The University of Pennsylvania uses the E-3 Australian Treaty Worker in Specialty Occupation category for some faculty positions, and research associates, as well as certain staff positions such data analysts and research specialists.

  • Current immigration law makes the E-3 category available to Australian nationals in a “specialty occupation,” that is, a position: “which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent [in the specialty occupation] as a minimum requirement.”  
  • The E-3 employee must have met the minimum qualifications for the position at the time of applying for an E-3 US Entry Visa.  The Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) allows a maximum of 10,500 E-3s per fiscal year.

The hiring departments and the foreign nationals are not authorized to file their own E-3 cases.


Processing Overview & Application Information

  • ISSS Processing Times
    • To allow for sufficient government processing time, hiring departments should submit E-3 request materials to ISSS for a prospective E-3 employee 6-7 months in advance but no later than 90 days prior to the anticipated start of E-3 employment. 
    • If a complete E-3 request packet is not submitted to ISSS in a timely fashion, ISSS cannot guarantee that the application will be processed and/or filed in a timely manner or at the requested time.
    • Please note that ISSS processing times may vary depending on volume.
  • E-3 Processing Steps
  • All E-3 applications, including extensions and amendments, require three steps:

    Step 1:

    ISSS must first obtain an “E-3 required wage” by comparing the prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor (DOL) to the actual wage data provided by the hiring department.  An E-3 employer is required to pay the higher of the two wages. If Penn’s wage offer is found to be inadequate, the E-3 employee’s wage must be increased, or the E-3 process for the position must be abandoned.

    Step 2:

    After receiving a satisfactory prevailing wage determination, ISSS files a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with DOL affirming that Penn will meet the prevailing wage and other legal requirements of the E-3. 

    The hiring department will be asked by the ISSS advisor to post a notice of LCA filing for 10 consecutive business days at a conspicuous place. The posting will not delay the E-3 processing.

    Step 3:

    After receiving LCA certification, ISSS will notify the hiring department to pick up the certified LCA.  The prospective E-3 employee will make a visa appointment at a US Consulate/Embassy to obtain an E-3 US Entry Visa (& visas for his/her dependents, if applicable). 

    Filing Tips

    • Hiring departments must review and submit both department and employee forms and supporting documentation listed below as one complete package to ISSS. Please save a copy of materials and forms, including checks, submitted to ISSS for your records.
    • Copies should be single-sided and on 8 ½ x 11” paper. Please do not use staples.
  • Application: Required Items from the Hiring Department
  • After completing the E-3 request form, the hiring department must review and submit the supporting documentation and items from the employee listed below as one complete package to ISSS. Please save a copy of materials and forms submitted to ISSS for your records.

    • Printable materials from the iPenn E-3 Employee Application
      • E-3 Position Description
      • Actual Wage Worksheet and Declaration
      • Department Request Summary and Understanding of E-3 Employment
      • For initial E-3 for post doc, a copy of the J-1 Postdoc Policy waiver/exception approval notice
      • Copy of HR-1/2 (or request for employment) form if staff position
    • If the processing type is LCA with I-129 filing, a check for the application fee, payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" is required.  ISSS will continue to accept application materials with the current fee through October 31, 2016.   Please keep in mind that departments may be asked to provide new checks in the case that the petitions cannot be submitted prior to the December 23, 2016 scheduled fee increase.  Departments who submit application packages to ISSS after November 1 may be subject to these new fee amounts and should refrain from providing checks until advised by their assigned ISSS advisor about the projected timeline of the application.

Conditions & Reminders

  • Length of E-3 Stay
    • The E-3 category provides for entry on a non-permanent basis into the US for up to 24 months at a time
    • The E-3 status applicant must satisfy the consular officer that s/he intends to depart the US upon termination of E-3 status. 
    • The validity may be renewed, provided the E-3 nonimmigrant is able to demonstrate that s/he does not intend to remain or work permanently in the US
  • Travel in E-3 Status
  • E-3 employees should always consult with ISSS before traveling outside the U.S.  Additional information is available in the Travel section of this site.

  • Conditions of Employment
  • Period of Employment (in relation to I-94 dates)

    • The E-3 worker’s employment start date will be the LCA start date or the I-94 card start date, whichever is later. 
    • The E-3 worker’s last date of employment will be the LCA end date or the I-94 card end date, whichever is earlier. 
    • Should the dates on the E-3 employee’s I-94 card differ from the LCA dates, immediately contact an ISSS advisor. 

    E-3 Employment Restrictions

    • The E-3 is specific to the employer and job/position for an individual E-3 employee.
    • E-3 employment authorized for Penn does not allow employment with another department at Penn, at another location, or for a different employer.
    • Consult ISSS prior to any changes in the individual’s employment, such as change in title, academic degree required for position, number of hours worked, department, location, or position duties.
    • In some cases, the E-3 and any dependent family members may have to travel outside the U.S. 
    • Please note that failure to consult ISSS may put Penn and the individual employee at risk for sanctions and penalties by DHS or DOL. 
    • E-3 employees are not allowed to accept honoraria from outside sources.

    Change of E-3 Employer

    • If an individual is already in the U.S. in E-3 status but is sponsored by another employer and wishes to start employment at Penn, the Penn hiring department must submit an E-3 request packet to ISSS.
    • E-3 employees are not eligible for the Portability benefit.
    • The individual must not begin working for Penn until Penn’s E-3 is approved and the E-3 individual and dependent family members have left the U.S. and reentered in valid E-3 and E-3D statuses respectively.

    Completion of Employment

    Unfortunately there is no grace period for the E-3 employees.  So, the individual is expected to leave the US on the last day of employment.

  • Penn Internal Processing Fees
    • For E-3 LCA only (for those traveling internationally to obtain E-3 status): $530  ($515 if received by June 30, 2016)
    • For E-3 LCA and I-129 filing with USCIS (for those who do not want to travel): $1,370  ($1,330 if received by June 30, 2016)

E-3 Dependents

  • E-3D Dependents
  • E-3D Dependent Status

    • The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of E-3 employees may apply E-3D status.
    • The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens.  
    • To obtain E-3D status, a dependent must either:
      • Apply for a US Entry Visa at the US Embassy or Consulate overseas (citizens of Canada and Bermuda Exempt). Upon entry to US, dependents must present a copy of  E-3 status holder’s immigration documents, his/her passport & his/her Entry Visa (accompanied by any supporting documents) at the US Port of Entry in order to gain E-3D status; OR
      • Apply for a Change of Status in the US.  Please meet with an ISSS advisor for further details.
    • E-3D dependent spouses are eligible to apply for employment authorization from the USCIS, allowing him/her to work in the US once the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is approved.  E-3D status holders may only apply for an EAD after entering the US and holding E-3 status. See E-3D Spouse Work Permission.
    • E-3D dependents may study in the US, as long as their primary purpose in the US is to accompany the E-3 status holder. However, the duration of their study depends on the E-3’s period of stay.
    • The duration of the E-3 status holder's status is stated on the I-94.  If the E-3 is eligible and applies for an extension of stay, the E-3D dependent may apply for an extension along with the E-3 status holder at least 90 days prior to the current E-3 end date.
    • A child may not continue to hold E-3D status upon reaching his or her 21st birthday.