For purposes of this article, there are two different types of e3 visa transfer that we will discuss. The first will concern the mechanics of arranging an e3 visa transfer between employers — how it works, whether it is feasible or not, etc. And the second type of transfer will involve the process of transferring from the e3 to another type of visa.
Keep in mind that the e3 visa is still a relatively new type of U.S. work visa (approximately 8 years old), and much of the finer points of this visa have yet to be thoroughly documented. However, the regulations and processes are clear, and enough anecdotal evidence now exists to offer a pretty good idea of how these transfers work.
e3 visa transfer: Transferring Your E3 Work Visa to a New Employer
With any work visa, the issue of transferring to a new employer is going to arise. Because the visa is based on employment — and because employment changes more often in this day and age than ever before — it’s really only a natural concern. And in today’s marketplace, the average worker will change employers multiple times throughout their career. E3 visa holders, of course, are no exception.
In order to change employers on an e3 work visa, your new employer will need to file a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) immediately. Time is of the essence here, because the gap between the two jobs cannot be any longer than 10 days.
If you are already presently residing in the U.S. at the time of the e3 visa transfer between employers, then you will not have to undergo another interview or make a new visa application. Most of the other steps outlined in the e3 visa processing routine will be unnecessary as well.
You also will not need to leave the country and return to Australia to initiate the process, assuming your new employer files the LCA within the specified 10-day window between your two e3 visa jobs. You will have to complete an e3 visa transfer process through the USCIS, though.
If you are outside the US at the time of the e3 visa transfer of employers, though, you’ll have to get a new e3 visa at a U.S. Embassy or overseas Consulate overseas. This involves re-initiating the entire e3 visa process, though, so it’s highly advisable that you only change employers while you’re inside the U.S.
e3 visa transfer: E3 to H1B, E3 to Green Card
It’s also possible that you find that you enjoy your new life in the USA, and you may subsequently decide to gain permanent residency via an e3 visa transfer to Green Card. You might find this more difficult than it initially appears, however, because the e3 visa is not a dual-intent visa, and the US provides no direct pathway between the two visas.
This is why e3 visa holders are required to establish “residence abroad” during their e3 visa processing routine. The real purpose is to determine that you have what is called “non-immigrant intent” — meaning you don’t intend to permanently immigrate to the USA, your stay will be temporary, and that you plan to leave the country upon termination of your visa.
Therefore, applying for a green card while on the e3 work visa is not advisable. Doing so violates the non-immigrant intent that you had to prove in order to get the visa in the first place. However, an e3 visa transfer to green card can still be achieved indirectly, first by executing an e3 visa transfer to H1B, and then getting sponsored for H1B to Green Card.
With an e3 visa transfer to H1B, you have the advantage of dual-intent, which allows you to seek permanent residency in the country. However, keep in mind that the H1B is a wholly different animal — the H1B Visa Requirements are similar and the “specialty occupations” part is identical, but there are some key differences.
First of all, the H1B is more expensive for an employer to file. It has more fees and processing requirements. The length of stay is also different — instead of being renewable every two years indefinitely like the e3 work visa, the H1B has a limit of 6 years (with some exceptions).
It also doesn’t allow spouses to work as part of the visa. So if your spouse accompanied you to the U.S. and is working as part of the e3 visa, then they will want to make arrangements for a separate work visa before you begin the e3 visa transfer process.
Of course, if you haven’t yet gotten an e3 work visa and are already are planning to establish permanent residency in the USA, then the e3 visa transfer process can be wholly avoided. And you can do this by searching for H1B Visa Jobs instead.