E-3 Australian Treaty Workers

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

  • 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.

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.

After completing the E-3 Request eform now in iPenn, 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

    • If a staff position, copy of the Human Resources Request for Employment Form

  • If the processing type is LCA with I-129 filing, a check for the application fee, payable to "U.S. Department of Homeland Security" in the amount of $460 is required. 

There is a list of required documents that the department needs to obtain from the E-3 employee. Please read and print the Required Items Checklist


Conditions & Reminders

  • 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

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.

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.

  • For E-3 LCA only (for those traveling internationally to obtain E-3 status): $585 ($565 if received by June 30, 2019.)  

  • For E-3 LCA and I-129 filing with USCIS (for those who do not want to travel): $1,520 ($1,460 if received by June 30, 2019.) 


E-3 Dependents

  • 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.