changes (e.g. change in job duties, substantial salary increase or decrease, change in hours worked). The need to file a petition to provide notification of a significant change in employment will not delay the event (promotion, salary increase, etc.) as long as the E-3 filing is done in a timely fashion. For that reason, it is important to contact OIS as soon as the changes are agreed upon and before the change in employment occurs.  

Extension of E-3 status at Vanderbilt: Employees currently in E-3 status at Vanderbilt, who will continue working at our institution, may file for an extension of E-3 status up to six months before the current E-3 expires. To ensure uninterrupted employment, it is essential that the E-3 extension filing reaches USCIS before the current E-3 expires so please complete the E-3 Packet and forward it to VISIT in a timely manner. Employees needing to extend E-3 status in the United States are encouraged to begin the process well in advance.

Filing the E-3 extension before the current E-3 expires allows for an automatic 240 day extension of E-3 status while in the USA. If an employee travels abroad during the 240 day extension period, however, they may have to obtain a new E-3 visa from a US consulate before returning to the USA to resume employment. In addition, if an employee travels abroad after the E-3 extension is approved, they must obtain an E-3 visa from a US consulate before returning to the USA to resume employment.

Termination of employment at Vanderbilt while in E-3 Status:  Employees in E-3 status at Vanderbilt are permitted to work only at Vanderbilt University. Should additional employment be desired, the new employer must file a petition for concurrent E-3 visa status.

Employees should be aware that there is no E-3 status grace period following termination of employment at Vanderbilt. However, upon entering the USA, US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) will provide an I-94 document with an additional ten (10) day grace period to allow for time to depart the USA. Please remember to request the 10 day grace period when being inspected by CBP as it can only be granted by a CBP officer. Employees in E-3 status who are informed of an upcoming termination or lay-off should contact OIS immediately.